Byrd Lewis Tied at John Deere

By Sports NetworkSeptember 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
SILVIS, Ill. -- Jonathan Byrd and J.L. Lewis shot matching rounds of 6-under-par 65 on Thursday to share the lead after the opening round of the John Deere Classic.
 
Chris Riley reached 6 under on his round with a birdie at the 17th but he bogeyed the last to finish one shot back at 5-under-par 66. Riley finished in a tie for third with Vijay Singh.
 
Byrd, who earned his first career victory on the PGA Tour last year at the Buick Challenge, got things started with a birdie at the par-5 second at the TPC at Deere Run.
 
He found trouble with a bogey at the very next hole but managed to recover with a remarkable stretch of golf.
 
Byrd hit a 7-iron to five feet for a birdie at the fourth and followed that up with a birdie at the fifth.
 
He then knocked his approach within a foot of the hole for a birdie at the sixth and made it four in a row after his tee shot to the par-3 seventh landed inside 12 feet.
 
'When you've got hole locations and you feel like you're hitting five or 7-irons, you feel like flying it all the way to the hole,' said Byrd. 'Being able to do that makes things a lot easier.'
 
The 25-year-old continued his fine play on the inward nine with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 10th and climbed to minus-6 with a birdie at the 17th.
 
'My attitude has been great the last month and that's all I've been trying to work on and hoping the game would follow with it, and I'm starting to hit it better,' said Byrd, whose last top-10 came at The Masters. 'It's been a struggle lately, but I'm just trying to stay patient.'
 
Lewis, whose lone PGA Tour victory came at this event in 1999, played the back nine first and jumped out of the gate with a birdie at the 10th. He then added a birdie at the 17th to reach 2 under around the turn.
 
'I think it's kind of marked my career,' Lewis said of his victory. 'That was definitely one of the best, if not the best, so I have a lot of good memories here.'
 
The 43-year-old caught fire on the front side with 15-footer for birdie at the first. Lewis then made it two in a row at the par-5 second when his third shot stopped 12 feet from the hole.
 
Lewis tallied a birdie at the sixth and dropped a lob-wedge inside eight feet for a birdie at the eighth en route to a bogey-free round.
 
'I love this golf course,' said Lewis. 'It's a great layout. When the wind is up, you have to hit it low and work it, so this golf course adds some dimensions that other golf courses don't.'
 
Singh had a strong finish with an eagle at the 17th and a birdie at the last to finish one shot off the lead.
 
'Well, you've got three days to go,' said Singh. 'You've got to be focused on what you're doing tomorrow. I'm just going to go out there and focus on what I'm doing and play a hole at a time and see what happens.'
 
Garrett Willis, Tom Scherrer, Chris Smith, Notah Begay III, Billy Mayfair, Skip Kendall, Bob Burns and Dennis Paulson tied for fifth place at 4-under-par 67.
 
Joey Sindelar, Mark Wilson, Tommy Armour III, Aaron Barber, Esteban Toledo and Jeff Maggert were one shot further back at 3-under-par 68.
 
PGA Tour money leader Davis Love III scattered three birdies and a double bogey to finish at 1-under-par 70 in a group that featured defending champion J.P. Hayes.
 
The first round was suspended due to darkness with one player, Scott Laycock, left on the course.
 
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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.