Winds relentless; TOC starts then stops Sunday

By Bailey MosierJanuary 6, 2013, 11:21 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Call it a case of déjà blew.

For the second time this week, players have been pulled off The Plantation Course at Kapalua and scores have been wiped out because of extreme winds and gusts up to 50 mph.

'You hope for the best and it just didn't happen,' vice president of rules and competition for the PGA Tour Slugger White said.

Sunday play was set to begin at 7:10 a.m. local time (12:10 p.m. ET), but was delayed by four hours. Despite sustained winds of 25-35 mph and gusts in excess of 40 mph, PGA Tour officials decided to give it the old Kapalua try, and sent players off Nos. 1 and 10 at 11:10 a.m.

Exactly 71 minutes later, officials blew the horn and suspended the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions ... again. One hour later, the verdict was the same as it had been Friday – scores were deemed and void and play would restart Monday.

'I think today’s wind is worse,' Keegan Bradley said. 'It’s really tough out there. It’s not exactly fair.'

Jason Dufner was the only man under par when the horn blew (1 under through five holes). On the other end of the spectrum, Ben Curtis was 5 over through two holes and in last place. Four players had yet to tee off.

'At the point where we suspended play, conditions were worse at that moment than they were on Friday when we suspended play,' chief of operations of the PGA Tour Andy Pazder said.

'It seems like the first day was a cake walk compared to today,' Webb Simpson said.

Tour officials maintain that they will try to play 54 holes – 36 on Monday and 18 on Tuesday.

'Our meteorologist is saying 25-30 mile an hour winds (for Tuesday) which we can play in,' Pazder said. 'It's the gusts that creep up above 40 that have knocked us out.'

In one of the more telling examples of how extreme the winds were, it took Matt Kuchar seven minutes to hit his tee ball on his first hole, No. 10.

'Time to go and teed the ball up,' Kuchar said. 'I think I was ready to hit it and a gust of wind came and I backed off. Went back to address the ball and another gust of wind. The second gust blew the golf ball off the tee and rolled probably 4 or 5 feet back from the tee.'

At that point, Kuchar called a rules official over to discuss the conditions. They chatted for several minutes before Kuchar eventually teed his ball up again, hit it, and found the 10th fairway.

'I'm not sure if that was the point to show that we're making every effort to play, so it's not a case where we are kind of thinking it's too difficult to play. We are out there making all efforts and it really is too windy, unfortunately, to play,' Kuchar said.

Since 1953, this will be the third time that the Hyundai Tournament of Champions has been shortened to 54 holes (1988, 1997).

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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

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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 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.

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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.