Stuard grabs Sony lead after consecutive 65s

By Will GrayJanuary 11, 2014, 3:20 am

Conditions remained idyllic Friday in Honolulu, where the Sony Open in Hawaii reached the halfway mark. Here's how things shape up after two rounds at Waialae Country Club, where Brian Stuard holds a slim lead after a second consecutive 65:

Leaderboard: Brian Stuard (-10), Marc Leishman (-9), Hideto Tanihara (-9), Harris English (-8), Adam Scott (-7), Jimmy Walker (-7), Jason Kokrak (-7)

What it means: Stuard trailed Sang-Moon Bae by two shots after Thursday's play, but quickly rose to the top of the leaderboard with a round that included as many eagles as bogeys (one of each). As a result, Stuard leads by one heading into the weekend as he looks for his first career PGA Tour victory, though the group trailing him includes Leishman, English and Scott, all of whom have lifted trophies within the last two years.

Round of the day: Three players carded rounds of 6-under 64 Friday, but Hudson Swafford was the only to do so without dropping a shot. The former Georgia standout began on the back nine and birdied two of his first three holes, ultimately making the turn in 4-under 31. Swafford added two more birdies on his inward half to more than bounce back from an even-par 70 in the opening round, and at 6 under he now sits just four shots behind Stuard heading into Saturday.

Best of the rest: Leishman started slowly Friday and stood on the seventh tee at 3 under, even par for the day before things heated up in a hurry. The Aussie birdied the seventh and then added an eagle on the par-5 ninth, followed by birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. A winner at TPC River Highlands in 2012, Leishman's 64 leaves him just a shot off the pace as he looks to continue the Aussie momentum created by countrymen Scott and Jason Day in 2013.

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth appeared to have his game in order after a runner-up finish last week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but the 20-year-old failed to get anything going this week at Waialae. Spieth carded only two birdies Friday en route to a 1-over 71, and after an even-par 70 Thursday he became a victim of the 36-hole cut. It marks the first time that Spieth will sit out the weekend since last year's PGA Championship.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Tee times will be moved up Saturday as inclement weather approaches, which means Stuard will have a little less time to think about his rare position atop the leaderboard. While the group chasing him certainly has a pedigree, including the reigning Masters champion, Stuard clearly feels comfortable along the fairways of Waialae and will look to shoot 65 for the fifth consecutive time Saturday, dating back to the third round of last year's event.

Shot of the day: James Hahn was in need of a spark heading to the ninth hole Friday, and that's just what he received at the par-5. Hahn's drive left him 193 yards from the hole, and his iron approach landed just in front of the green before rolling into the hole for a rare albatross. The deuce helped Hahn to a 2-under 68, and at 5-under he sits just five shots behind Stuard after 36 holes.

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”