Defending Champs Tied for Lead

By Sports NetworkNovember 13, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Franklin Templeton ShootoutNAPLES, Fla. -- Defending champions Jeff Sluman and Hank Kuehne teamed to shoot a blistering 10-under 62 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead after the second round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
 
Sluman and Kuehne finished at 18-under-par 126 along with Steve Flesch and Justin Leonard, who combined to post a 63 in the better-ball format at Tiburon Golf Club.
 
Tournament host Greg Norman and Scott McCarron where joined by the duo of Mark Calcavecchia and Loren Roberts at 15-under-par 129. The father and son pairing of Jay Haas and Bill Haas followed at 14-under-par 130 after a round of 61.
 
Under the better-ball format on Saturday, each player played through on every hole and the best score on each hole was counted. Sluman took advantage and did most of the damage, but Kuehne had some contributions of his own.
 
'My strengths and Jeff's strengths match up well,' said Kuehne. 'We're able to work well together as a team.'
 
Sluman and Kuehne were one shot back to start the day and battled to keep pace with their challengers. At the par-4 11th, Kuehne dropped his second shot inside 13 feet and ran home the birdie putt to get to 12 under.
 
Sluman played his tee shot to 6 feet at the par-3 12th and converted the putt for another birdie. Sluman was just as good with the short stick at the following hole, draining a 20-footer for a birdie at the 13th to get his team to 14 under. He then continued his fine play with birdies on the next two holes.
 
Kuehne rolled in a 15-footer for a birdie at the par-5 17th to get his team within one of the lead. Moments after Sluman dropped his approach to the par-4 18th inside 9 feet, Kuehne stuck his second shot right beside Sluman's and sank the birdie try to grab a share of the lead heading into Sunday's scramble.
 
Leonard picked up a quick birdie at the second and Flesch followed with a birdie at the very next hole. Flesch then chipped in for a birdie at the par-3 fifth to move to minus-12.
 
Leonard drained a lengthy birdie putt at the 11th and ran off three consecutive birdies starting at the par-4 13th. Flesch then knocked his tee shot inside 15 feet for a birdie at the 16th and two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 17th.
 
'Justin's birdie at No. 11 got us going,' said Flesch. 'That was big.'
 
Flesch had a 10-foot putt at the last to give his team sole possession of first, but was unable to convert.
 
Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry are six shots back at 12-under-par 132. John Daly and Rory Sabbatini shared seventh place with Paul Azinger and Olin Browne at 11-under-par 133. Steve Elkington and Rocco Mediate were two shots further back at 9-under-par 135.
 
Nick Faldo and Fred Funk tied for 10th place with Charles Howell III and Lee Janzen at 8-under-par 136. Chad Campbell and Chris Riley rounded out the field at 7-under-par 137.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.