Amateur Increases Lead in Australia

By Sports NetworkNovember 24, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 MasterCard MastersMELBOURNE, Australia - Aaron Pike, a 21-yard-old amateur from Australia, struggled late, but shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to stay atop the leaderboard after the second round of the MasterCard Masters. Pike stands at 11-under-par 133 and is two ahead at Huntingdale Golf Club.
Justin Rose posted a 6-under 66 on Friday and is alone in second place at 9-under-par 135. One shot behind Rose is Kurt Barnes, who also carded a second-round 66.
Steven Bowditch (69), Tony Carolan (69), Greg Chalmers (67), Simon Khan (66)) and John Senden (68) are knotted in fourth place at 7-under-par 137.
Pike, who matched the course record on Thursday with an 8-under-par 64, parred his first two holes Friday before breaking into red figures with a birdie at the par-3 third.
At the par-5 sixth, Pike knocked his third in a bunker and only blasted out to 25 feet. He sank that birdie putt, then made birdie at the seventh to reach 11 under par for the championship.
The 21-year-old Australian parred his final two holes on the front side, then returned to the 10th, his first hole during Thursday's first round. In round one, Pike eagled the hole to fly out of the gate, but on Friday, he only managed a birdie.
Pike padded his lead with his second birdie in as many rounds at the 606-yard, par-5 14th. He got to 13 under par and owned a four-shot lead over Rose, who finished in the morning.
Things fell apart quickly for Pike down the stretch. He bogeyed both the 17th and 18th holes to see his once-strong four-stroke cushion get cut in half with half the tournament to go.
The amateur does not even seemed to be greatly impacted by his position on the leaderboard.
'Just because I'm leading or just because there might be top-20 golfers breathing down my neck I'm not going to go out there and hit a thousand balls tomorrow morning to try to get better,' said Pike, who did not even take up golf seriously until last year. 'I've shown for the first two days that I can play and if I do it again, if I shoot 11 under again, which is doable, it's going to be hard for one of those guys to run over the top of me.'
Rose played the back nine first on Friday and tallied three birdies in his first six holes. He bogeyed the 18th for the second straight day, but made the turn at 2-under-par 34.
Rose started his second nine in a similar fashion to his first nine. He birdied one, three and four, then dropped a shot at the fifth. The Englishman birdied six and nine to move into second place.
'I played the par-threes really, really well today,' Rose said. 'I made three twos, and hit iron shots close on all of those birdies so anytime you make three twos it tidies up your score pretty quick.'
Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin only managed an even-par 72 on Friday, but is alone in ninth place at 6-under-par 138.
Aaron Baddeley (71), Peter Lonard (71), James Nitties (68), Carl Suneson (71) and Peter Wilson (74) are tied for 10th place at minus-7.
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-over-par 145 and 67 players made it to the weekend. The most notable golfer who failed to make the cut was former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell. The 2005 U.S. Open winner struggled to a 1-over 73 on Friday and completed two rounds at 3-over-par 147.
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.