Battle Heating Up in the Desert

By Sports NetworkJanuary 18, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicPALM DESERT, Calif. --Robert Gamez birdied his last two holes and shot a 5-under 67 Friday to take sole possession of the lead after three rounds at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
 
Gamez's back-to-back birdies moved him to 18-under 198, one shot ahead of Justin Leonard and D.J. Trahan heading into the weekend at the PGA TOUR's only five-round tournament.
 
Leonard also shot a 67 on Friday, while Trahan had a 68 to finish at 17-under 199.
 
Boo Weekley fired a 10-under 62 -- one of two 62s on the day -- to move from a tie for 34th place overnight into solo fourth. He was at 15-under 201.
 
Kenny Perry (65), Anthony Kim (67), Tim Petrovic (68) and Steve Elkington (69) were tied for fifth place at 13-under 203. Chez Reavie (67), Ben Crane (69) and Brett Rumford (69) stood another shot further back at 204.
 
Battling for the lead with Leonard and Trahan for much of the round, Gamez missed a 3-foot par putt at his 16th hole -- No. 7 at PGA West -- to fall one shot behind the clubhouse leaders.
 
But he knocked his approach to 3 feet at the eighth to set up birdie, then rolled in a 15-foot putt for another birdie at the ninth to take the lead.
 
They were his sixth and seventh birdies at PGA West, the shortest of the four courses in rotation this week.
 
'That's what you do when you play well,' Gamez, playing on a sponsor's exemption, said of bouncing back. 'I didn't let it get me down. I made a bogey -- it happens. I knew I was playing well and I could make a couple birdies coming in.'
 
Leonard also played PGA West on Friday, picking up five birdies in a flawless round that left the 2005 champion where he was overnight: one shot off the lead (Gamez and Trahan shared it).
 
'I had some chances today, but didn't really take advantage of them the way I have the rest of the week,' said Leonard, who shot a 64 Thursday at La Quinta. 'I need to make some more putts this weekend, but [winning is] doable.'
 
Leonard carded his last birdie at his 15th hole -- No. 6 -- to tie Gamez and Trahan for the lead. It was one of the many deadlocks Friday on what has been a tight leaderboard since Wednesday's first round.
 
Trahan, steadier with the putter than he has ever been, gained sole possession of the lead with a birdie on the 16th at La Quinta. But he followed that with a bogey at the 17th to drop back to 17-under.
 
After posting a 64 Thursday at SilverRock, Trahan made seven birdies and three bogeys Friday -- more errors than his other two rounds combined. But he's in good position heading to the weekend at a tournament where he missed his first two cuts.
 
'There's so many birdies being made, if you shoot 3 under you feel like you're getting left in the dust,' said Trahan. 'Even at 4 under for me today I feel like I'm going to lose a few (shots).'
 
Scott Verplank shot a 70 and led a group of four players who were tied for 12th place at 11-under 205. He was joined by Shane Bertsch (64), Stewart Cink (66) and John Merrick (67).
 
The Classic Course is the fourth in the rotation and will host the final round.
 
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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.