Quinney Pads Lead After 36 Holes At McCormick Ranch
Hanging on to a slim one-stroke cushion as play began, the 23-year-old Scottsdale resident carded a 4-under 68 for a 36-hole total of 131 and leads Iain Steel of Malaysia by four shots. Roger Tambellini (Templeton, Calif.) and James Driscoll (Brookline, Mass.) are five off the lead. Victorias Jim Rutledge is in fifth spot at 7-under.
Two years ago, Quinney held off Driscoll in a 39-hole marathon to capture the U.S. Amateur championship. On Friday, Driscoll actually led Quinney by two shots late in the round before double bogeys on the 15th and 17th led to an even-par 72. After being even through eleven holes, Quinney birdied three of his final four coming home.
I just got off to a slow start today, admitted Quinney, who has been under par in each of his ten rounds on Tour this year. I was hitting some good shots, and I just had to wait to catch a break. Im just trying to keep this game simple, but you have to be happy any time you can finish strong. Ill try to carry the momentum into Saturday.
With past U.S. Amateur stars Steve Scott and Hank Kuehne winning the first two official events of this Canadian Tour campaign, Quinney would like to complete the hat trick this weekend. But while he and his former colleagues have enjoyed success early, Quinney is cautious about the spotlight being on them.
It seems like all the U.S. Am guys are near the top, and we all seem to be peaking at the same time. But there are a lot of guys going low, and trust me, these guys can play this game. There are a lot of great players here, and I am going to have to stay aggressive.
Steel, who played the PGA Tour in 1998 and won on the Buy.com Tour the year before, arrived in Scottsdale on Monday from Malaysia.
I am still suffering from a bit of jet lag, and to make matters worse, my allergies are acting up, said Steel, who earned a Canadian Tour card at Winter Qualifying School in February. So all in all, I am happy with my round. I hope I can say the same on Sunday.
Driscoll, who gave up four shots to Quinney Friday, was disappointed with his finish but remained upbeat following the round.
There is definitely some penalties out there is you arent careful, said the 24-year-old. But Ive had my fair share of birdies - I just have to eliminate some of those mistakes. If I can stay out of trouble Ill be fine.
Tambellini, who is exempted onto the Buy.Com Tour this year, had the low round of the day with a 6-under 66. Rutledge, a six-time Canadian Tour winner, will also join the Buy.Com Tour when it kicks off in Louisiana in two weeks.
I was pretty good from tee-to-green today, and I think I got what I deserved today, he said, referring to his 3-under 69. This course is in great shape, so Ill be like everyone else this weekend and just keep firing away. You have to stay aggressive.
Full-field scores from the Scottsdale Swing at McCormick Ranch
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
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."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
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.'"
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."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
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."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
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.