Furyk's collapse at Bridgestone latest of season

By Randall MellAugust 6, 2012, 12:00 am

AKRON, Ohio – What in the name of Jean Van de Velde is happening in golf?

In what is unfolding as one of the game’s cruelest years, the WGC-Bridgestone was witness Sunday to yet another painful collapse.

With Jim Furyk unraveling under pressure at the 72nd hole at Firestone Country Club, no PGA Tour season in recent memory has seemed to be in more dire need of a Heimlich maneuver.

Keegan Bradley played beautifully down the stretch Sunday, but this championship wasn’t his until Furyk gave it to him.

A shot ahead at the last hole, Furyk, a tough-as-nails veteran, took a one-shot lead to the 18th tee but hit four consecutive poor shots to make double bogey and lose by a stroke. It was yet another nasty blow for Furyk, who was wobbled just seven weeks ago when he lost a chance to win the U.S. Open with a stumble at the 70th hole at The Olympic Club

Sunday at Firestone, in the cruelest scene of all the cruel closing acts this year, Furyk staggered off the final green to see the heartache in his 9-year-old son, Tanner.

“I walked over, and my boy is crying right after the round,” Furyk said.

Tanner, and his older sister, Caleigh, were also there in the end of that crushing U.S. Open defeat with their mother, Jim’s wife, Tabitha.

“I guess it reminds you as an adult, as a parent, that you have to act the proper way,” Furyk said. “You have to do and say the right things to try to give the right lessons.”

Furyk, a 16-time PGA Tour winner, nobly stood up to all the questions in the end and did his best to make sense of the crazy game he plays.

“I’m still a little in shock,” said Furyk, 42, as he left the scoring trailer. “I’m stunned. I can’t quite fathom what I just did.”

A 54-hole lead is almost becoming a curse on the PGA Tour. Just 10 players have closed out 54-hole leads with a victory in 33 PGA Tour events this year.

Two weeks ago, Adam Scott blew a chance to win the British Open closing with four consecutive bogeys.

In January, Kyle Stanley blew a three-shot lead at the 72nd hole to lose the Farmers Insurance Open.

A week later, Stanley won when Spencer Levin lost a six-shot lead in the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Then there was Furyk’s back-nine failure at the U.S. Open. Though that defeat cost him winning his second major championship, Furyk seemed more bewildered and gutted by what happened at Firestone.

“I’ve lost some tournaments in pretty poor fashion, but I don’t think I’ve ever let one nearly as bad as this one,” Furyk said. “This was my worst effort to finish off an event.”

Bradley, 26, a three-time PGA Tour winner with a major and World Golf Championship on his resume, deserves credit, and Furyk said as much.

Despite an awful, plugged lie in the sand beside the 18th green, Bradley thumped a bunker shot to 15 feet, about the best he could do from that lie. With Furyk struggling, needing two shots to get out of the rough right of the green, Bradley found himself over a 15-foot putt that he knew would at least force a playoff.

Bradley buried the putt with that belly putter of his. He buried it looking like he relished the pressure.

“I was reading this putt, and I kept telling myself that this is the exact moment that I live for, that you grow up your whole life wanting, and I’m living it,” Bradley said. “I didn’t think for a second I was going to miss it. It was unbelievable.”

That’s what Furyk was thinking when he was finished, too. He couldn’t believe the calamity of errors he put himself through at the final hole. There was a pulled tee shot into a tree, which fortuitously bounced out in the fairway. There was the hard 7-iron that didn’t draw and bounced into heavy rough right of the green. There was his fluffed slash, a pitch that never reached the green, and then another misplayed chip that left him needing to make a 5-foot putt for bogey.

After Bradley holed his par save, Furyk had to make his putt to force a playoff. He jabbed it hard and clumsily to the right, never coming close to the hole.

“It was a pretty disappointing putt,” Furyk said. “It was awful, to be honest.”

Furyk showed class handling this loss, a brutal defeat in a summer of brutal finishes for 54-hole leaders.

With Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course offering a potentially torturous finish at next week’s PGA Championship, this cruel, cruel summer may be far from over.

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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.