Chopra Leads Martin Two Back

By Sports NetworkJune 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
GLENVIEW, Ill. -- Daniel Chopra fired a 6-under 66 on Friday to grab a one-shot lead after two rounds of the La Salle Bank Open. Chopra stands at 10-under-par 134 through at the halfway point.
 
Victor Schwamkrug (69), Wes Short (65), Andre Stolz (65) and Tommy Tolles (67) shared second place at 9-under-par 135.
 
Chopra got going quickly at The Glen Club. He birdied the par-4 second from 18 feet out. He then notched back-to-back birdies from the par-3 fourth to get to minus-7. He later converted a 20-foot birdie putt on eight.
 
He dropped his second shot within seven feet of the cup to set up birdie at the 13th. Chopra then rolled off three straight birdies. He stuck a wedge inside eight feet at the 15th and knocked a wedge to three feet at the next.
 
Chopra capped his run of three straight birdies after hitting a 6-iron to six feet at the par-3 17th. He found big trouble at the last however. He knocked his second shot in the water and that led to a double-bogey.
 
'I couldn't help myself on the last hole,' said Chopra. 'It was downwind and I had 225 yards to carry the water. The wind just knocked it down. Then I got too cute on the next shot.'
 
The double-bogey at the last cost him a three-stroke advantage, but Chopra wasn't displeased.
 
'Maybe it will help having a one-shot lead,' he said. 'With a three-shot lead, you might think about protecting your lead.'
 
Schwamkrug, who is making just his second Nationwide Tour appearance of the season, had an up-and-down round. He started on the back nine and ran off three straight birdies from the 13th.
 
However, he dunked a shot in the water at 17 and that led to a double-bogey. He came right back to birdie the next to make the turn at 8-under.
 
He birdied the first and three-putted for bogey at the fourth, before sinking a four-foot eagle putt at the par-5 fifth. He later bogeyed the eighth for a round of 69.
 
Short birdied four of his first five holes before bogeying the seventh. He notched back-to-back birdies around the turn at No. 9 and 10. He closed a stellar round of 65 with birdies at the 16th and 18th.
 
Stolz started on the back nine with five straight pars. He birdied the 15th and 18th before catching fire on the front side. He notched back-to-back birdies from the second and again from the fifth. His final birdie of the round came at the par-4 eighth.
 
Tolles got going with a birdie at the fifth. He then made two in a row with birdies at Nos. 9 and 10. Tolles drained three straight birdies from the 15th, before a bogey at the last cost him a share of the lead.
 
Casey Martin is alone in sixth place at 8-under-par 136. David Branshaw, D.A. Points, Vaughn Taylor, Bo Van Pelt and Zach Johnson are one stroke further back at minus-7.
 
The cut line fell at 2-under-par 142 with 69 players surviving to play on the weekend.
 
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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 Web.com 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.


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    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.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

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    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."