Donald Stays on Course Wie Gone

By Sports NetworkJanuary 12, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- The leaders will finally be taking center stage this weekend at the Sony Open.

Well, maybe.

Luke Donald shot a 4-under 66 and Paul Goydos fired a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the lead at the PGA TOUR's second event of 2007.

Michelle Wie, drawing most of the attention in her fourth Sony Open, missed the men's cut again when she closed with a 6-over 76 and finished at 14-over par -- 140th out of 142 golfers who qualified.

Late in the day, another 16-year-old Hawaiian stole the spotlight.

Tadd Fujikawa became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut at a PGA TOUR event when, improbably, the 5-foot-1 teenager fired a 4-under 66 to finish tied for 25th place at three-under 137.

The cut fell at even-par 140.

'I can't even breathe right now,' Fujikawa gushed in a TV interview after draining a 15-foot eagle putt at No. 18 -- which elicited a fist-pumping celebration from the youngster and a raucous cheer from the gallery.

Earlier, Fujikawa made a 19-foot birdie putt at the 16th hole, also pumping his fist there.

'I just love making everybody crazy,' said Fujikawa, probably best-known for becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for the U.S. Open last year.

Just four days past his 16th birthday and standing a foot shorter than the lanky Wie, Fujikawa is now the second-youngest player ever to make a PGA Tour cut. Bob Panasik was 15 years, 8 months and 20 days old when he set the record at the 1957 Canadian Open.

'I think making the cut is an awesome thing right now,' Fujikawa said. 'Having all these people here supporting me is a great thing. I wish everyone could experience what I am right now.'

Further up the leaderboard, Donald and Goydos stand at 11-under-par 129 for a two-shot lead over Chad Campbell.

Both players made runs on Waialae's last 12 holes -- Donald with four birdies during that stretch and Goydos with seven, including five straight from No. 7.

While both birdied the 18th, Donald was just inches short of an eagle that would have given him sole possession of the lead. His 66 was a step back from the 63 he fired to take the lead on Thursday.

'It was a very different round today,' Donald said. 'I was really struggling for a bit, was making a lot of putts for par's sake...But I was happy with the way I played the last six holes.'

Campbell had a bogey-free 65 and held the clubhouse lead at 9-under 13. But Donald and Goydos made sure it only lasted a couple of hours.

Donald birdied No. 8 to pull within one shot of Campbell, then went on a run of six straight pars.

Goydos, meanwhile, tied Campbell for the lead with a stretch of five consecutive birdies, capped by a 50-foot chip-in at the 11th.

Donald moved ahead, though, with a 10-foot birdie putt at the 15th and a 7-foot birdie putt at the 16th. He reached 11-under and took a two-shot lead with his tap-in birdie at the 18th.

'To finish strongly like that was a nice bonus,' Donald said.

But still, Goydos wouldn't go away. Moments after Donald finished, Goydos rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt back at No. 15 to get within one shot. He remained within striking distance by saving par from 15 feet at the 16th.

Then, at the 18th, Goydos found the right rough with his second shot and made a bad chip to just 19 feet. He made the long putt to join Donald in the lead.

'I caught a good lie and stubbed it,' he said of his chip. 'But putting cures all ills.'

Indeed, Goydos ranks first in putting through two rounds after he was just 138th in putting on tour last season.

'If I can get the putting figured out, I might be all right,' Goydos said. 'It helps.'

Campbell went out in an early group and chipped in for two of his five birdies. His first chip-in, at the par-4 second, came from about 25 feet. The second came from 15 feet at the 12th, also a par four.

'Anybody can do that,' he joked.

Wie was joking a little after her round, too, but more out of frustration. After opening with a 78 Thursday, she bogeyed four of her first seven holes Friday and made just two birdies to go along with eight total bogeys.

'I feel like I have it in me, it's just not coming out,' Wie said. 'I'll put the clubs away for a little while now, erase all of this, and start over again.'

Charles Howell III matched Goydos and Donald for the round of the tournament with a 63 and stands fourth at 8-under 132. One stroke further back, 1996 champion Jim Furyk (68) shares fifth place with Robert Allenby (66) and Will MacKenzie (68).

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.