Lehman Leads Magee Lucky in Phoenix

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 25, 2001, 5:00 pm
Tom Lehman seems to have found his oasis in the desert. The defending champion is once again in the lead through the first round of the Phoenix Open.
Lehman fired a 7-under-par 64 on the TPC at Scottsdale to tie Scott Verplank and Brad Elder for the 18-hole lead.
Tiger Woods is in a group one off the lead. Woods, Stewart Cink, Frank Nobilo, Chris Perry, Mark Calcavecchia and Steve Pate each opened in 6-under-par 65.
First-round play was suspended due to darkness. Nine players were left on the course. They will complete their rounds Friday morning.
Elder set the early pace, coming home in 6-under-par 30. Playing in his second full season on the PGA Tour, the former collegiate Player of the Year at the University of Texas birdied holes 13-17 to grab a share of the first-round lead.
'I had my putter going really well on the back,' said Elder, who was inadvertently introduced in the pressroom as Lee Elder, who in 1975 became the first black player to compete in the Masters.
Lehman's title defense began auspiciously with a bogey at the par-4 10th. But an eagle at the par-5 15th turned around his round. Lehman added a birdie at the 18th to make the turn in 2-under; and then proceeded to blister the front nine.

Lehman, who opened in 63 a year ago, birdied his first three holes on his inward half, and added two more on holes five and nine for a nine-hole score of 5-under-par 30.
'The first four holes I made terrible strokes and decided, hey, forget about your stroke and just putt it,' said Lehman, who took 26 putts in the first round. 'Just don't try to make the putt. Don't worry how you do it. From that point on, I putted well.'
Like Lehman, Verplank used an eagle at the 15th to jumpstart his round. Last year's Reno-Tahoe Open winner played his first seven holes in 5-under en route to a bogey-free round of 64.
Tiger also went around the Scottsdale track without a bogey. Making his first Phoenix start since a third-place finish in 1999, Woods carded six birdies in his round of 65.
'It could have been better but I had a couple of lip outs,' Woods said. 'I was playing well in practice, so it was just a question of bringing it into the tournament.'
Tiger nearly added his name to the top of the leaderboard but was distracted by an orange tossed by a spectator before he made his birdie attempt at the ninth hole, his last. Tiger backed away from the 20-foot putt, looked into the crowd, and then missed the putt.
Police detained the spectator who threw the orange. Tournament officials said they plan to press charges.
One of Tiger's birdies came courtesy of a two-putt at the par-4 17th. Woods was one of many to drive the 333-yard hole, though none matched the dramatics provided by Andrew Magee.
Just seconds after Pate converted an eagle putt from off the green, Magee felt compelled to hit his driver. The ball carried the full distance, ricocheted off the putter of Tom Byrum, who was playing in Pate's group, and rolled into the cup for a hole-in-one.
'I'm still in shock,' Magee said following his round of 5-under-par 66. 'I'm going to bask in the glow of this for a while.'
The unorthodox ace is believed to be the first hole-in-one on a par-four in PGA Tour history.
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Phoenix Open!

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta 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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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm