England Sweden Wales Share Lead

By Sports NetworkNovember 18, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Algarve World Cup in PortugalVILAMOURA, Portugal -- Overnight leader and defending champion England, anchored by Luke Donald and David Howell, shot a 3-under 69 in Friday's foursomes to share the second-round lead with Sweden and Wales at the World Golf Championships - World Cup.
 
Sweden, with former Ryder Cupper Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson, and the Welsh team of Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge both shot rounds of 5-under 67 at the Victoria Clube de Golfe Course at Vilamoura.
 
Angel Cabrera
Angel Cabrera teamed with Ricardo Gonzalez to shoot an 11-under 61 in Friday's second round of the World Cup.
The trio is knotted at 16-under-par 128.
 
For most of Friday's second round, the leader was Argentina. Angel Cabrera and Ricardo Gonzalez established a new foursomes, or alternate shot, record with an 11-under-par 61.
 
That team, which topped Fiji's old record of 62 from 2002, is alone in fourth place at minus-15.
 
'When we started the round, Angel got us to 3 under,' said Gonzalez. 'You never know when the round starts. We're very happy. Sixty-one, it's unbelievable.'
 
Argentina tallied nine birdies in a row through 16 holes, but Gonzalez set the team up at the par-5 17th. He hit the team's second to 30 feet, and Cabrera rolled in the eagle putt to reach 11 under for the round.
 
Despite how well the Argentine duo played on Friday, they are still looking up at three teams.
 
England struggled on the front nine and the problem was Donald's putter. He missed a short par save at the seventh and with Argentina blowing by everyone, Donald and Howell needed to make a move.
 
Howell converted a 5-foot birdie putt at the eighth, but Donald missed a 4-footer for par at nine. The squad made birdie at 12, then caught fire down the stretch to grab its share of the lead.
 
At the par-3 16th, Donald hit the tee ball 20 feet short of the hole and Howell drained the birdie putt. Donald missed the green with the team's second at the par-5 17th, but Howell chipped to 2 feet and Donald kicked in the birdie putt.
 
Howell hit England's approach to 6 feet at the 18th. Donald ran home the birdie putt, only the fourth at the closing hole on Friday, and put the defenders in great position.
 
'To look on the bright side, we didn't play that well today, but to still have a share of the lead is encouraging,' admitted Donald, who teamed with Paul Casey to win this event last year. 'We could have let that one go.'
 
Sweden was 2 under par through 13 holes, then Fasth tapped in a short birdie try at the 14th. Sweden parred the 15th and 16th holes, then ascended up the leaderboard in the last two holes.
 
Stenson's eagle try from 40 feet at the par-5 17th missed by a foot. Fasth cleaned up the birdie to reach 15 under par. At the last, Fasth drove into a fairway bunker but Stenson knocked the team's approach to 25 feet. Fasth drained the birdie putt to make Sweden the first team to post 16 under par.
 
'We finished birdie-birdie, which is always nice, but in general, we didn't have our best day out there,' said Fasth. 'Five-under par in our foursomes, we would have taken that this morning.'
 
The Welsh duo, who were only 1 under par at the turn, parred their next five holes on the back nine. They birdied 15 and 16 to get back into the mix, and then kept it up at the end.
 
At the 17th, the team reached the green in two, then Dodd ran a 40-foot eagle putt four feet past the hole. Dredge made the birdie try, but drove into the rough at 18. Dodd ran the team's approach to 10 feet and Dredge sank the birdie putt to join the logjam in first.
 
'We knew we had a few chances coming in,' said Dredge. 'We just stayed patient and had a great finish. We were rewarded for our patience.'
 
The Netherlands posted a 5-under 67 and are alone in fifth place at minus-14. Denmark carded a 4-under 68 and have sole possession of sixth place at 12-under-par 132.
 
Germany (68), Japan (70), France (70) and Chinese Taipei (71) are tied with Australia and India for seventh place at minus-11. Australia and India shared second place after Thursday's opening round, but struggled to 1-over-par 71s.
 
The United States team of Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson only managed a two- under 70 on Friday and are part of a group tied for 14th place at 9-under- par 135.
 
Related links:
  • Scoring - Algarve World Cup

  • Full Coverage - Algarve World Cup
  • Getty Images

    Rahm, with blinders on, within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

    SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

    The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

    It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

    “It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

    Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

    According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

    “I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

    And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

    As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

    He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

    “I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

    Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

    “I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

    Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

    Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

    “If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

    Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.

    Getty Images

    Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

    After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

    With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

    “I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

    Getty Images

    Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    “I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

    “I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

    Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

    Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

    “We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

    Getty Images

    Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

    The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

    Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

    Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

    • Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

    • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

    • Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1