Beckman Holds Early Advantage

By Sports NetworkApril 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Cameron Beckman posted a 4-under-par 67 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Reigning British Open champion Ben Curtis, 50-year-old Jay Haas, Heath Slocum, Jonathan Byrd and Rod Pampling share second place after opening rounds of 3-under-par 68.
Wind and the overall difficulty of the course made scores very high on Thursday. Twenty-seven players broke par in the first round but no golfer made a significant move past the field.
'I'm really confused a lot of scores aren't better,' said Beckman, a 34-year-old from Minneapolis. 'It's a different wind than we usually have. I played here enough now to kind of know the golf course and things like that. I definitely learned some lessons that day.'
Beckman opened on the back nine at Harbour Town Golf Links and tallied three birdies in his first six holes, including a 40-footer at No. 13. He hit into a hazard on the left side and dropped a shot at the par-4 18th to make the turn at minus-2.
Beckman, whose only PGA Tour victory was the 2001 Southern Farm Bureau Classic, birdied the par-5 fifth hole to join the leaders at 3 under par.
Clutch pars down the stretch kept Beckman near the lead. He sank a 10-footer for par at the par-3 seventh but missed the fairway at No. 8. Beckman was forced to pitch out into the short grass with his second but knocked his third to 3 feet. He holed the par save to remain in a tie for first place.
At the par-4 ninth, Beckman played his second 25 feet right of the hole. He drained the birdie putt to distance himself from the logjam at 3 under and take the first-round lead in a PGA Tour event for the first time since the 2000 Michelob Championship at Kingsmill.
'I'm actually surprised that the scores are the way they are. I would never thought 4 under par,' said Beckman. 'I putted great today and it feels good.'
Curtis tallied three birdies on the front nine but three-putted for bogey on the 14th. He got within one of the lead at the 17th when he hit a 6-iron to 2 feet for a kick-in birdie.
'I'm pleased with the round,' said Curtis, who missed the cut at the Masters last week. 'You had to be very careful with your shots. I hit three or four fairways where I had to hook it or slice it around a tree just to get it on the green. You had to have a little imagination out there.'
Haas, who was near the lead after the first round at Augusta but faded throughout the tournament, was 1 over par with six holes to play on Thursday. He birdied four of his last six holes to post his 68.
Slocum was 3 under on his round but drove into the water at the 11th. He dropped and knocked his third on to the green but three-putted for a double bogey.
He rebounded with a birdie at 14, then drained a 40-footer for birdie at 16 to polish off his 68.
'I played great today,' said Slocum. 'I got off to a good start, hit a lot of fairways and the ones I missed, I missed in the right spot, which is really key out here.'
Byrd mixed four birdies and a bogey in his round on Thursday, while Pampling saw a little bit of everything in the first round. He collected an eagle, five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey for his share of second place.
Ernie Els, who finished one shot behind Phil Mickelson at last week's Masters, carded a 2-under-par 69 on Thursday and is part of a logjam in seventh place. Among the notable players tied with Els two shots off the lead are: Nick Price, Bay Hill Invitational winner Chad Campbell and BellSouth Classic champion Zach Johnson.
Davis Love III, a five-time winner and defending champion, opened with a 1-over-par 72 on Thursday.
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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.