Nothing Comes Easy Nothing

By Kraig KannApril 22, 2002, 4:00 pm
For the better part of three days Justin Leonard had his way with a course that he'd never finished better than a tie for 30th on. Scores of 67, 64, 66 and he was 16-under just like that and rolling toward his seventh PGA Tour win.
 
He got it done but who'd have believed Sunday would be such a struggle. Not a single birdie on his card - a whole lot of pars and a couple costly bogeys that almost derailed the ship before the celebration could begin east of Harbour Town's famed lighthouse.
 
Nothing comes easily on the PGA Tour these days. Leonard shoots 2-over par 73 to win by a single shot over Heath Slocum. Phil Mickelson was there too, but got off to a tough start. Davis Love III had his chances but never was able to keep the momentum after an opening round of 62.
 
There's a point I'm trying to make here. And that is that these guys are ALL good. The common man or woman probably has no idea who Heath Slocum even is. And I'm pretty sure CBS Sports wasn't exactly glowing about rifling through the media guide to prepare for a win by the 29-year-old who nearly lost his life, let alone his career, back in 1997 after a bout with colitis that saw him drop from 150 pounds to 122.
 
Slocum won three times on the Buy.Com Tour last year, earning that tour's second-ever 'Battlefield Promotion'. And if you'd like to follow his career now, keep up with his accuracy numbers. He only missed a handful of fairways all week. Only one, in fact, on Sunday which cost him a double-bogey and ultimately the tournament. He set a record a year ago on the Buy.Com Tour for percentage of fairways hit with over 77 percent for the year. He doesn't make mistakes and as you've seen, he's not afraid of the big boys.
 
For that matter, neither is Cameron Beckman, who won last year at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic and had all the confidence in the world going until Sunday. Then he found out that earning a second tour win is perhaps tougher than the first. 78 strokes later he went from the final twosome to 19th place.
 
Davis Love struggled Sunday as well, saying the conditions (hard and fast, and then hard some more if you were watching) forced him into a 'trick shot' of sorts on the 18th with a pitching wedge downwind from about 170 yards.
 
The simple truth about the PGA Tour is this: you'd better not get too confident, and you'd better not make many mistakes. Players are just too good. Players like Slocum and Beckman are out for blood, just like Tiger is. So it's time they got their just due too.

They had Justin Leonard's eyes and ears. Perhaps you didn't know - Leonard didn't wear a shirt that matched the victory tartan jacket for a reason. He told me he didn't want to present himself with the victory before he'd earned it.
 
All that, despite the fact that he has the British Open, and the Players Championship among his wins. You see, he realizes that on the PGA Tour, nothing comes easy. No matter what your name is.
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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.