TOUR Notes FedEx Shakeup The Longest Putt

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100) PGA TOUR:
  • In Rory Sabbatinis third-round 62 last week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, he needed only 19 putts. In fact, he needed only 13 putts in his first 14 holes in his career-best putting performance. If you start with his final four holes in the second round, Sabbatini went 18 holes and needed only 17 putts.
  • Mark Hensby has battled a foot problem since the beginning of the 2006 season, but finished in a T12 last week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial for his best effort since a T5 at the 2005 John Deere Classic.
  • The FedExCup points race could be in for a shakeup this week at the Memorial Tournament as 26 of the top 30 players on the list are entered, including nine of the top 10.
  • The reach of the game has become extraordinary. Take a look at the current Official World Golf Ranking - there are 24 countries with a player ranked in the top 100. Included in that number are places you might not always associate with golf - Austria, China, Thailand, France and Colombia, among others.
  • You would think that if you are among the top 10 in Total Driving (distance and accuracy), you would probably be among the top 10 in Greens In Regulation. To date, however, only Nick Watney ranks in the top 10 in Total Driving and Greens in Regulation. Hes fifth in both categories.
  • Ben Curtis has made the longest putt on TOUR this year - 100 feet, 1 inch - on the 14th hole during the recent PLAYERS Championship. There have been 105 putts of 50 feet or more made this season.

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • Hale Irwin has played in 50 Champions Tour events that feature 36-hole cuts and made the cut in each of them.
  • Eduardo Romero has finished first or second in the last three Champions Tour majors. He lost in a playoff at the 2006 Senior British Open, won the JELD-WEN Tradition and finished second last week at the Senior PGA Championship.
  • Italys Costantino Rocca made his Champions Tour debut last week and finished in a T66.
  • Denis Watsons victory last week at the Senior PGA Championship was his first on the Champions Tour and made him the first player from Zimbabwe to win on the circuit.

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • The tour heads for Chicago this week and the LaSalle Bank Open. With a $750,000 purse ($135,000 to the winner), this is one of the most important tournaments on the schedule. In fact, all five previous winners have gone on to graduate to the PGA TOUR the year of their victory.
  • He didnt quite equal Jason Gore, but Nick Flanagan gave a strong effort in attempting to win his third consecutive event last week. The young Aussie finished in a T5 at the Melwood Prince Georges County Open after winning his previous two starts.
  • Paul Claxton not only won last weeks Melwood Prince Georges County Open for his second career win, but he also became the first player in tour history to collect $1 million in career earnings. The win for Claxton was his first since the 2001 Louisiana Open and he has career earnings of $1,101,673.
  • The Nationwide Tour attracts players from all over the world. This weeks LaSalle Bank Open will have players from 18 countries entered. International players have won four of the first 11 tournaments this season.
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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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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