2013 Golf Channel Am Tour Crowns Six Senior National Champions At PGA WEST

By Golf Channel Public RelationsOctober 14, 2013, 5:34 pm

Six amateur golfers outlasted their respective Flights to be crowned national champions at the recent 2013 Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championships (age 50+) at famed PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.  More than 550 golfers representing 47 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Canada convened PGA West., Sept. 28-Oct. 1, making it the largest senior national championship field in Am Tour history.

Bob Brooks (Bella Vista, Ark.) held on to claim the Senior Championship Flight, winning by two shots despite a few bumps in the road down the stretch that included triple bogey on nine, a bogey on 15 and a double bogey on 16. In the end, Brooks’ play on the remaining holes was enough to edge out Ron Quick (Murrieta, Calif.) by two shots to win his first national championship.

The Senior Palmer Flight was the lone division that produced a playoff finish, with Ray Henry (Victoria, British Columbia) edging out Bill Foley (Vorore, Tenn.). Henry, 66, who grew up in Portrush, Northern Ireland, shot a final-round 74 to force the playoff on the Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST. On the first playoff hole, Foley’s tee shot landed in a bunker, which opened the door for Henry to seal the victory with a two-putt par.

Randy Hodges (Montgomery, Texas) converted a pressure-packed 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole of the tournament to win the Senior Hogan flight by one shot. The “rookie” of the group, Hodges had never previously played in a four-day tournament prior to this week.  However, that inexperience didn’t deter him from a final-round 77 to win.

The 72-hole national championships served as the Am Tour’s culminating event, contested on four PGA WEST courses: the Palmer Private Course – home to the PGA TOUR’s Humana Challenge – the TPC Stadium Course, Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course and Greg Norman Course.

Senior Snead Flight (20+ handicap)

Jim Allard (Dover, N.H.) was one of just three players to finish in the top-10 of the Senior Snead Flight while breaking 100 in all four rounds. However, it was his third-round 83 that propelled him to win by four shots, completing his 13-day, 3,000 mile drive from his home in New Hampshire with a championship.

Allard, 65, took up golf in 2002 after a heart attack derailed his career as an underwater photographer. Allard, who works in the Information Technology industry, started playing the Am Tour in 2006. This was his fifth national championship appearance.

He’s driving a northern route home to New Hampshire, playing another dozen rounds before he reaches home. He has dreams of playing golf in every state. He’s at 36 currently, 11 alone on the trip out to California.

“If all goes as planned, I’ll only have Alaska, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana left,” Allard said.

Senior Jones Flight (16.0-19.9)

Holding a nine-shot lead entering the final round of the Senior Jones Flight, John Scott (Houston, Texas) figured it wouldn’t be as easy as it seemed on paper.

In the end, a final-round 90 on the Stadium course left him five shots clear of the next closest competitor – even without his best golf on display.

“The first two days was like riding a bike,” Scott said. “The last two days was like learning to snow ski when you have never been before. It was like I never hit a mid-iron before.”

The owner of an insurance agency, the 66-year-old started playing golf in college after his baseball practices at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He played baseball (a second baseman) left-handed, but plays golf right-handed.

On his conservative play with such a big lead, Scott said “I kept it in the fairway and out of the bunkers, and I made some putts.”

Senior Sarazen Flight (12.0-15.9)

With the largest margin of victory among the six Flights in the field, Richard Stein (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) used a final-round 89 on the way to a six-shot win in the Senior Sarazen Flight.

The 55-year-old Stein has finished among the top five in his flight in every tournament he’s played in since joining the Am Tour last year except one. That lone exception, a sixth-place at last year’s national championship, provided motivation throughout his season.

“I have the potential to play well, but I was very inconsistent,” Stein said. “When I started playing on Tour, it re-sparked my interest. I started practicing more. The tour is a great thing. At my age, I’m starting to improve again.”

Stein’s father got him into the game when he was 8 years old. Playing in amateur tournaments while growing up, he even competed against Tiger Woods in the Porter Cup. That experience helped hone his patience on the course – which he needed every bit of after making just one birdie over the span of the week.

“I managed to stay out of trouble and avoid the big number. That’s what did it for me,” Stein said.

Senior Hogan Flight (8.0-11.9)

Saving his best shot for last, Randy Hodges (Montgomery, Texas) sunk a 10-foot birdie putt on his 72nd hole to win the Senior Hogan Flight by one shot.

The Flight proved to be the most competitive of the week, with eight players finishing within six shots of the winning score. The 53-year-old started to feel the nerves of the closely contested leaderboard after taking the lead on the second day, and it continued up until his final round where he was slated in the final group.

“It was tough sleeping,” Hodges said. “We didn’t go out until the last group. There is a lot of sitting around trying not to think about it.”

Hodges bounced back from a shaky 86 in the third round with a 77 on the final day to win the title.

Senior Palmer Flight (4-7.9)

Ray Henry – a Northern-Irishman – won the Senior Palmer Flight in dramatic fashion by virtue of a playoff after firing a final-round 74 on the Private Palmer Course.

Henry faced a double-digit deficit heading into the final round that left him not knowing where he stood after his final-round 74.

“I was a long way behind. I didn’t think I had a chance,” Henry admitted. “I just played very steady all week. I don’t hit it far, so I need to hit it dead straight to keep up with the guys who bomb it 40 yards past me.'

A retired traffic controller, Henry now calls Victoria, British Columbia in Canada home, yet still has a lifetime membership to the famed Royal Portrush in his native Northern Ireland.

“I think all the good Portrush guys are still there. The bad ones moved to Canada,” he said with a laugh. “There have been some good players from there.”

Championship Flight (<3.9)

Despite a few setbacks on his scorecard, Bob Brooks (Bella Vista, Ark.) held on to win the Senior Championship Flight, earning a two-shot victory courtesy of his final-round 74.

A triple-bogey on nine, coupled with a bogey on 15 and a double-bogey on 16 did little to deflate Brooks, who kept his poise down the stretch to provide a fitting end to his first season on the Am Tour.

“Being able to come back with that birdie at 10 showed me that if I just kept my game at the pace I was playing, the guys I was playing with would really have to shoot well to catch me,” Brooks said.

The 56-year-old didn’t take up the game until age 30 after suffering a broken leg during a rugby match. Not wanting to sit around waiting to heal, Brooks began walking nine holes of golf with a cast on his leg.

“I was a little sweaty and sore, but it really benefitted me to learn that way,” he recalled. “It taught me a lot about balance in the swing.”

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.