Ford Slips Into Drivers Seat In Austin

By Marty HenwoodMarch 3, 2006, 5:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeAUSTIN, Texas -- Scott Ford will chase his second Canadian Tour championship as he takes a one-shot lead into the weekend at the season-opening Yes! Golf Barton Creek Classic presented by BG Products.

The Floridian took on the challenging Fazio Canyons layout at Barton Creek Resort & Spa and came away unscathed Friday, posting a 4-under 68. His two-day total of 10-under 132 is one shot better than American rookie Ben Hayes, who posted a 7-under 63 at the Crenshaw Cliffside course.

Overnight leader Craig Kanada is in third spot, two shots off the pace.

Canadians Chris Baryla and Darren Griff as well as Austin native and PGA Tour regular Omar Uresti are at minus-7.

Griff came in with a 7-under 65 at Fazio Canyons, which has by far played the tougher of the two courses this week.

New Zealander Nick Davey put up the lowest number of the week, an 8-under 62 at Crenshaw, to move into a tie for 13th at 4-under.

Under the pro-am format, competitors played each course once before the field was reduced Friday.

A total of 61 professionals were even par or better and made the cut in the professional tournament. The low 15 two-man teams advanced to Saturdays final pro-am round.

The professionals with play the final two rounds at the Crenshaw track.

Ford, who won the 2001 CanAm Days Championship and holds down status on the Nationwide Tour this year, comes from impressive bloodlines; his grandfather, Doug Ford, won The Masters in 1957 and the Canadian Open two years later.

Baryla, the runner-up at last years Michelin Morelia Classic, opened with a 4-under 66 at the Crenshaw course Thursday. Starting his second round on the back nine, Baryla missed his only green in regulation in two days on the par-4 15th. He was able to pitch on and save par from twenty feet. On the next hole, Baryla had to take a drop when his tee shot found a hazard but he air-mailed a 3-wood from 265 yards to within 20 feet and two-putted to save par again.

Theres no doubt that is the tougher of the two courses, said Baryla of Fazio Canyons. Nothing against the Crenshaw course, but you can put up a big number on the Fazio in a hurry. This course penalizes your misses a lot more.

With the final two rounds to be contested on the Crenshaw course, Baryla reasoned it could very well turn into a good ol shootout in the Lone Star State.

Well, someone is going to take it low. Might as well be me.

Baryla had an impressive amateur career, highlighted by a berth in the 2003 U.S. Open when he was just 20 years old. A few months later, Baryla became first Canadian amateur in 20 years to make the cut at the Bell Canadian Open.

With his college career at the University of Texas-El Paso in the books, Baryla says he can now focus on his game full-time, something he hasnt been able to do in recent years.

As for trying to make up ground on Ford Saturday, Baryla maintains he will use the same approach and allow the chips to fall where they may.

You cant go out there and force the issue. Im three back with two days to go - Im not going to worry about how many shots I have to make up. If its there, its going to happen. If not, well, thats how it goes. Maybe another week.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.