Davies of Old Topping Augusta Field
With her ball resting on the apron at No. 16, Davies placed all bets on her putter and soundly moved to 4-under par, establishing herself as the leader of this second-year event by two strokes.
Hit a good drive, had like 218 to the pin, but it was uphill into the wind and hit a 3-iron, just managed to get it to the front edge and had about an 80-foot impossible snaking putt and knocked it in,' Davies said. 'Enjoyed that one. That was fun.'
Treacherous holes lurked just around the corner at Mount Vintage and Davies found out just how true that statement was when she faltered on the very next hole, dropping back to 3-under as she made the turn.
Another bogey, on the par-4 second, left her floundering amid a pack of players tied at 2-under. Birdie on the par-4 fifth was sweet redemption for the former Player of the Year (1996), moving her back to 3-under and as the established leader once again. The Englishwoman then broadened her lead with two more birdies during her round to finish at minus 5.
'You can see that people are 1- and 2-under, which is unusual,' Davies said of the difficult conditions.
'If you're not 5-under day 1, you're out of the top 10. So it's understandable because these greens are very demanding. You hear that they're hard, and hitting into them is the hardest thing. You can't fire at the pin.'
Grace Park made the turn Thursday in 34 strokes with one bogey and three birdies under her belt. Park finished the day two strokes off the lead with her opening-round 69. 'I shot 69 last week and I wasn't even top 15,' Park said. 'And this week I'm second. So, you know, it says a lot about this course and the toughness of it.'
Despite solid play which has netted her $259,953 and six top-10 finishes in eight starts, Park is still winless this season.
A foursome is tied for third. Janice Moodie, Dawn Coe-Jones, Carin Koch and Jeong Jang all opened with 2-under-par 70.
Only 15 competitors managed to break par in round one, and Davies and Park were the only two to break 70. Some less fortunate had a very rough go of it.
Defending champion Tina Fischer had gotten off to a great start before falling apart with a round that consisted of five bogeys and two birdies and left her in the back of the bus with amateur players Shinobu Moromizato and Hawaiis Michelle Wie, both of whom are four or more strokes over par. Fischer faired only slightly better than the amateurs recording 3-over 75.
Moromizato, the 15-year-old Japanese amateur, played safe golf after recording three bogeys during her first five holes of the day. She would go on to make seven pars before incurring yet another bogey on the par-4 fourth. Moromizato was 5-over through 14 holes.
Wie, unlike Moromizato, recorded a lone birdie during her round. The 12-year-old was in 125th position, at 7-over, through the 13th. She made two more bogeys, and then had a moment of relief on the par-5 16th where she recorded birdie.
As a testament to just how difficult the course was playing Carmen Hajjar recorded 12-over 84 in the opening round of her fourth LPGA Tour tournament of the season. The 35-year-old Ausie bogeyed or double-bogeyed all but two holes on the front nine. It had to be a disappointing day Hajjar who holds exempt status on the LPGA Tour. Julie Piers, a ten-year veteran on the LPGA, matched Hajjars high score.
Full-field scores from the Asahi Ryokuken International
CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:
|T20||Charles Howell III||-14||$57,754|
|T36||Tyrone Van Aswegen||-12||$27,189|
|T69||Billy Hurley III||-6||$11,623|
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.