Appleby Off to Good Start in 2004

By Sports NetworkJanuary 8, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Stuart Appleby carded a 7-under-par 66 Thursday in breezy conditions to grab a one-shot lead after the first round of the season-opening Mercedes Championships.

Darren Clarke stands alone in second place at 6-under-par 67. Kirk Triplett, Scott Hoch and Justin Leonard share third place at 5-under-par 68.

Appleby did not get off a great start. He needed to take a penalty drop on the first hole and that led to a bogey. The Australian recovered with back-to-back birdies from the fifth to head to the back side of the par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort at 1-under.

The 32-year-old caught fire on the back nine. He rolled home a birdie at the 10th and followed by dropping a 9-iron within four feet to setup birdie at the 11th.

Appleby made it three straight as he drained a birdie from within 10 feet at the 12th. He got up-and-down for par from just off the green at the next.

He then converted consecutive birdies from the 14th to climb to 6-under. Appleby closed out his round by rolling in a 12-footer for birdie at the last.

'This is an unusual wind, very unusual. It's probably the easier wind, I think,' said Appleby, who won the Las Vegas Invitational last season. 'Not the usual wind. A little different to what we'd seen all week. I was pretty unfamiliar with it because I haven't been here for four years.'

Appleby, whose last win before Las Vegas came at the 1999 Shell Houston Open, is glad to be back at this event.

'You say it's nice, you had a good season, it's an honor to play here, it's a privilege to play here, you're playing with the best players of the previous year,' said Appleby. 'I don't think any player can deny that.'

Clarke, who won the 2003 WGC-NEC Invitational, also bogeyed the first hole when he was unable to get up-and-down for par from a greenside bunker. He ran off three straight birdies from the fourth to get to minus-two.

The Ulsterman got up-and-down for birdie on the ninth, then drained a shot from over 60 feet out from the back edge of the 10th green to climb to 4-under.

He continued his move up the leaderboard when he dropped a 4-iron within 15 feet for birdie at the 13th. At the last, Clarke two-putted for birdie to close at 6-under.

'Towards the end of last year, when I was trying to get myself into shape, my hand-eye coordination went out a little bit, I just got out of sync,' Clarke said. 'Because of that, I was not hitting the ball well.

'Having the layoff, coming back, hitting balls here, I seem to have gotten it back a little quicker than I thought. Today was very positive from that point of view, hitting the ball as well as I did, and giving myself as many chances. That's the whole reason why I'm trying to get in better shape.'

Clarke, who has dropped several pounds and quit smoking, is in as good a shape as he has ever been.

'Today walking up and down the hills, I was fine,' said Clarke. 'It was my first ever competitive round, I think, without having any nicotine in my body. That was another first. No beer, no nicotine. Don't know what's going on really.'

Fred Couples, John Huston, Davis Love III, Shigeki Maruyama and Adam Scott share seventh place at 4-under-par 69.

U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk carded a 3-under-par 70. He is joined there by Retief Goosen, Peter Jacobsen, J.L. Lewis and PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel.

Tiger Woods finished one stroke further back at 2-under-par 71 after sinking an eagle at the par-5 closing hole.

Defending champion Ernie Els birdied two of his last three holes to finish at even-par 73.
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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.”

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    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 played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

    After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

    Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

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    Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, 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.

    Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

    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 PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

    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 Course 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. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

    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.

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    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.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.