Swede Sweeps Up in Texas

By Marty HenwoodFebruary 16, 2003, 5:00 pm
AUSTIN, Texas -- Rookie Anders Hultman of Sweden put on as spectacular a half-hour display as you will see in golf Sunday to win the $150,00 TravelTex.com Canadian Tour Classic.
The 23-year-old, who joined the Canadian Tour just nine days ago after a 10-stroke win at winter qualifying school, carded a final-round 1-under 69. That gave him a 72-hole total of 8-under 272, two shots better than Americans Michael Harris, Craig Kanada, Joe Ogilvie and Roger Tambellini. Jason Bohn and James Driscoll finished at 5-under, while Adam Short of Vineland, Ontario, was the top Canadian, coming in at 4-under 276, good enough for sole possession of eighth place.
Hultman began the day thee shots behind Ogilvie and one back of Tambellini.
Mother Nature flexed her muscles Sunday, with near-freezing temperatures and gusting winds swirling throughout the 6,523-yard Crenshaw Cliffside course at Barton Creek. Just eight of the 71 golfers managed to break par in the final round, among them Jon Mills of Oshawa, Ontario, whose 3-under 67 moved him from 42nd spot into a tie for 11th. The scoring average for the field on Sunday was 73.5, nearly two shots higher than Saturday.
Ogilvie carried a two-shot lead into the final round, but a 4-over 38 on the front side from the former PGA Tour player handed Tambellini a two-shot edge at the turn. Trailing Tambellini by three shots standing on the 11th tee, Hultman, a three-time All-American at Oklahoma State, birdied the hole before eagling the par-5 12th to pull even.
But the best was yet to come. Hultman stepped up to the 175-yard, par-3 13th and used a 9-iron to ace the hole, putting the finishing touches on a 5-under stretch over three holes and building a two-stroke cushion. A resilient Tambellini got back to within one with a birdie on 14, but followed that up with a bogey on the next hole, which essentially ended the drama.
There are parts of this game that never cease to amaze me, admitted Hultman. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could ever do something like that over three holes.
Last season, Hank Kuehne, Jeff Quinney and Jimmy Walker, graduates from the 2002 winter Q-school, became champions in the tours second, third and fourth official events of the year, respectively. Steve Scott of Florida won the 2001 TELUS Vancouver Open, his second start after joining the tour at spring qualifying in 2001.
There were a lot of great players here this week, and I was just going to take this tournament as it came, he said. I try not to focus on the other players, I need to pay attention to my own game. But to start my Canadian Tour career with a win here is amazing.
Even with a two-shot cushion, Hultman caught a big break on the par-3 17th when his tee shot sailed right and came to rest in a hazard. He got a favorable lie, saving himself from having to take a drop, and scooped his second shot to within 20 feet before two-putting for bogey.
I just wanted to hit the green, and when I missed I knew I was in a lot of trouble, he said. I told me caddie to wait in the (ball) drop area, so I was very fortunate there. I thought I was taking a stroke.
Tambellini, who holds conditional status on the Nationwide Tour this year, had his third career runner-up showing Sunday. He couldnt help but ponder if this was the one that got away, but tipped his hat to Hultman with the birdie-eagle-ace run that put the Swede in control.
Have you ever seen anything like that? wondered Tambellini, shaking his head. That was something. But I had a big lead, and I let it get away. Mentally, I wasnt as sharp as I have been and it cost me.
Like Hultman, Harris went into the final round three shots off the lead and stayed well within striking distance all day despite not draining a birdie until the 17th hole. The tours Most Improved International Player in 2002 said he didnt put the pressure on when he needed to and couldnt make a charge until it was too late.
That just isnt going to cut it when you are trying to come from behind to win a golf tournament, reasoned the 25-year-old Michigan native. I feel my game is coming around, but you have to stay consistent the entire round. You cant slap the ball around out there and expect to beat great competition.
The Canadian Tour stays at Barton Creek this week for the TravelTex.com Canadian Tour Challenge, which gets under way Thursday at the neighboring Fazio Foothills layout.

Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the TravelTex.com Classic
  • Full coverage of the TravelTex.com Classic
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    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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    Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

    Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

    As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

    Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

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    Hot Seat: Rory jumps into the fire early

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 2:11 pm

    The world’s top tours head to desert regions this week, perfect locales for The Hot Seat, the gauge upon which we measure the level of heat the game’s top personalities are facing ...

    Sahara sizzle: Rory McIlroy

    McIlroy won’t have to look far to see how his form measures up to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    McIlroy will make his 2018 debut with Johnson in his face, literally.

    McIlroy will be grouped with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in the first two rounds.

    Players like to downplay pairings early in a tournament, but it’s hard to believe McIlroy and Johnson won’t be trying to send each other messages in this European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. That’s the alpha-dog nature of world-class players looking to protect their turf, or in the case of McIlroy, take back his turf.

    “When you are at the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Trevor Immelman said about pairings during Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge last month.

    And that was an offseason event.

    “They want to show this guy, ‘This is what I got,’” Immelman said.

    As early season matchups go, Abu Dhabi is a heavyweight pairing that ought to be fun.

    So there will be no easing into the new year for McIlroy after taking off the last three months to regroup from the stubborn rib injury that plagued him last season. He is coming off a winless year, and he will be doing so alongside a guy who just won the first PGA Tour event of 2018 in an eight-shot rout. Johnson’s victory in Hawaii two weeks ago was his fifth since McIlroy last won.

    “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place, and that was because of where I was physically,” McIlroy said of 2017. “I feel prepared now. I feel ready, and I feel ready to challenge. I feel really good about where I’m at with my health. I’ve put all that behind me, which has been great.”

    Sonoran Smolder: Phil Mickelson

    Mickelson will turn 48 this summer.

    His world ranking is sliding, down to No. 43 now, which is the lowest he has ranked in 24 years.

    It’s been more than four years since he last won, making him 0 for his last 92 starts.

    There’s motivation in all of that for Mickelson. He makes his 2018 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge in the Palm Springs area this week talking like a man on a renewed mission.

    There’s a Ryder Cup team to make this season, which would be his 12th straight, and there’s a career Grand Slam to claim, with the U.S. Open returning to Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson finished second in ’04.

    While Mickelson may not feel old, there are so many young stars standing in his way that it’s hard not to be constantly reminded that time isn’t on his side in these events anymore.

    There has only been one player in the history of the game to win a major championship who was older than Mickelson is right now. Julius Boros won the PGA Championship when he was 48 back in 1968.

    Campaign fever: Jordan Spieth

    Spieth’s respect in the game’s ranks extends outside the ropes.

    He was just selected to run for the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council’s chairman position. He is facing Billy Hurley III in an election to see who will succeed Davis Love III on the Tour’s Policy Board next year.

    Spieth, just 24, has already made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” He made that back in 2016, with the magazine writing that “he exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.” Sounds like a campaign slogan.

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    CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

    The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

    Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

    Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

    Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.

    Notables in the field

    Phil Mickelson

    * This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

    * For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

    * He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

    * This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.

    Jon Rahm

    * Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    * In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

    * Last year he finished T-34 in this event.

    Adam Hadwin

    * Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

    * In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    Brian Harman

    * Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

    * Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

    * Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    Brandt Snedeker

    * Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

    * This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

    * Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.

    Patrick Reed

    * Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

    * This is his first start of 2018.

    * Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

    (Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)