DiMarco a Good Bet This Week
Chris DiMarco lost a gentlemans wager in September and is publicly paying with his pride in October.
However, if things keep the current course, that loss of dignity may be compensated with a $666,000 paycheck.
DiMarco followed an opening 64 with a 9-under 63 to take the lead through two rounds of the Disney Golf Classic.
DiMarco used the rules of lift, clean and place on the Palm Course to his advantage, birdieing five of his first six holes Friday and chipping in at the last en route to finishing at 17-under-par 127, a new 36-hole tournament record.
If I keep playing well, and keep doing what Im doing, Im going to be tough to catch, he said.
DiMarco is two strokes clear of fellow Orlando resident Scott Hoch, who teed off late on the Magnolia Course, where they did not clean and replace. The 46-year-old shot 65 to stay within reach of the leader.
'Two days in a row now I've played pretty well,' Hoch said. 'Started out kind of slow score-wise, and then finally when I got a couple to drop, then a lot of them started dropping.'
Overnight co-leaders Hidemichi Tanaka and Bob Burns kept themselves in contention. Tanaka shot 67 on the Palm to get to minus 14, while Burns had a 68 at Magnolia to move to 13-under.
Two-time champion Tiger Woods said he played better Friday, but his score wasn't indicative of that. Woods, playing with a new graphite shaft in his driver, wasn't able to the convert the putts he did in round one, and posted a 3-under 69. He's eight back, at 9-under.
The cutline fell at 6-under 138. The score in relation to par is the lowest in tour history.
'I was kidding saying (Thursday) that I think I need to shoot under par to make the cut. I was actually on the money,' said Woods, who opened in 6-under 66.
'This is just so low. I have never seen anything like that before - this many guys going that low.
'I just need to go out there and shoot one of (DiMarco's) rounds, and I will be all right.'
While DiMarco may have the honor of leading, a peculiar plush bird peering out of his golf bag has created a bit of ignominy.
DiMarco, an All-American at the University of Florida, is being forced to shield his driver at this weeks event with a Sebastian Ibis head cover ' the Miami Hurricanes mascot.
The good thing is its got orange and green in it. It kind of looks like a gator, DiMarco rationalized. And right now, the way the Gators are playing (theyre 4-3), I dont know if Id much rather have that on there or not.
DiMarco made a bet with Miami native Briny Baird that his Gators would beat Bairds Hurricanes in an early-season football game. The Gators lost ' badly, and it cost DiMarco.
The head cover is gone as soon as I sink my last putt on the last hole on 18, he said.
He may want to reconsider after posting a pair of brilliant rounds, consisting of 17 birdies, one eagle and two bogeys. But its not the offensive head cover that is producing the stellar play, its a confident putting stroke.
Ive been putting absolutely phenomenal. Im just seeing the line so good and my speed has been perfect, said DiMarco, who is averaging just 22 putts per round this week.
After his early birdie run Friday, DiMarco stalled with one birdie over a seven-hole stretch, before lacing a 3-wood from 271 yards to 10 feet and making eagle at the par-5 14th.
He concluded his day by banking in a birdie at the last from off the green.
Getting to this point doesnt mean I have to shoot, you know, Ive got my 63 and 64. So, you know, I dont necessarily have to shoot two more of those to win, he said.
DiMarco captured this years Phoenix Open, but has recorded only a pair of top-10 finishes since that January victory. He attributes his recent turn-around to avoiding the big numbers.
I bet you from June to the end of August I probably made 20 doubles and, I mean, I might have made five doubles all last year. You do that enough and its just not going to help your score, he pointed out.
And for the record, DiMarco wont be making any more bets concerning his alma mater.
No, he said. Not like the one I just made, no.
Full-field scores from the Disney Golf Classic
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry