Last roundup for Dallas stars: Spotlight on Day, Garcia

By Ryan Reiterman May 20, 2017, 11:51 pm

IRVING, Texas – At 60 feet, a bro yelled, “Get in the hole!” when Jason Day’s birdie putt left the face of his putter at the par-3 17th.

As his ball gently fell over the slope, the low buzz of the crowd grew louder and louder.

At 6 feet from the hole, Day raised his arms as he sensed something big was about to happen.

When the putt disappeared into the cup, Day let out a celebratory scream that was drowned out by the well-oiled fans surrounding the signature hole at the TPC Four Seasons.

“It was a very, very loud roar,” Day said after signing for a 7-under 63 that left him two strokes behind James Hahn at the AT&T Byron Nelson. “It's really cool to be able to do that again. Just goes to show that you can never really underestimate holing putts like that because it's just such a cool feeling.”

With his eighth birdie on Saturday, the former Dallas resident pumped his fists in the air and gave the tournament a serious jolt of excitement after the third round started with Jason Kokrak threatening to run away from the field.

Nursing a five-shot lead, Kokrak tripled the par-3 fifth  and opened the door for his fellow pros.

Day busted through like the Kool-Aid man.

Day’s performance matched the boldness of his wardrobe - an electric yellow shirt and black pants. He dropped five straight birdies on Nos. 7-11, and he almost made it six in a row, but he missed a 7-foot putt on 12.

“I thought it was going to keep on going the way I was playing,” he said. “Felt really good.”



After his lone bogey at the par-4 14th, the 2010 Nelson champ just missed an eagle putt from 13 feet at the par-5 16th and he briefly tied the lead with his thunderous putt on 17.

“I've been in this position before, especially at this golf course,” Day said. “I'm looking forward to the challenge tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's been awhile since I've been back in the spotlight.”

Day wasn’t the only player to make a big move on Saturday.

Hahn began the week with a 6-under 64, shot even par Friday, and then he came roaring back in Round 3 with another 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Billy Horschel into the final round.

Hahn started his round by dunking a pitch shot for birdie at the par-4 third, and he made five more coming in to finish in the pole position.

“Anytime you're under par after nine holes, you're kind of freed up a little bit, and I feel like I did that today,” Hahn said. “Made some good decisions. Wasn't too aggressive with my approach shots. Felt like I could have made a couple extra putts coming down the stretch. Definitely happy with how I finished off the round today.”

He’ll be joined in the final group by Horschel, who was back to his fiery self, closing with three consecutive birdies for a 4-under 66. A new putter and a smoother tempo broke Horschel out of a slump following four straight missed cuts.

“It's been a tough four to six weeks, probably the toughest stretch of golf I've had since early in my career,” Horschel said. “It's nice to be seeing the signs of the fruits of labor, because we've put a lot of hours in.”

After a birdie at the par-5 16th, Horschel slapped his club to the ground when he saw his tee shot at 17 head left toward a greenside bunker. The 2014 season points champion provided another explosion of noise at the par 3 when he slammed his bunker shot into the hole for birdie.

“I think if I missed it would have been 5 feet by,” he said.

Horschel added one more birdie on 18 to put himself in a great position for his fourth PGA Tour tile and first since he earned a $10 million bonus at the 2014 Tour Championship.

Sunday will mark the final edition of the Nelson at TPC Four Seasons before it moves to nearby Trinity Forest, a new Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design south of downtown Dallas.

Along with the colorful personalities of Hahn and Horschel, and the star-power of Day, the finale at Las Colinas will have another intriguing storyline.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia is not going down without a fight. A month after capturing his first major at Augusta, the Spaniard is only four back after he polished off a 6-under 64 with three birdies and a back-nine 29.

“If I can play the same way I played the last couple of days and hopefully put another good round, [we’ll] see what happens,” Garcia said.

Despite shooting a 2-over 72, Kokrak is still in a great position for his first win in 145 career starts. He’s tied for third with Day, two strokes behind Hahn.

“I'm happy with where I'm at,” Kokrak said. “I'm still playing good golf and, you know, roll a couple more putts in tomorrow and [it will] be a fun day tomorrow.”

Along with Horschel and Garcia, Cameron Tringale also ended his round with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 for a 3-under 67. He’s three off the lead and, like Kokrak, Tringale is eyeing his first win in his eighth year on Tour.

But even Hahn admitted the biggest crowd will probably not be following the final group. All eyes will be on Day as the former world No. 1 tries to win his first tournament in more than a year.

“I feel good about where the game is right now, [and trying] not to get ahead of myself because there's still one day of golf to be played here and got to enjoy the challenge tomorrow and have fun,” Day said.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.