Day 54-hole leader at Byron Nelson

By Sports NetworkMay 23, 2010, 2:44 am

HP Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas – Australian Jason Day posted a 3-under 67 on Saturday to move atop the leaderboard after the third round of the Byron Nelson Championship.

Day finished at 12-under 198 and is two strokes clear at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas.

Second-round co-leader Blake Adams had an even-par 70 on Saturday and is alone in second place at 10-under 200.

Jeff Overton carded a 1-under 69 and is third at minus-9. Kenny Perry (66), Tom Pernice, Jr. (66) and Mark Hensby (64) share fourth place at 7-under 203.

Jordan Spieth, the 16-year-old amateur who became the sixth-youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event, had a 3-under 67 on Saturday and moved into a group tied for seventh at 6-under 204.

Jason Day swings golf club'I'm getting a little jumpy in between shots, I'm walking really fast, and I realize that,' said Spieth, the reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion. 'I just can't help it.'

If the youngster can throw a number on the board Sunday afternoon, he could become the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.

To do that, Spieth will have to get past another relative youngster in Day.

The 22-year-old Australian was a stroke behind at the start of the third round and immediately bogeyed the first hole. The second-round co-leaders came back to the pack so when Day made a nine-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth, he was tied for the lead at 9-under par.

Steve Elkington holed out from a bunker for an eagle and when Day made another nine-foot birdie putt, this time at No. 7, he was once again tied atop the leaderboard.

Day remained tied for the lead after three straight pars around the turn. At the short par-4 11th, Day knocked his drive up near the green and made birdie. He was alone in first at 11-under par, then saved some spectacular pars.

At the par-4 14th, Day drove into the right rough and didn't get to the green with his second. He hit an average third shot that stopped 20 feet from the hole, but he stepped up and sank the par save to stay atop the leaderboard.

Day kicked in a short birdie putt at the par-4 16th hole. That got him to 12-under par and gave him a two-shot advantage, and it looked like he would need it at the par-4 closing hole.

Day pulled his tee shot into water on the left side. He took a penalty drop and knocked his third shot to 18 feet. Day rolled in the tough par save to stay two clear.

'My chipping and my putting saved me a lot of mistakes out there,' said Day.

Day is winless on the PGA Tour, but this is the second time in two years he's held a piece of the 54-hole lead on tour. He shared top honors after three rounds of last year's Puerto Rico Open but missed a seven-foot birdie putt on the last hole to miss out on a possible playoff.

The shared second in Puerto Rico was his best finish on the PGA Tour, but he has won in a PGA Tour sanctioned event. Day captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic on the Nationwide Tour.

Spieth was joined in a tie for seventh place by American Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin (69), Arjun Atwal (64), Heath Slocum (65), Sean O'Hair (69) and D.A. Points (70).

NOTES: In honor of the 16-year-old Spieth's performance this week, officials announced that anyone 16 or under will be allowed into the tournament for free on Sunday...Defending champion Rory Sabbatini struggled to a 3-over 73 on Saturday and fell into a tie for 29th at 2-under par.

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.'"


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


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."

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.