Durant Sets Record Palmer Steals Show at Hope
Durant fired a 6-under-par 66 at Bermuda Dunes to take a five-shot lead over Kevin Sutherland and Mark Calcavecchia, who carded round of 67 and 65, respectively, also at Bermuda Dunes.
But while the record belonged to Durant, the day belonged to Arnold Palmer.
Palmer became the first player since Sam Snead 22 years ago to shoot his age, a 1-under-par 71 on PGA West, a course he designed.
Palmer, who won this event five times, recovered from a double bogey at the 16th to birdie the par-3 17th and par the final hole.
'I don't think I will give up as long as I can compete and be part of the game,' said Palmer, who, at 18-over, will miss the four-day cut. 'I was kind of getting down with my game and how it's been. Today was encouraging.'
At 29-under, Durant is one stroke lower than John Huston, who established the 72-hole record at 28-under in his victory at the 1998 Hawaiian Open, and Calcavecchia, who tied that number in this year's Phoenix Open.
Though Calcavecchia didn't break Huston's record, he did better the 72-hole aggregate record set by Mike Souchak 46 years ago. Calc needed just 256 strokes to win in Phoenix; one shot less than it took Souchak to capture the 1955 Texas Open.
Durant's aggregate score through four rounds is 259. He's been in the lead since recording a personal best 61 in the second round. Friday, he followed with a solid 67. Saturday, he was a stroke better.
Leading by three as the day began, Durant was able to extend his lead by carding six birdies and no bogeys. He tied the 28-under mark by birdying the par-3 7th, his 16th hole of the day. Then, after missing a five-foot birdie putt at the eighth, Durant struck his approach shot from a fairway bunker on the par-4 9th to within 10 feet of the cup; where he rolled in the left-to-right curler for the record.
While Durant has played magnificently over 72 holes, he knows there are still 18 more. And with the likes of Calcavecchia, who shot 60 in the second round of his Phoenix victory, behind him, now's not the time to take the foot off the accelerator.
'If I can just go out and do what I'm doing I'll be fine,' said Durant. 'I think I need to be in the 60s again to do it.'
Said Calcavecchia on his chances of overtaking Durant: 'If he doesn't fill up the pond with his golf balls he's going to win the tournament. He's just too focused on what he's doing.'
The PGA West course will play host to Sunday's final round. Two years ago, David Duval shot 13-under 59 at PGA West to overcome a seven-stroke deficit to win the event.
News, Notes and Numbers
*The 90-hole tournament scoring record is 35-under 325, set by Tom Kite in 1993.
*The last time Arnold Palmer shot his age was in a Senior Tour event five years ago. Sam Snead was the last to do it on the regular tour, when, at age 67, he shot 67 in the third round of the 1979 Quad Cities Open, then followed it with a 66 in the final round.
*75 players made the cut, which fell at 11-under.
*Spike McRoy shot 11-under-par 61 at Bermuda Dunes to set the course record. Jim Gallagher, Jr., originally set the mark with a 62 in 1994. McRoy is in a tie for 15th at 19-under-par.
*Scott Verplank shot 10-under-par 62 at Indian Wells to move into a fifth-place tie at 22-under. Six players have shot 62 or lower through four rounds this week.
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Phoenix Open!
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.