Parnevik Breezes to First-Round Lead in Honda
Jesper Parnevik fired a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 on a day when the wind barely qualified as a breeze. He's tied with Australian rookies Ben Ferguson and Geoff Ogilvy for the 18-hole lead in Coral Springs, Fla.
The Swede, who turned 36 on Wednesday, may feel like a kid again when he looks a little further down the leaderboard. Forty-three-year-old Fulton Allem and 45-year-old Scott Simpson are just one shot off the day one lead after opening in 6-under-par 66.
Simpson, the 1987 U.S. Open champion, missed the entire 2000 season due to a broken ankle. He and Allem are in a six-way tie for fourth place along with 24-year-old former Public Links champion Hunter Haas, J.P. Hayes, Jim Gallagher, Jr., and Bernhard Langer.
Mark Calcavecchia is two back following a 5-under-par 67. He's tied with 11 others, including Joe Durant, who's in search of his third straight PGA Tour victory, and 16-year-old amateur Ty Tryon.
Tryon, a sophomore from Lake Highland High School in Orlando, Monday qualified for this week's event. Thursday, he birdied his final three holes for a 67 in his first career PGA Tour start.
'I'm just incredibly happy to be here, just to play a PGA tournament,' said Tryon, who plays on the same golf team with the sons of John Cook and David Leadbetter. 'Playing well is definitely a plus, but it is awesome.'
Calcavecchia is just two weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Fortunately, as a two-time winner of this event, he didn't need a practice round to regain his comfort on the course.
Arriving just 15 minutes before his 7:27am tee time, this year's Phoenix Open champion birdied six of his first 16 holes, before fatigue set in over the final stretch. He bogeyed the par-4 17th and two-putted for par on the par-4 finishing hole.
'I did hit the wall on the 17th tee, it felt like someone just hit me over the head with a hammer,' he said. 'I almost fell asleep out there on 17, but if someone would have told me I was going to shoot 5-under today, I'd be real happy.'
Under normal circumstances, Calcavecchia said he would have skipped this week's Tour stop. But, living just 45 minutes away in West Palm Beach, he considers this a home event. And well he should. He not only lives nearby, but he won the tournament in 1987 when it was played on the TPC at Eagle Trace, and again in 1999 at Heron Bay.
Calcavecchia first noticed the pain in his left knee in the third round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. And, having already gone through two prior surgeries - one on each knee - he was able to diagnosis the injury himself.
In his first competitive round since going under the knife, Calcavecchia sported a brace and a slight hitch in his gait. He also had to tailor his swing a bit.
'I open my left foot a little bit more and I'm probably hands-ing it out there a little more,' said Calcavecchia, who hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation. 'I can't quite clear my left knee and snap it straight shut like I'm used to. But it's alright.'
Much like Calcavecchia, Parnevik is commuting to and from work this week. Jesper resides in Jupiter, just about an hour north of Coral Springs.
He had to wake up at 4 o'clock in the morning to make his tee time. But with a newborn in the next room, it didn't prove to be a problem.
Sans sleep, Parnevik needed only 22 putts in his 65 strokes. He gave credit to a device called the Zen Oracle Training System.
'It's like a putter with a doughnut hole in it,' described Parnevik. 'And you put the ball in this hole (in the face) and then you make a normal stroke and then you kind of release the ball towards the hole.
'It's amazing, the feel you get with it. It's helped me a lot.'
Allem was fine with his putter on Thursday; it was his driver that nearly killed him. Allem, who is still riding a 10-year exemption for winning the 1993 NEC World Series of Golf, saw every bit of the Heron Bay layout in the first round. But thanks to a new set of Mizuno blade irons, which he put in his bag on Wednesday, the South African was able to salvage his best round of the season.
The last time Allem warranted a visit to the Tour pressroom, he was the 36-hole leader in the 2000 PLAYERS Championship. He subsequently shot 82-77 over the weekend to tie for 66th.
'Never saw me in the press room again, did you,' joked Allem, who chipped in for an eagle on the par-5 14th on Thursday. 'It's the first round, so I can't tell you (how it feels to be near the lead). It will feel great if I'm sitting over here come Sunday afternoon.'
Following his round, Allem went to the practice range, where he tried out a handful of drivers; one of which will be in use in Round Two.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Dudley Hart opened his title defense in 2-under-par 70. He's tied for 56th place.
*94 players broke par in the first round.
*Geoff Ogilvy and Ben Ferguson are two of 12 Australians in this week's field, which also includes Aaron Baddeley and Adam Scott. Baddeley shot a first-round 4-over-par 76. Scott carded a 2-under-par 70.
*Jim Furyk is using a mid-length Bullseye putter, similar to the ones used by Vijay Singh and Paul Azinger. Furyk said he put the club in his bag this week to try and keep him from turning his entire body when he putts. With the putter lodged to his navel, Furyk believes it will help him stroke the ball better by just rotating his shoulders. He needed 27 putts in his first-round 70.
*Chris Tidland withdrew after playing only eight holes on Thursday due to ulcers in his eyes. His doctor advised him to stop wearing his contact lenses.
*16 Eagles were made in the first round of the 2001 Honda Classic. Last year, 16 eagles were recorded in all four rounds combined.
Click here for full-field scores from the Honda Classic
CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:
|T20||Charles Howell III||-14||$57,754|
|T36||Tyrone Van Aswegen||-12||$27,189|
|T69||Billy Hurley III||-6||$11,623|
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.