Cejka Leads in Home Country

By Sports NetworkMay 21, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Deutsche Bank-SAP OpenHEIDELBERG, Germany -- Germany's Alex Cejka matched his own course record Friday with an 8-under 64 and took the lead midway through the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe. He stands at 11-under-par 133 and leads by three over first-round co-leaders Gregory Havret and David Howell.
Cejka set the original mark at Golf Club St Leon-Rot in the first round of the 2002 event. Mark Pilkington and three-time champion Tiger Woods equaled the feat the same year.
'I'm very delighted today,' said Cejka, who splits time between the European Tour and the PGA Tour. 'We had an early tee time and it was still pretty calm. The first nine holes I had a great start again, but towards the end, the wind got up, it was a little bit challenging. It's nice to be on the leader board again.'
Havret and Howell each posted matching rounds of 1-under 71 to share second at 8-under-par 136.
Trevor Immelman, who also held a piece of the first-round lead, shot an even-par 72 and is tied for fourth place with Darren Clarke (67), Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Stephen Scahill (69). That group is knotted at minus-7.
Cejka started on the back nine Friday and broke into red figures in an impressive fashion. At the par-5 12th, Cejka knocked a 5-wood on to the green in two and rolled home the 20-footer for eagle.
The German tallied back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th holes then found more success at the next par-5. At No. 17, Cejka reached the green with a 3-wood and drained his 20-footer for his second eagle of the round.
'The first nine holes I had a great start again,' said Cejka, whose best finish this season on the European Tour was a tie for 14th last week at the Asian Open. 'I had two eagles - it always helps.'
Cejka continued his fine form on the front side with a 10-foot birdie putt at the first. He added another at the par-5 third when he two-putted from close to 30 feet.
Cejka bogeyed the par-4 seventh hole for the second consecutive round but he reached 11 under par at the ninth hole. He hit his approach to 4 feet and converted the short birdie putt.
The 33-year-old was fortunate even to compete this week. On Sunday, Cejka injured his leg and when he arrived at St Leon, he immediately received treatment but his leg did not respond.
'I would say if we would not be here in Germany, I don't think I would have played on Thursday,' admitted Cejka. 'But, I'm a fighter and I was trying to forget the pain and just try as hard as I can.'
Havret flew out of the gate on Friday with four consecutive birdies. He dropped a shot at the fifth, then bogeyed the par-3 12th when his 9-footer for par missed the cup.
He joined Cejka in a share of first with birdies at 15 and 17 but trouble loomed at No. 18. Havret drove into the water at the 18th and ultimately three-putted for a triple-bogey-7.
'It's quite hard for me because I lost three shots on that one hole,' said Havret, who won the Italian Open in 2001. 'I tried hard all day and did some good things but, right now, I am disappointed because of the finish. Still, golf is like that.'
Howell mixed three birdies and a bogey in his round of 71.
Defending champion Padraig Harrington shot a 4-under 68 and is tied for eighth place with Klas Eriksson (69), Anders Hansen (70), Alan McLean (72), Eduardo Romero (69) and German Marcel Siem (72). That group is knotted at 6-under-par 138.
Ernie Els was cruising toward the top of the leaderboard until he drove into heavy rough at the 17th. He advanced his ball but it stayed in heavy rough and the No. 3 player in the world left with a double-bogey-7.
'I kept it together until the 17th,' said the current No. 1 on the Order of Merit. 'That was a disaster. The wind kept getting stronger and stronger and it was a pity about the finish.'
Els posted an even-par 72 and is tied for 14th at minus-5.
The 36-hole cut fell at 2-over-par 146 and among the notable players who will miss the weekend are: Nick Faldo and Angel Cabrera (152), Colin Montgomerie (153) and Open de Sevilla winner Ricardo Gonzalez (157).
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Deutsche Bank-SAP Open
  • Full Coverage - Deutsche Bank-SAP Open
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Highlights from Tiger's Friday 71 at Honda

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

    Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

    At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. He remained there with this enthusiastic par save at the par-4 11th.

    Tiger poured in three more pars at was just two off the 3-under pace when he rinsed his tee shot at the par-3 15th, leading to a double bogey. He dropped another shot and fell to 2 over when he three-putted 16.

    But he wouldn't leave the Bear Trap without biting back. At the diabolical par-3 17th, Woods wowed the jam-packed stands with a flagged 5-iron iron and a 12-foot putt for birdie, pulling him back to plus-1 for the week.

    Woods would go on to par the closing hole, finishing off a 1-over 71 that has him 1 over for the championship, four back in a tie for 14th heading into the weekend.

    Getty Images

    Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

    Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

    It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    “I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

    After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

    Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

    “It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

    Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

    Getty Images

    Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

    In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

    Made Cut

    Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

    Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

    “What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

    Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

    #MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

    Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

    Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

    Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

    “I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told PGATour.com. “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

    The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

    During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

    “Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

    The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Web.com Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

    Stay tuned.

    Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

    The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

    On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

    That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

    Missed Cut

    West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

    J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

    Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

    But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

    Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

    It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.