Elder Moves Three Clear

By Sports NetworkJuly 31, 2004, 4:00 pm
WICHITA, Kan. -- Brad Elder fired a 4-under 67 on Saturday to grab a three-stroke lead through three rounds of the Wichita Open. Elder completed 54 holes at 14-under-par 199.
Anthony Painter carded the round of the day as he shot a 7-under 64. That moved him into a tie for second place at 11-under-par 202, where he was joined by Erik Compton (66) and Darron Stiles (69).
Elder started his round one shot behind overnight leader Keoke Cotner. Elder picked up his first birdie at the par-3 fifth at Crestview Country Club and came back to chip in for birdie at the eighth, also a par-3.
A two-time winner in the 1999 season, Elder then stumbled to a bogey at the par-4 ninth. He atoned for the error with a birdie at the par-4 11th.
Elder moved to 13 under with a birdie at the par-4 13th. However, 13 was unlucky for Elder as he bogeyed the par-3 17th to drop back to minus-12. He reached the par-5 18th in two shots and converted the eagle try for a three-shot cushion entering the final round.
'The eagle was important, but I just wanted to make sure I was in the final group,' said Elder. 'I haven't been in this position in a while. It is all about going out there and trying to score the best you can and that is what I did. The wind picked up and there were some great pins and I wasn't hitting the ball well.'
Painter stumbled out of the gate with a bogey at the first. He then ran off three straight birdies from the second. He birdied the eighth and 11th to get to 8 under.
The 39-year-old Painter dropped in back-to-back birdies from the 15th and closed with a birdie at the last to move into a tie for second place.
Compton opened with consecutive birdies from the second. He then dropped a stroke at the sixth. After four pars in a row, Compton birdied three of four holes from the 11th to jump to 10 under. He birdied the 17th to get into a share of second.
'I'm just blessed to be out here,' said Compton, who had a heart transplant at the age of 12. 'I'm glad to be back in contention again. I know my game is in good shape. I'm just trying to play as well as I can, no matter where I'm playing.'
Stiles, a three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, picked up one lone birdie over his first 13 holes. He got to 11 under with a birdie on the par-5 14th. Stiles bogeyed the 17th, but closed with a birdie at the last to return to minus-11.
Cotner only managed a 1-over-par 72 on Saturday. He shares fifth place at 10-under-par 203 with 2004 Chattanooga Classic winner Justin Bolli, Stephen Gangluff and David Hearn.
Jason Buha, Gavin Coles, Sean Murphy, Victor Schwamkrug, Chris Tidland, Johnson Wagner and Jimmy Walker, a two-time winner this season, are one stroke further back at minus-9.
Jeff Klauk, the defending champion, posted his second straight round of 1-under 70 to move into a share of 38th place at 5-under-par 208.
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    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."

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    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."

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    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."

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    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.