Hoch Not Complaining Now

By Mercer BaggsApril 28, 2001, 4:00 pm
By the way hes playing, youd never know Scott Hoch was unhappy with the conditions at the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic.
Hoch, who earlier in the week complained that the rough was three inches shorter than normal, shot a 5-under-par 67 to grab sole possession of the lead entering Sundays final round at Forest Oaks Country Club.
At 13-under-par, the 45-year-old Hoch is one-shot lower than Jerry Kelly (65), David Berganio, Jr. (68) and 36-hole leader Mike Sposa (70).
Fellow 45-year-old Scott Simpson, who led after 18 holes, is just two off the pace after a round of 2-under-par 70. Simpson is tied for fifth place with Japans Kaname Yokoo, who fired a 7-under-par 65 in the third round.
Twenty-eight players are within five shots of the lead. Defending champion Hal Sutton is six back. He celebrated his 43rd birthday Saturday with a 4-under-par 68.
They are hungry, but Im pretty hungry too, said Hoch, in reference to the lack of notable names on the crowded leaderboard. Theyve got something to play for and so do I.
With the late Payne Stewarts former caddie, Mike Hicks, on his bag, Hoch made a strong bid Saturday to notch his first PGA Tour victory since the 1997 Greater Milwaukee Open ' a span of 94 events.
The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon birdied five of his first ten holes before three-putting from 90 feet on No. 12 and from 45 feet on No. 14.
Still, he rebounded by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt at the 16th and then saved par by dropping in a six-footer at the last.
At my age I never know how many chances I have to win, Hoch said. In that regard, I will have a lot to play for.
Sposa got off to a hot start, birdieing three of his first seven holes. However, the 31-year-old could only manage one birdie to two bogeys over his final 11 holes.
Its probably better for me to me one back, not sleep on the lead, Sposa said. I am still in great position.
Kelly, who led after three rounds of this years Players Championship before finishing fifth, chipped in on the 18th after dropping away from a sprinkler head behind the green to join the fray.
I am feeling much more comfortable with the pressure, Kelly said.
Hoch wasnt going to play this week, but once he saw good weather was forecasted, he made the trip. Once in Greensboro, Hoch called PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem to protest the length of the rough, which is half the length of the usually nasty six inches.
Shorter rough favors longer hitters. Hoch is quite accurate, but ranks 132nd on the tour in driving distance.
I just want to prove to myself or whoever else that I can still play, that I can still win a tournament, said Hoch. This is for my own benefit more than anything else.
Full-field scores from the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic
Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

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.

Getty Images

Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

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

Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

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.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

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.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.