"Clash in the Canyon" World Long Drive Event Airing Tuesday, June 6 in Primetime on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 1, 2017, 1:45 pm

Long Drive Returning to Familiar Venue in Partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada; Will Feature Women’s Division Being Showcased Live for First Time

The World Long Drive Association (WLDA) will stage the first of three live television events in 2017 with the ‘Clash in the Canyon,” airing Tuesday, June 6 in primetime on Golf Channel at 8 p.m. ET. The new event is in partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada and will be staged June 3-6 at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex, culminating in the television portion that will feature the four competitors having advanced in the Women’s Division, along with the eight remaining competitors in the Open (Men’s) Division. The event will mark the first time ever that the Women’s Division will air live on television.

A familiar setting in the Long Drive community, Mesquite previously hosted the World Long Drive Championship and a number of qualifying events dating back to 1997, including the World Championship having been staged at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex from 2008-2012.

The Clash in the Canyon will feature a 32-man field competing in the Open Division based on the World Long Drive rankings, which will include nine of the top-10 in the current rankings, along with a Women’s Division field of 16 competitors. The Open Division will compete for a $50,000 purse, with a first place prize of $20,000, while the Women’s Division will be vying for a $7,000 first place prize with a $15,000 overall purse. Ben Tuanone (Wells Fargo Advisory Endless Summer Invitational), Tim Burke (East Coast Classic) and Landon Gentry (WinStar Midwest Slam) have won the first three sanctioned Open Division events to-date on the 2017 WLDA season heading into the Clash in the Canyon. Winners in each Division (or the highest finisher not previously qualified) will earn a spot in the field at the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship later this year.

OPEN DIVISION FIELD (# Signifies Current World Ranking): Will Hogue (1), Tim Burke (2), Trent Scruggs (3), Tommy Hug (5), Justin James (T-6), Ryan Reisbeck (T-6), Paul Howell (8), Landon Gentry (9), Maurice Allen (T-10), Ryan Steenberg (T-10), Justin Moose (12), Jeremy Easterly (T-13), Jeff Flagg (T-13), Jason Eslinger (T-15), Kevin Shook (T-15), Jeff Crittenden (17), Glenn Wilson Jr. (19), Troy Teal (21), Jeff Gavin (22), Mike Dobbyn (24), Brady Torbitt (25), Patrick Hopper (T-26), Mitch Dobbyn (T-26), Steve Monroe (T-28), Ryan Winther (T-28), Dan McIntosh (31), Ben Tuaone (33), Kody Zurek (35), Jim Waldron (T-36), Stan Ramsey (40), Spencer McDaniel (T-41), Rob Tiettmeyer (43).

WOMEN’S DIVISION FIELD: Phillis Meti, Chloe Garner, Sandra Carlborg, Heather Manfredda (LeMaster), Lee Brandon, Alex Phillips, Kaycee Kennedy, Troy Mullins, Lisa Vlooswyk, Michelle Sheptak, Debbie Peever, Serena McGannon, Cory Ann Pond, Megan Thornes, Corey Phillips, Haley Vandenberg.

FORMAT: The Open Division field of 32 will be divided into two groups of 16, competing in a round-robin format where they will accrue points, with the top eight in each group advancing to a 16-man, double-elimination bracket. From there, the top eight will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals bracket which will play out during the telecast. The Women’s Division field of 16 also will utilize a points format that will decide the top eight advancing to the quarterfinals, and winners of the quarterfinal matches will advance to take part in the semifinals, airing live during the telecast.

COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Clash in the Canyon will air in primetime from 8-10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 6, with Golf Centralpreviewing and recapping the event (7-8 p.m. ET, 10-10:30 p.m. ET). In addition, Golf Channel will air an encore telecast of the 2016 World Long Drive Championship, featuring the Round of 16 (3-5 p.m. ET) and Finals (5-7 p.m. ET) leading into the live Golf Central at 7 p.m. ET.

The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as a crane-positioned camera that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by Long Drive competitors, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Top Tracer technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracking drives from the moment of impact.

Morning Drive and Golf Central will prepare viewers for the Clash in the Canyon through interviews and dedicated segments with competitors on the driving range in Mesquite, in addition to airing player profiles and features leading up to the competition.

BROADCAST TEAM: Golf Channel’s Grant Boone will conduct play-by-play, Art Sellinger – long-drive pioneer and two-time Long Drive champion – will provide analysis, and Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will provide reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field.

QUALIFYING ROUNDS & RECOGNIZING THE PIONEERS OF LONG DRIVE: As part of the event, the WLDA will stage local and regional qualifying for the Open Division on Saturday-Sunday, June 3-4 (*On-site Registration Open to Public*), which will award four exemptions into the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 6) field later this year. Also taking place on Sunday, June 4, will be a Masters Division (ages 45+) competition, with a field of 16 that includes several individuals who have greatly contributed to the success and sustainability of the sport over the past few decades. The format will feature a round-robin points system, with the top-four moving on to the head-to-head semifinals and finals. The Field: Don Beck, Kevin Blenkhorn, Vincent Ciurluini, Jeff Crittenden, Eddie Fernandes, Mark Frampton, Jeff Gavin, Chris Hall, Daniel Lambert, David Mobley, Brian Pavlet, Tom Peppard, Bobby Peterson, Lance Reader, Richard Smith and Scott Smith.               

DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans will have an opportunity to stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Clash in the Canyon by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. On-site activations will include: a series of Facebook Live videos leading up to the competition that will utilize a drone to offer unique perspective on the venue; Early-round coverage on Facebook Live June 3-5 and; an oversized video board adjacent to the grid showcasing social media interaction from fans in attendance and those following along at home.

The telecast also will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage, and will feature Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin, weighing in on trending themes and conversation as the event unfolds.

In an effort to help viewers get to know some of the personalities behind the top competitors in the Long Drive community, Golf Channel Digital has created a series of player profiles, featuring Sandra Carlborg, Will Hogue, Tim Burke and Trent Scruggs.

The 2017 Open Division schedule consists of qualifying events spanning from March through August, with competitors from each event advancing to the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, which will feature a 96-man field competing for a $270,000 purse. The Women’s Division will feature a field of 32 competitors vying for a purse of $40,000. The event will return to WinStar World Casino & Resort (Thackerville, Okla.) for a third consecutive year, following a multi-year extension as the host site. For the full 2017 World Long Drive Association schedule, visit https://www.worldlongdrive.com/schedule/.

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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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.