Alls Easy in the Big Easy

By Mercer BaggsMay 3, 2001, 4:00 pm
Some days are better than others, but very few can compare to the one Paul Stankowski had on Thursday in New Orleans, La.
 
Stankowski birdied 11 of his first 15 holes at the English Turn Golf & Country Club, and then held on for a career-best 11-under-par 61.
 
Stankowski was the lowest of the low in the first round at the Compaq Classic of New Orleans, as 12 players shot 66 or lower.
 
I knew I was playing well and all I had to do was get it done, said Stankowski. I feel my game is where it needs to be. The confidence factor was high.
 
Brian Watts and Kenny Perry each eagled their first holes of the day en route to shooting a pair of 8-under-par 64s. They share second place, one-shot clear of Jim Carter, Brian Wilson and Keith Clearwater, who all opened in 65.
 
Phil Mickelson is five off the pace following a 6-under-par 66. Native Louisianan Hal Sutton is six back after a 67, as is Ernie Els.
 
In his eighth full season on tour, the 31-year-old Stankowski is in search of his third career title, and his first since the 1997 Hawaiian Open.
 
Stankowski has had success in the Bayou State before. In 1996, he captured the Buy.Com Louisiana Open, and then won the BellSouth Classic on the PGA Tour the following week.
 
He remains the only player to win on both tour in consecutive weeks.
 
Stankowski is also a proven marksman on the big tour. This year, he played the five-round Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 32-under-par, only to be outdone by Joe Durant, who set a 90-hole tour scoring record at 36-under 324.
 
Stankowskis round included 20 putts. He also had a pair of chip-ins on the 9th and 13th holes.
 
Following a birdie at the 14th, Stankowski stood in the 15th fairway with thoughts of 59 running through his mind.
 
I had 228 [yards] to the hole and thought if I could stiff a 2-iron, I might be able to make eagle and go to 12-under with three holes to play.
 
Stankowski did stiff his approach shot to eight feet, but missed the eagle effort. Still, he birdied the hole to move to 11-under-par.
 
However, that's where his run to 59 ended.
 
Stankowski missed the fairway and the green on the par-4 16th, but successfully got up and down for his 4. Then, after coming up 30 yards short of the green on the par-3 17th, he pitched to within six feet and converted the save.
 
At the 18th, Stankowski managed to two-putt from 50+ feet.
 
It was sort of an anti-climatic finish, but it was a good day, Stankowski said. Im kinda glad I didnt shoot 59. Its too big a story for a Thursday.
 
Watts and Perry held the lead throughout the better part of the opening round.
 
Watts, who is best known for losing to Mark OMeara in a playoff in the 1998 British Open, was 8-under after his first 11 holes ' aided by his eagle on his first hole, the par-4 10th.
 
The Canadian-born Watts added one more birdie to his card, but bogeyed the par-3 8th, his 17th of the day, to enter the clubhouse at 8-under.
 
Watts, 35, has conditional exemption on the 2001 PGA Tour after finishing last year 133rd in earnings. This is only his third stateside start this season; though he finished tied for 12th in last weeks Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic.
 
Coming back from hip surgery in January, Watts was pleased with his first round; in particular, his stunning eagle at the 1st.
 
I cant emphasize how important that start was, said Watts. It was a smooth 6-iron [from 181 yards] and it was downwind. Thats a very hard green to hold, so I landed it at the front of the green and let it roll about 12 or 14 yards.
 
Luckily, the pin was all the way at the back edge of the green and it found the cup. That shot carried the momentum the rest of the day.
 
Incredibly, Perry also eagled his opening hole, the par-4 1st. Perry, who like Watts is best remembered for his runner-up finish in a major, collected six more birdies to tie his counterpart.
 
It was a pretty interesting day, I didnt have many good vibes before the start of the round, said Perry, who lost to Mark Brooks in a playoff in the 1996 PGA Championship. Its been about three or four years since I holed one from the fairway.
 
Full-field scores from the Compaq Classic of New Orleans

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.