Rookie Langley leads Sony Open

By Jason SobelJanuary 11, 2013, 5:26 am

HONOLULU – Scott Langley took a quick tour of the Sony Open media center on Wednesday, prior to the opening round. He met some of the ink-stained wretches, introduced himself, shook a few hands and gave a bunch of interviews. It wasn’t anything too formal, just a little get-to-know-you session for a rookie who doesn’t have much experience at the PGA Tour level.

One day later, he was back in the very same spot. This time, everyone knew his name.

That’s because Langley’s name is the one atop the leaderboard after 18 holes, thanks to an 8-under 62 in his first round of his first season.

“What happened?” he asked with a mock stagger. “I just blacked out.”

He was kidding, of course, but just in case he needed a reminder the highlights were still airing on a nearby TV. They included an eagle and six birdies on a flawless card, part of a day that showed an astounding 198 feet of made putts.

He may be a PGA Tour freshman, but Langley is no stranger to the big stage. He was the NCAA individual champion at the University of Illinois, represented the United States in the Palmer Cup and tied for low amateur with a T-16 finish at the U.S. Open, only to follow that with a T-29 in the same event last year.

And yet, at this time last year he was struggling on the Hooters Tour, fresh off a Q-School second stage flameout that landed him in the nether regions of golf’s professional level.

All of which begs the question: In such a mental pursuit like this, where confidence is at a premium, how was Langley able to channel enough of it to lead his 143 fellow competitors Thursday night?

The answer is that it emanates from a few different places in a few different ways.

He credits his instructors for instilling that attitude in him from a young age, when he would spend his winters in St. Louis hitting off artificial turf in heated bays at a place called the Family Golf Center, all the way to his four years playing for Illinois head coach Mike Small.

“Coach Small taught me how to be a competitor,” he said. “He was a big influence on us, and certainly instilled a lot of competitive aspects in me that I didn’t have before I went to school.”

There were his living arrangements last year. After moving to Florida, he needed a place to live and Rickie Fowler’s offered a room in his house, where he lived with fellow pros Cameron Tringale and Morgan Hoffmann.

“I can really point to some areas in my golf game that were really improved just by being around Rickie and being around Cam and Morgan,” he explained. “They’re such competitors and there’s so much good confidence – the right kind of confidence, and I really fed off that living in the house.”

And perhaps by a divine bit of inspiration, there was his opening-round grouping, which included Luke Guthrie and Russell Henley. Langley has been friends with Guthrie “since middle school” and roomed with him when the two attended Illinois; he became fast friends with Henley after they were co-medalists at that U.S. Open three years ago, then flew to the Palmer Cup together directly afterward.

In fact, exactly one year ago it was Henley whom Langley leaned on during a Hooters Tour event – and vice versa.

“He had just missed the cut; I barely made the cut,” Langley said. “We were on the range trying to help each other find it. [On Thursday] we were just walking up 16, you could see the ocean behind, the PGA Tour signs everywhere. We looked at each other and realized this is pretty cool. To look back one year ago and to know that we weren’t here; we were in a far different place.”

As if to confirm that sentiment, Henley himself posted a 63 in the opening round, in sole possession of second place behind his buddy and playing partner.

Looking ahead to Friday, Langley maintained that he’s confident without being overconfident, happy without being too happy.

When it’s joked that he hasn’t yet failed to make his way into the media center’s interview room in his PGA Tour career, a broad smile comes across his face, joined by a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders.

“That’s OK,” Langley said. “I can get used to this.”

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Watch: Woods birdies three of his first six holes

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 17, 2018, 6:20 pm

Tiger Woods didn't bogey the first hole on Saturday like he did the day prior - but he did drop at a shot at the par-3 second when he failed to get up and down from the bunker.

Luckily, it wouldn't take him long to get that stroke back. One hole later, at the dogleg-left, par-4 third, Woods ripped a 2-iron off the tee, hit a less-than-stellar approach long and right, and poured in this 38-footer for birdie to get back to even par on the day.

He followed with another at the par-5 fourth, smoking a drive 313 yards uphill, short-siding himself with his second shot, and playing this deft pitch to set up a tap-in 4.

After a par save from the bunker at 5, Woods missed the fairway right at the par-5 sixth, laid up with his second, spun a wedge to 15 feet with his third, and rolled in this third birdie of the day to move to 6 under for the week.

Woods' momentum was slowed by a bogey at 8, the product of an errant tee shot, and a missed birdie try at 9 left Woods to make the turn in 1 under-35, minus-5 for the week.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”