Dodd Assumes Lead in Ireland

By Sports NetworkMay 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
MAYNOOTH, Ireland -- Stephen Dodd posted a 2-under 70 on Friday to take first after two rounds of the Irish Open. He stands at 5-under-par 139 and leads by one at Carton House Golf Club.
Nick Dougherty, one of two co-leaders after the first round, managed an even-par 72 and is tied for second place with David Howell (70), Bradley Dredge (68) and Pelle Edberg (68). The group is knotted at 4-under-par 140.
Heavy rain and high winds blew through the Colin Montgomerie-designed Carton House. The course has been called difficult by most in the field, so the combination of weather and narrow fairways made scoring very tough.
Dodd wasted little time in getting into red figures. He birdied the second hole, a hole he bogeyed on Thursday, but dropped shots at five and seven. Dodd closed his front nine with a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at even-par 36.
The Welshman made it two in a row with a birdie at the 10th, a hole he has birdied both rounds. Unfortunately, he bogeyed the 11th for the second time in as many days to fall to 3 under for the tournament.
The 38-year-old birdied the 13th and had a great look at birdie at the par-5 15th. Dodd's 4-foot birdie putt missed the hole, but he grabbed sole possession of the lead at Carton House's par-5 closing hole.
Dodd had a tree in his way for his second shot, but his third stopped six feet from the hole. He converted the birdie try to move clear of the logjam and grab the second-round lead.
Dodd has been enjoying the most success of his career in the 2005 season. He won the season-opening China Open, then tied for second at the Dubai Desert Classic.
All totaled, Dodd has four top-10s, including two in his last three starts. The success has translated into more confidence on the golf course.
'It's been a great six months obviously,' said Dodd. 'I had a good finish to the end of last season, and it gave me a lot of confidence. So did the start of this year, obviously, and I could not have asked for it to go any better.
'I just think I'm a lot more confident now about the way I approach things. I'm not saying I hit the ball any better because I probably don't. I think I do things in a more confident manner now.'
Dougherty opened on the back nine and bogeyed the 16th. He collected birdies at three and five to get to minus-5, but things went downhill thanks to an errant drive at seven. Dougherty bogeyed the hole to fall back into a tie for second.
'It's a very difficult course. On a day like today especially when it's windy and a bit wet, it's a beast of a course,' said Dougherty. 'Level-par today and 4 under yesterday is a great start.'
Howell also began on the second nine and bogeyed two of his first three holes. He parred his next seven until three birdies in a row from the second and a birdie at seven moved him into a share of second.
'Things are going well for me,' said Howell, who lost in a playoff last week to Thomas Bjorn at the Dunlop Masters. 'I know my game's in pretty good shape.'
Dredge mixed seven birdies and three bogeys for his 68, while Edberg tallied six birdies and two bogeys.
European Ryder Cupper Paul McGinley and Philip Golding each carded rounds of 3-under 69 and are tied for sixth place at 3-under-par 141.
Jose-Filipe Lima posted a 1-under 71 and is alone in eighth at minus-2.
Klas Eriksson shared the lead with Dougherty after the opening 18, but struggled to a 4-over 76. He joined Montgomerie and Lee Westwood in a group tied for 18th at even-par 144.
Defending champion Brett Rumford shot his second consecutive 73 and is tied for 39th at plus-2.
The 36-hole cut fell at 4-over-par 148 and Michael Campbell (149) and Graeme McDowell (149) failed to advance to the weekend.
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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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 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.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    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."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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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."