Featured Match Kaymer vs Mahan

By Rex HoggardFebruary 25, 2011, 10:16 pm

2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayMARANA, Ariz. – GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard is at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain for the third round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He is providing a running blog for the match between (1) Martin Kaymer and (5) Hunter Mahan. Follow him on Twitter (@RexHoggard) for more updates or for complete scoring of all 32 matches, click here.

(6:14 p.m. ET) Although he’s been asked about a gazillion times, it seemed apropos to ask Martin Kaymer his thoughts on possibly unseating Lee Westwood atop the World Golf Ranking, a reality that is just two matches away at Dove Mountain.

“Of course it is somewhere in my mind,” Kaymer said following his 2-and-1 Round 3 victory over Hunter Mahan. “I know I can be No. 1, but it is not the most important thing to me right now.”

Kid’s good with a 3-iron and a microphone in his face.

(5:53 p.m. ET) Hunter Mahan's match with Martin Kaymer at Dove Mountain came down to a chip, of all things. But this was not the Ryder Cup although the result was the same.

Mahan, who lost his Monday single's match to Graeme McDowell following a poor chip last fall, pulled his approach left of the 17th green and managed to chip his third to just 20 feet. He conceded Kaymer's par and lost 2 and 1. This wasn't Celtic Manor, however.

'He made the mistake of hitting (his approach) further left than me and that's a really tough chip,' said Kaymer, who improved to 2-0 this week against Sean Foley students this week following his Round 2 shootout with Justin Rose.

(5:33 p.m. ET) Starting to feel like a Ryder Cup at Dove Mountain, at least it does in the Martin Kaymer-Hunter Mahan match.

Mahan rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at the 15th and the German answered with an 11-foot birdie putt at No. 16 to take a 1-up lead, his first lead of the match.

Ole, ole, ole.

(5:15 p.m. ET) Update from Dove Mountain's 15th hole: Four of the 12 players who made it to the drivable par-4 (about 343 yards) reached the green with their tee shots, including Martin Kaymer.

Didn't do the German much good, however, Hunter Mahan matched his birdie with a clutch 20-footer.

(5:06 p.m.) One top seed isn't going quietly at the WGC-Match Play. Martin Kaymer, the only top-seeded player remaining, squared his match with Hunter Mahan with a 10-footer for birdie at the 14th hole.

So far today the two have halved just six of 14 holes.

(4:53 p.m. ET) No chants of, 'USA, USA' coming from the crowd around the 13th green at Dove Mountain – one of the rowdiest spots all week.

They must not realize Hunter Mahan is American, or Martin Kaymer is German.

Good match either way. Kaymer cuts the lead to one hole when Mahan makes a mess of his third shot from a greenside bunker.

(4:24 p.m. ET) The difference in the day's high-profile two-ball has been Dove Mountain's par 5s, which have all gone Hunter Mahan's way.

Mahan eagled the par-5 second hole and birdied the eighth and 11th to go 4 under on them. His opponent Martin Kaymer is even-par so far on the par 5s, including a lipped out short putt at No. 8 for birdie and two trips to the desert at No. 11 to fall two holes down.

(3:48 p.m. ET) Maybe it's the golf course, a sprawling layout high in the Tucson hills, or maybe it's the format. Either way there is no way to deny the fact the WGC-Match Play is a putting contest.

Consider Hunter Mahan, who is just 1 up in his Round 3 match with Martin Kaymer despite hitting eight of nine greens on the front side.

(3:09 p.m. ET) Fortunate that officials sent Ben Crane out in the last group at Dove Mountain on Friday. Six holes in and his match is already a full hole behind.

Shame, really. Crane and Co. are missing a good show up ahead between Martin Kaymer and Hunter Mahan. The German rolled in a 20-footer at the sixth to square the match. For the record the duo has halved just three holes through seven.

(2:55 p.m. ET) Like Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan works with Canadian swing whisperer Sean Foley and the thought occurs after five holes at Dove Mountain that Woods swings like Mahan more so than Mahan swinging like Woods.

Still, it seems to be working well. Mahan has the world-No. 1-in-waiting Kaymer 1 up.

(2:39 p.m. ET) Martin Kaymer can overtake world No. 1 Lee Westwood with a trip to Sunday's final at Dove Mountain.

He's certainly playing like a potential No. 1, holing a 25-footer for birdie at the third and dropping his approach 4 feet from the pin at the fourth (although he did miss the birdie putt) to cut Hunter Mahan's lead to 1 up.

(2:17 p.m. ET) Just spotted looping legend Fanny Sunesson trailing the Martin Kaymer-Hunter Mahan match at Dove Mountain.

Sunesson, who caddies for Henrik Stenson, who lost earlier in the week, also works with Kaymer.

Her man is in trouble early after Mahan holed a 25-footer for eagle at the par-5 second hole. USA 2 up.

(2:02 p.m. ET) Tough crowd watching the Martin Kaymer-Hunter Mahan match. One member of the Dove Mountain gallery moaned 'Sure hope Hunter doesn't have to chip' after the American hit his approach shot into the first hole.

The dig was directed at Mahan's singles match on Monday at last year's Ryder Cup. Ouch.

Luckily Mahan hit the green and made par. Kaymer, a bogey. USA 1 up. 

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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 Web.com 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.

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."

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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."

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Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."