Appleby Flesch Lowest of the Low

By Sports NetworkOctober 8, 2003, 4:00 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Stuart Appleby birdied each of his last six holes Wednesday en route to a 10-under-par 62 to share the lead with Steve Flesch after the opening round of the Las Vegas Invitational.
Dan Forsman also had a strong finish that helped him to a round of 9-under-par 62 at the TPC at The Canyons, a par-71 layout and one of three courses in rotation this week. Forsman was joined by Darren Clarke, Aaron Barber, Craig Barlow and John Senden in a tie for third.
Appleby, who has two runner-up finishes in each of his last two starts on the PGA Tour, started the five-day, marathon event with a pair of birdies over his first three holes at Southern Highlands Golf Club.
The Australian ran home a 30-foot putt for an eagle at the par-5 ninth to reach 4 under around the turn but it wasn't until the inward half that Appleby did his damage.
At the par-5 13th, Appleby picked up his first of six consecutive birdies to surge to the top of the leaderboard.
'I never had a finish like that,' said Appleby, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. 'I have never finished with six birdies. I have had six birdies in a round before. I guess I ran out of holes. I wonder if I could have gone another hole.'
Flesch, who earned his first career victory on the PGA Tour at the HP Classic of New Orleans earlier this year, played the back nine first under lift, clean and place at Southern Highlands and opened with five consecutive birdies from the 10th.
He stumbled with a bogey at the par-4 15th but responded with a birdie at the par-3 17th.
Flesch continued his fine play on the front side with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-four first.
The 36-year-old drained an 18-foot putt for a birdie at the fifth and hit a sand-wedge inside eight feet for a birdie at the very next hole. Flesch then closed his round with a birdie at the par-5 ninth for his share of the lead.
'Knowing how this week is, especially without any wind you know it is going to be a shootout,' said Flesch. 'In an event like this you just have to keep the pedal to the medal.'
Barber, who could use a strong finish this week towards keeping his card for the 2003 season, birdied six of his first nine holes and added three birdies on the back nine for a 63 at Southern Highlands.
'I am really excited about the next two days to try and keep it going well,' said Barber.
Chad Campbell, who finished second at the PGA Championship, tallied six birdies and an eagle for a bogey-free round of 64 at the TPC at Summerlin.
'It was a good start. It is what I was looking for in this tournament,' said Campbell. 'You have to make a lot of birdies here if you want to have a chance to win.'
Campbell was joined by Charles Howell III, Russ Cochran, Jeff Brehaut, Bob Burns, Tim Petrovic and Rich Beem in a tie for eighth at 8 under par.
Jerry Kelly, Mark Wilson, Deane Pappas and Scott Verplank were one shot further back at minus-7.
U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, who has had tremendous success at this event with three wins, shot a 65 at the TPC at The Canyons to finish in a group at 6 under par.
Phil Mickelson was one shot further back in a tie for 33rd at minus-5.
Related Links:
  • Full-field scores from the Las Vegas Invitational
  • Full coverage - Las Vegas Invitational
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.