Tiger Chasing Trio In China

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 10, 2005, 5:00 pm
European TourPaul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open winner, fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the HSBC Champions Tournament. Lawrie was joined in the lead by Nick Dougherty and Peter O'Malley.
 
World No. 1 Tiger Woods posted 10 birdies to go along with three bogeys en route to opening with a 7-under-par 65 at Sheshan International Golf Club.
 
Colin Montgomerie
Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie got off to a rough start in Shanghai.
He was joined in a tie for fourth place by K.J. Choi, Robert-Jan Derksen and David Howell. U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell and Kenneth Ferrie are one stroke back at minus-6.
 
World No. 2 Vijay Singh posted a 5-under-par 67 to open the event.
 
This is the first event of the 2006 European Tour International schedule. The event features winners from four sanctioned tours -- the European Tour, the Asian Tour, the PGA of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour -- in addition to players ranked in the world's top-50 and invitations from the China Golf Federation.
 
Woods played the back nine first at Sheshan and started with a pair of pars, his last two pars for 10 holes. He ran off three straight birdies from the 12th to get into red figures.
 
The reigning Masters and British Open champion bogeyed the 15th, but came right back with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 16th. Woods sank an eight-footer for birdie on 17, then got up and down for birdie on 18 to turn in 5-under.
 
Woods was not done either. He sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the first, then two-putted for birdie on two to get to 7-under and close a run of five straight birdies. Woods birdied the fifth, but three-putted for bogey at the next.
 
The 29-year-old chipped in front of the fringe on the par-5 eighth for birdie, but a poor tee shot on nine led to a closing bogey.
 
'I've never seen anything like it,' said Woods of his tee shot on the ninth. 'It was unbelievable. I hit a 3-wood into the middle of the bunker and buried it. That's not something I'm used to seeing -- not off the tee.'
 
Lawrie started his round with three pars in a row. The Scotsman birdied four of the next five holes to make the turn at minus-4. He kept rolling with birdies on 10 and 12.
 
The 36-year-old got within one stroke of the lead as he birdied the par-5 14th. Lawrie ended with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 closing hole to share the lead.
 
Dougherty ran off three straight birdies at the start of his round. He came back with birdies on the fifth and eighth to turn at minus-5. The Englishman birdied the 10th before parring seven holes in a row. Dougherty eagled the last to end at 8-under.
 
'It would be a dream scenario to have a crack at him on Sunday,' said Dougherty of Woods. 'It would be fantastic. I would love it. I idolize Tiger. He's everything I want to be.'
 
O'Malley played the back nine first on Thursday. He posted just one birdie over his first five holes. The Australian caught fire from there however.
 
He birdied the final three holes of the back nine to make the turn at minus-4. O'Malley continued to roll on the front nine with a birdie on the first.
 
The 40-year-old birdied each of the next three holes to make it seven straight birdies. That moved him to minus-eight. O'Malley parred his final five holes to share the first-round lead.
 
Singh was joined in a tie for 10th place at minus-5 by Thongchai Jaidee, Nick O'Hern, Ian Poulter, Thaworn Wiratchant, Lian-Wei Zhang, Thomas Bjorn and Paul Casey.
 
Colin Montgomerie, who won his eighth European Tour Order of Merit crown with his tie for third place at the Volvo Masters, struggled playing alongside Woods. The Scotsman posted a 2-over-par 74.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.