Driscoll Leads Entering Final Day of Q-School

By Marty HenwoodFebruary 15, 2002, 5:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeJames Driscoll of Brookline, MA carried a hot stick around the green Thursday to take the lead after the fourth round of the Canadian Tours Winter Qualifying School.
The 2000 U.S. Amateur runner-up fired a 3-under 69 for a 72-hole total of 277, one shot better than Chris Wollmann (Cleveland, OH). Fellow Americans Eric Crouse and Joey Gullion are two back.
Driscoll, 24, had a hard time controlling his shots off the tee but found his short game in a big way. On the par-3 17th hole, after launching his tee shot over the green, Driscoll flew the green again coming back before chipping in from the rough to save par.
All in all it was a pretty solid round, I saved a bunch of shots out there, he said minutes after coming off the course. Sure I also left a few out there, but that happens in this game. My distance control was awful, but I made up for it with the short game today. I ended up saving more shots that I gave away.
When asked how he will approach Fridays final round, Driscoll made it clear that he has no intention to play in conservatively.
There are a bunch of guys right behind me, and they will be closing in quickly. The key will be to keep doing what I have been, and see where I am at the end of the day.
Following play Thursday, the starting field of 240 golfers was cut to the low 60 scores plus ties. Those remaining will play the ChampionsGate International course in the final round Friday, with 20 exempt and 15 (plus ties) non-exempt cards for the 2002 Canadian Tour season to be handed out after play. The Canadian Tour had announced earlier Thursday that five additional non-exempt cards would be awarded than was originally planned. Dave Levesque (+3) was the lone Canadian to advance.
Also moving on were former US Amateur champions Hank Kuehne (1998) and Jeff Quinney, who defeated Driscoll in a playoff at the 2000 final. Kuehne is at 5-under, while Quinney is one behind him.
Former NHL star goaltender Grant Fuhr (Calgary, AB) wound up at 19-over 307.
Wollmann, 26, has been pleased with his play this week and, like Driscoll, stressed he will not change his game plan in the final round.
Ive been driving the ball well, my chipping and putting has been strong, so I have been able to take advantage of the par 5s, said Wollmann, who played on the Buy.Com Tour last season. But, like any Q-school, you have to play to win. If you goal is just to finish in the top 20, theres a chance you will lose out.
The big mover of the day was Crouse, whose 6-under 66 moved him from six shots out of the lead after Wednesday to within one with 18 holes to play.
Regardless of where you are on the leaderboard, the difference is if you are willing to lay it all on the line and be satisfied with the results, said the 30-year-old, his right arm slung over wife Angelas shoulder. Today I did lay it on the line, and I am thrilled. Angela has stood by me all the way, and we are both looking forward to trying to nail this down tomorrow. I feel this is the fastest-growing international tour in the world, and I want to be a part of it.
Round 3 Scores From Winter Qualifying School
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.