Clarke Gives Lonard Takes MCI Title

By Sports NetworkApril 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Peter Lonard carded a 4-over 75 on Sunday but it was enough to win the MCI Heritage. Lonard finished at 7-under-par 277 for his first career victory on the PGA Tour.
'It's something you wonder if you'll ever get to, to win, and it's a great feeling,' said Lonard.
Peter Lonard and Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke congratulates Peter Lonard on his first PGA Tour win.
Darren Clarke, who held a six-shot lead after 36-holes, was tied with Lonard heading to the final hole but an errant second shot at the 18th lead to his third double bogey of the day. Clarke closed with a 76 to join Jim Furyk, Billy Andrade and Davis Love III in a tie for second place at 5-under-par 279.
Lonard opened the tournament with a 62 at Harbour Town but lost the lead after a shaky second round. He battled back to secure a one-shot lead over Clarke with one round to play but soon found himself trailing his playing partner by four strokes on the front nine.
Clarke ran off three consecutive birdies from the first to jump to 13 under while Lonard bogeyed each of his first two holes. Clarke drained a 5-foot putt for a birdie at the fifth but Lonard managed to keep pace with a birdie of his own at the very same hole.
At the par-4 sixth, Clarke hit his tee shot into a bunker and hit out to 8 feet. He missed the par putt and dropped another shot at the par-3 seventh. Lonard then hit his tee shot to 20 feet and converted the birdie try at the seventh to move within one of Clarke at 11 under.
'I got off to a great start, thought everything was going well, and just started making some bad swings, and it went from bad to worse, and I seemed to be fighting that hook all day,' said Clarke.
Clarke's problems continued at the par-4 eighth where he hit his drive into the water en route to a double bogey and just like that Lonard was back in the lead. Lonard wasn't out of the woods, however, and dropped a shot at the ninth to join Clarke in a tie atop the leaderboard.
'I hung around the mark, and he made a couple mistakes, which isn't that hard to do here,' said Lonard. 'The birdies were hard to come by, the wind was a bit fluky, the greens were really tricky, so I was trying to hit greens in regulation and give myself a lot of opportunities.'
Clarke played his approach to 16 feet for a birdie at the par-4 12th to take a two-shot lead while Lonard bogeyed the hole. Clarke made a mess of the par-4 13th, however, for another double bogey and the wheels kept coming off as the 36-year-old bogeyed each of his next two holes two fall back to 7 under.
Lonard was having problems of his own down the stretch with bogeys at the 14th and 17th, but he was able to hang on to a piece of the lead with one hole to play.
Lonard hit a solid drive at the last and knocked his second shot to 18 feet. Clarke then gave the tournament away when his approach to the 18th missed badly to the left and found the thatch. Clarke took a drop and walked away with another double bogey while Lonard was left to celebrate his first win on the U.S. circuit.
Love, a five-time winner of this event, tallied three birdies and three bogeys for a round of 71. Furyk posted a 69 on Sunday while Andrade birdied the par-4 18th for a 68 and his share of second.
'I got off to a bad start,' said Love. 'That kind of killed me, and then I was fighting the whole rest of the way.'
Stephen Ames, Rod Pampling and Thomas Levet tied for sixth place at 4-under-par 280. Nick O'Hern was one shot further back at 3-under-par 281 after a round of 69.
Scott Verplank, Matt Kuchar and Michael Allen followed at 2-under-par 282.
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.