Three Tied Woods Survives Cut Scare

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 2, 2004, 4:00 pm
Cialis Western OpenLEMONT, Ill. -- Charles Howell III shot a 4-under 67 Friday to grab a share of the lead after the second round of the Cialis Western Open. Howell was joined atop the leaderboard by Matt Gogel and Steve Lowery at 6-under-par 136.
Defending champion Tiger Woods stared down the cut-line but in the end survived to play the weekend after a 2-over 73 left him at 1-over-par 143.
'It's one of those things where you've got to always play hard,' Woods said of his cut streak, which now stands at 126 straight tournaments. 'One of the things I've always believed in is that you don't try any harder because you try the same way all the time. Whether I'm down the stretch in a major championship or trying to make a cut or trying to win a tournament, effort level doesn't change.'
Woods played the back side first at Cog Hill, the site of his three Western Open titles, and struggled early with a bogey at the 12th. He responded with a birdie at the 15th but found trouble again with a bogey at the very next hole.
Woods' round began to fall apart on the front nine, starting with a double bogey at the third and a bogey at the fourth. The top player in the game countered with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-3 sixth and had a chance for a birdie at the ninth. Woods failed to convert but tapped in for a closing par to finish seven shots back.
'A few years ago I did the same thing and I think I finished top 10 that year, so it was kind of the same way,' said Woods. 'I really grinded it out coming in just to make the cut then, and same way this year for some reason.'
Howell, who almost came back last Sunday in an eventual four-shot loss to Adam Scott at the Booz Allen Classic, has been searching for his second PGA Tour win for quite some time since break through at Kingsmill in 2002.
'Until last week I couldn't say at all that I had a chance to win a golf tournament this year other than New Orleans,' said Howell. 'As everyone knows out here, it's about winning. It's about how many times you win.'
The 25-year-old hit a 6-iron to 10 feet for a birdie at the fifth and added a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at 4 under. Howell dropped a shot with a bogey at the 10th but recovered with a birdie at the 11th after his third shot stopped within 6 feet of the hole.
Howell came close to an ace at the par-3 14th and tapped in for a birdie. He then reached the green in two at the par-5 15th and took two putts for another birdie to hold a share of the halfway lead.
'I thought yesterday the scores would be a lot lower than they were,' said Howell. 'I played in the afternoon, and it was absolutely zero wind. For any event, but especially for one in Chicago, it was phenomenal. It's actually almost more difficult when there's no wind because you're looking for just a little bit.'
Gogel, who earned his lone PGA Tour victory at the 2002 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, improved his standing drastically from Thursday to Friday. After a 72 yesterday left him in a tie for 66th, Gogel crafted a second-round 64 to secure a piece of the lead.
'I finished yesterday with three bogeys in the last five holes, so a disappointing finish,' said Gogel. 'I played really solid today.'
Gogel started on the 10th tee and tallied a birdie at the 13th to get back to even par and picked up steam with an eagle at the par-5 15th. Gogel kept his momentum going around the turn with birdies at the first and the fourth.
At the par-4 seventh, Gogel knocked his second shot inside 8 feet for a birdie and capped off his round with a birdie at the ninth.
'I'm excited to be in this position and my expectations are low. Now that I'm kind of in contention I'm not trying to finish it off and win,' said Gogel. 'I'm just kind of more committed to kind of playing the kind of golf I've been playing the last five or six tournaments.'
Lowery managed a couple of bogeys and a birdies on the front nine before catching fire on the inward half. The 43-year-old ran off four birdies over his last nine holes for a round of 68.
'It's a good hard golf course. If you hit your irons well, which I'm a pretty good iron player, I'm keeping the ball in the fairway,' said Lowery, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. 'I'm pretty competitive, and I putted pretty well.'
Mark Hensby converted an 8-foot birdie putt at the 16th to join the leaders at 6 under. He bogeyed the last, however, to finish alongside Geoff Ogilvy at 5-under-par 137.
Scott Hoch used a hole in one at the par-3 14th to move into a tie for first at minus-6, but a pair of bogeys down the stretch left him two shots off the pace. Hoch carded a 69 to join Robert Allenby, D.J. Brigman and Robert Gamez at 4-under-par 138.
Loren Roberts, who held the first-round lead, followed up his 64 with a 75 to finish in a group at 3-under-par 139 that features Stuart Appleby and K.J. Choi.
The 36-hole cut fell at 2-over-par 144 with 82 players qualifying for the weekend. Notables who missed the cut were major champions Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel and Mike Weir.
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."