Marshall's Pinehurst home filled with memories of Stewart

By Jason SobelJune 5, 2014, 7:00 pm

Walk through the front door of Eddie and Jan Marshall’s home and mention anything about golf – and really, at a home sitting on a hill overlooking the par-3 13th hole at Pinehurst No. 6, who wouldn’t mention golf? – and you’ll invariably hear their favorite story tying together this cozy residence and the game they love.

The story begins innocently enough in 1998 at Mid Ocean Golf Club in Bermuda, where Eddie is a member. As host of something called the Gillette Tour Challenge Championship, some of the game’s biggest stars from three tours mingled in this hit-and-giggle, back when the Silly Season was still silly.

During the week, Eddie met Payne Stewart, the 1991 U.S. Open champion, who had finished second to Lee Janzen that year. Like most who met Stewart, he found him approachable and affable.

“I told him I was looking forward to seeing him in Pinehurst,” Eddie recalls of their conversation about the upcoming U.S. Open. “He said, ‘Yeah, it’s going to be fun.’”

Fast forward to early 1999 and the Marshalls decided they wouldn’t actually be in Pinehurst. They contacted USGA officials to rent out the 1,500 square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom detached townhouse for the week, but at first the organization wanted to fill the place with – gasp! – members of the media.

Photos: 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2

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After initially balking, the Marshalls were told two months before the tournament that they had a competitor who wanted to stay in their house.

None other than Payne Stewart.

The rest, as you can imagine, is history. Payne and his wife, Tracey, paid $4,000 to stay in the home on Barton Hills Court for the week. Like any other renters, they barbequed dinners out on the deck and exchanged pleasantries with the neighbors. Payne happily signed a photo for the little boy who lived across the street.

“People would come by,” Jan says. “And he was just very friendly. He was a great guy.”

Meanwhile, the Marshalls got away from the hustle and bustle of a major championship in their hometown, instead enjoying a week with friends in Vermont. Once the tournament began and it became clear that Stewart was going to be in contention throughout the weekend, they took extra pleasure in rooting on their tenant – and maybe even gloating a little about having him staying in their home.

“Word got around very quickly that Payne was staying in our house, so we were celebrities, as well,” Eddie remembers. “We watched the tournament all week. We thought it was fantastic.”

Tracey was watching, too – and here’s where the cozy townhouse on Pinehurst No. 6 becomes a part of the story’s lore.

Because of the difficulty maneuvering throughout saturated galleries, Tracey decided to view the final round from the comforts of their rental house. She watched the first 17 holes that afternoon on Eddie and Jan’s living room television. When her husband took a one-stroke lead to the final tee, she hopped in the car and headed to the course herself.

Since the home on Barton Hills Court is only about three minutes – five, tops – from the clubhouse at host venue Pinehurst No. 2, Tracey was not only able to get to the course before Payne finished, but she successfully navigated her way through the awaiting throng behind the 18th green to witness his 15-foot par putt to clinch the title.

A few hours later, Tracey was back at the rental house while Payne was finishing off his media obligations as the tournament champion. Eddie called his own home to offer congratulations, passing them along to Tracey when she answered.

“She said, ‘This is so exciting. It must be a good-luck house,” recounts a still-beaming Eddie.

In fact, she told them again, leaving that same sentiment in a note attached to a coffee table book before checking out the next morning.

“It wasn’t meant for anybody but us,” says Jan. “It was just a nice memento.”

Ever since then, the Marshalls’ story has been told over and over, with just about every visitor to their home regaled with the tale of the time a popular U.S. Open champion won the tournament while staying here.

“It is not an everyday occurrence, that’s for sure,” Jan concludes with a laugh. “But it’s a nice story for us to tell.”

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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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.


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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."

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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."