Bryant Cruises to First Victory

By Sports NetworkSeptember 19, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Valero Texas OpenSAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Bart Bryant cruised to a 3-under 69 Sunday to pick up his first career PGA Tour title at the Texas Open. Bryant completed the event at 19-under-par 261.
'I really wasn't letting myself think about what a win would mean,' said Bryant, who earned $630,000 for the win. 'I was really focused on the present, and I don't know if it'll sink in until tonight or tomorrow what this win is going to mean for me.'
Patrick Sheehan closed with a 66 to take second place at 16-under-par 261. Dean Wilson, the second round leader, also posted a final-round, 4-under 66 to share third place at 15-under-par 265. He was joined there by Todd Fischer, who carded a closing 67.
Bryant opened the final round with a three-stroke cushion. After pars at the first two holes, he dropped in a birdie at the par-3 third at LaCantera.
The 41-year-old Bryant settled in with six straight pars to close his opening nine. He parred the 10th before draining his second birdie at the par-4 11th.
Bryant parred Nos. 12 and 13. He collected his third birdie at the par-5 14th. The New Mexico State graduate coasted to his first win as he parred his final four holes as he played the final 49 holes of the tournament without carding a bogey.
'My ball-striking has always been the thing that's carried me through. This week it was a little above average,' said Bryant. 'I hit the ball extremely well. Then I had that one day where I putted awfully well. I didn't miss anything Saturday.
'That seemed to be the thing that put me over the top. I had that one low round, and that's what I've been missing this year to have a real good tournament, and I finally got that.'
Bryant, along with his brother Brad, join three other sets of brothers to have won on the PGA Tour. The other winning brother combinations were Curt and Tom Byrum, Dave and Mike Hill, and Lionel and Jay Hebert.
Bart Bryant is playing the season on a major medical extension. He has had surgeries on both elbows and his shoulder since being an exempt player in 1992.
Sheehan opened with back-to-back birdies from the second. He moved to 4 under for his round with birdies at the eighth and 11th. Sheehan briefly moved to 17-under when he birdied the 14th. However, he faltered to his lone bogey at the par-4 16th.
'I played extremely well this week, every day,' Sheehan said. 'I think I had three bogeys for the week, and they all happened to be three putts, but when you can go a week with that little amount of mistakes, it should be a good week. I mean, I played fantastic.'
Jerry Kelly and Ted Purdy closed with rounds of 5-under 65 to finish at 14-under-par 266. They were joined in a tie for fifth place by Hunter Mahan (69), Tim Clark (68) and J.J. Henry (68).
Justin Leonard, J.L. Lewis, Scott Simpson and Heath Slocum were one stroke further back at minus-13. Tommy Armour III, the 2003 champion, finished in a tie for 41st at 6-under-par 274.
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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

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    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."