Cook Earns US Open Spot
Cook began last week ranked 63rd in the world but jumped 21 spots to No. 42 with his runner-up showing at Muirfield Village.
Monday was the deadline set by the United States Golf Association for players to make the top-50 in the world ranking. Players outside the top-50 who are not already exempt for the U.S. Open will have to earn a spot through next week's 36-hole qualifier.
Cook, 44, grabbed a spot in the British Open as well, as Monday was also the cutoff set by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the governing body of golf's oldest championship.
Cook, who hasn't played in the British Open since missing the cut in 1997, will get to tee it up at Muirfield in Scotland, the site of his second-place finish to Nick Faldo in 1992.
Faldo, on the other hand, will need to play the U.S. Open qualifier if he wants a chance to compete in his 60th consecutive major championship. The 44- year-old Englishman needed a top-two finish at the Volvo PGA Championship this past weekend, but wound up two shots out of second place in the European Tour's flagship event at Wentworth Club.
Faldo, who was 78th in the ranking, moved up to No. 62 after finishing tied for fourth.
Anders Hansen of Denmark made his first career victory a big one with a win at the Volvo PGA, but finished one spot out of the top-50 after vaulting from 141st in the world to 51st.
Charles Howell III dropped from 50th to 53rd and will have to go the qualifying route to make the field at Bethpage. Although the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year recorded three top-10s in his first five starts of 2002, he hasn't finished in the top-15 since February and has missed the cut twice in his last three events.
Tiger Woods, who was seeking his fourth straight win at the Memorial but tied for 22nd in defense of his title, remained firmly entrenched as the top-ranked player in the world, followed by Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and 2001 U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.
The recently slumping Sergio Garcia -- two missed cuts and a 73rd-place finish at the Memorial in his last three events -- stayed in the fifth position.
David Duval's tie for fourth at the Memorial marked his first top-10 of the season. The 2001 British Open champion moved up one spot to No. 6 in an exchange of positions with last year's PGA Championship winner David Toms.
Vijay Singh held on to the No. 8 spot.
Furyk climbed 14 spots to No. 9 courtesy of his two-shot win on Sunday. Chris DiMarco, who was idle this week, moved up from 11th to 10th in the world.
Colonial winner Nick Price and Ireland's Padraig Harrington both fell two spots, Price from ninth to 11th and Harrington from 10th to 12th. Davis Love III, Argentina's Angel Cabrera, Rocco Mediate and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke each slipped one slot to Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16, respectively.
Although hampered for much of this season with a bad back, Colin Montgomerie has managed to finish in the top-three in his last three starts on the European Tour. The Scot's world ranking improved four places with his move from 21st to No. 17.
Kenny Perry, Canadian lefthander Mike Weir and two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer of Germany rounded out the top-20.
Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, another winner of two green jackets at Augusta National, dropped out of the top-20 this week, as did U.S. Ryder Cup captain's pick Scott Verplank. Olazabal fell from 18th to 21st while Verplank slipped from 20th to 23rd.
Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.
It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.
Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.
Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.
“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”
The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.
“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”
Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.
Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.
Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.
''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''
It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.
''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''
Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.
''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''
After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.
''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''
He's making his first start in the event.
''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.
Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.
''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''
Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.
''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.
The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.
''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''
Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.
''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.
Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.
Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.
John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.
Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years
Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.
He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.
How rare is his missing the cut there?
The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.
The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.
The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.
Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.
Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.