Allenby Stenson on Top at Doral

By Sports NetworkMarch 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipMIAMI -- Henrik Stenson, the winner of the season's first World Golf Championships event, the Accenture Match Play Championship, appears to be making a serious bid at the single-season WGC Grand Slam.
 
He posted a 5-under-par 67 on Thursday and shares the opening-round lead of the WGC-CA Championship with Robert Allenby after a windy and rainy first day at Doral.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is four off the lead at Doral. (WireImage)
This is the first year the event at Doral joined the World Golf Championships rotation. It was previously the American Express Championship and one player is in a unique position.
 
Tiger Woods not only won last year's event at Doral, but also the American Express Championship at Mount Juliet Estate in Ireland.
 
On Thursday, Woods managed only three birdies and two bogeys en route to a 1-under-par 71. He is tied for 10th place, but had a chance to go lower.
 
Woods reached 2 under par thanks to a birdie at the par-5 first, his 10th hole on Thursday. He missed a 6 -footer for par at the third, then rattled off six consecutive pars, which was not good considering he had three straight birdie chances from inside 12 feet from the sixth.
 
At the par-3 ninth, Woods knocked his tee ball to 9 feet. Once again, Woods' ball stayed above ground as his flat stick could not get him any closer than four shots to the lead.
 
'It's just weird out there,' said Woods. 'I putt a lot by memory and a couple of the putts did the exact opposite of what they used to do.'
 
The weather was a factor on Thursday as rain fell periodically, but it was the wind that flummoxed players.
 
'Just go out there and fight your hardest,' said Stenson, who is the fifth-ranked golfer in the world. 'I think a lot of times you have to be smart and miss it in the right places. Don't short-side yourself in these conditions.'
 
Stenson also began on the back nine Thursday and birdied his second hole. He dropped a shot at the par-3 13th, but reclaimed the lost stroke and more with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15.
 
He birdied the par-5 opening hole to reach 3 under par for the championship. Stenson bogeyed the third hole, but got back to minus-3 with a 5-foot birdie putt at the fourth.
 
The Swede parred his next two holes, then closed out his round in impressive fashion. He knocked his approach to 5 feet to set up birdie at the seventh, then made it two in a row thanks to a 14-footer at the par-5 eighth.
 
A par at the ninth was enough to keep Stenson atop the leaderboard. After his somewhat startling victory last month at the Accenture Match Play Championship, more people are getting to know his name.
 
'I don't know if they have heard about me or not, but if I keep playing well I guess they will,' said Stenson, who also has a win on the European Tour this year. 'That's what I'm trying to do.'
 
Allenby also started on the second nine and flew out of the gate with back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11. He bogeyed 13, but birdies at 14 and 16 got him to 3-under at the turn.
 
He reached 4-under at the par-5 first as his second landed in a greenside bunker. Allenby blasted out to tap-in range and took the tournament lead.
 
Allenby gave himself another tap-in birdie at the fifth, but stumbled down the leaderboard at six. His approach found a bunker and his third came up 10 feet short of the stick. The Aussie missed the par save, but drained a 19-foot birdie putt at eight to join Stenson in the lead.
 
For the Aussie, the terrible conditions were like home.
 
'It's hard to control it,' admitted Allenby. 'I just tried to hit three-quarter shots pretty much most of the way in and really stay in control with the shots that I hit.'
 
Thomas Bjorn carded a 4-under 68 on Thursday and is alone in third place.
 
Aaron Baddeley, Charles Howell III and two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal are tied for fourth place at 3-under-par 69. Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Rod Pampling are knotted in seventh at minus-2.
 
K.J. Choi, Bart Bryant, Sergio Garcia, Rory Sabbatini and Tom Pernice, Jr. joined Woods in 10th place at minus-1.
 
Last week's winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Vijay Singh, only managed a 2-over-par 74 and is part of a group tied for 38th place. Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen were even worse on Thursday as they both shot rounds of 5-over-par 77 and are tied for 66th place in the 73-player field.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    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

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    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.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    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."

    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.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry