Willis Talkin About a Turnaround

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 8, 2003, 4:00 pm
Garrett Willis won in his first start as a card-carrying member on the PGA Tour. No one can ever take away the gold, shiny conquistador helmet that came along with his maiden victory.
But that tour card was only on loan.
Willis is nearing the end of the two-year PGA Tour exemption he received by winning the 2001 Tucson Open. And hes got his work cut out for him if he wants to keep that full exempt status.
The 29-year-old Tennessee resident tied for 11th in last weeks Bell Canadian Open. He enters this weeks John Deere Classic 128th on the seasonal money list ' with the top 125 by seasons end getting tour cards for 2004.
Willis has been riding a downward spiral since his unlikely triumph. He has made only 38 cuts in the 86 starts following that victory. Included in that dismal stretch are seven withdrawals after first-round blow-ups and a pair of disqualifcations.
This is his first-ever visit to the TPC at Deere Run (par-71, 7,183 yards) in Silvis, Ill., which will play host for the fourth consecutive year.
Its the 32nd edition of the event. J.P. Hayes is the defending champion. Hayes took control of the tournament a year ago with a course-record 10-under 61 in Round 2. He then shot back-to-back 67s over the weekend to hold off Robert Gamez.
Hayes isnt in the best of shape as he returns to the site of second-career tour victory (1998 Buick Classic). He injured his ankle prior to the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he missed the cut, and then pulled out of the Bell Canadian.
While Hayes wont have to worry about losing his card for another year, others, like David Frost, are just beginning a critical stretch of tournaments.
There are eight full-field events remaining on the 2003 tour calendar. And many of the top-ranked players are taking time off over the next three weeks.
Frost is a two-time winner of this event. In fact, hes the only player in tournament history to successfully defend his title, doing so in 1993. Both of those victories, however, came at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, Ill.
Oakwood was the host from 1975-99. Crow Valley Country Club in Bettendorf, Iowa, was the original site, from 1972-74.
Frost, who will turn 44 Thursday, is 140th on the money list. He finished 126th in earnings a year ago, missing the magic number by less than $6,000.
Frost is one of three multiple John Deere winners (Scott Hoch 1980, 84; D.A. Weibring 1979, 91, 95).
Three of the last four winners have made this event their first tour victory: J.L. Lewis started the trend in 1999; Michael Clark continued it in 2000; David Gossett won on a sponsors exemption in 01.
But the John Deere is more likely to be a players final triumph than his first. Seven of the last eight champions have yet to win since riding the big green tractor into the winners circle.
David Toms, who won in 1997, is the lone exception. The then-named Quad City Classic was the first on his winning resume, but certainly not the last ' hes won eight times since.
Toms isnt in this years field. Davis Love III, Vijay Singh and Justin Leonard are the only top-20 players on the Official World Golf Ranking in attendance.
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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

    After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

    Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

    The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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    LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

    The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

    The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

    The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

    The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.