Europe Takes Two Point Lead on Day 1

By Sports NetworkSeptember 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- Colin Montgomerie holed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to earn a half and give the Europeans a two-point lead after Friday at the 36th Ryder Cup.
The European side, the two-time defending champion and winner of four of the last five Ryder Cups, is ahead 5-3 at a soggy K Club. Rain came down several different times, but play was never halted.
Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie reacts to his match-tying putt on the 18th hole Friday afternoon.
Montgomerie and Lee Westwood birdied the last to earn a half against Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco in Friday's final match of the foursomes, or alternate-shot session.
Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk got the Americans on the board Friday morning with a fourball victory, but struggled late in their foursomes match. They lost the final two holes to give Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald a 2-up victory.
'I did struggle in probably the first six, seven holes in the morning,' admitted Woods. 'But I got it turned around and hit some really good shots, and this afternoon, I actually hit it pretty good.'
Not all of the news late in Friday's matches was bad for the Americans. Chad Campbell and Ryder Cup rookie Zach Johnson birdied the last three holes to earn a halve against Irishmen Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley.
Friday's other foursomes match featured another close contest. David Toms and Stewart Cink birdied the 15th hole, then held on for pars as they halved their match against David Howell and Henrik Stenson, who came off the European bench Friday afternoon.
In the morning fourballs, the European side grabbed a 2 1/2 - 1 1/2 lead. Woods and Furyk toppled Harrington and Montgomerie, 1-up.
Cink and rookie J.J. Henry fought back to earn a half against Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson, while Garcia and fellow countryman Jose Maria Olazabal dispatched Toms and Brett Wetterich, 3 and 2.
In the final fourball match, Darren Clarke, competing in the Ryder Cup a little over a month after losing his wife Heather to cancer, teamed with good friend Westwood to best Mickelson and DiMarco, 1-up.
'I'm obviously very, very pleased that I got a point, that Lee and I have got a point for the team,' said Clarke. 'It was always going to be a big morning for me. I said I'll get myself through this week, and so far I think I've done that pretty well.'
As difficult as it is to be trailing, the American team can take solace in one thing. At this point in 2004, at home, the U.S. trailed 6 1/2 - 1 1/2 en route to the worst loss in history, an 18 1/2 - 9 1/2 drubbing.
'Obviously there were a lot of tight matches,' said American captain Tom Lehman. 'We didn't make a lot of putts. That would be the one thing that I would say was the difference in the day between the two teams. I felt like our team hit a lot of good putts, but didn't make many. The European team definitely made the putts they needed to when they had to.'
In what turned out to be the final match on the course, Montgomerie and Westwood took the lead with a birdie at the 13th. Mickelson and DiMarco only needed par at 14 to square the match, but took a 1-up lead with a birdie at the par-5 16th.
DiMarco had the honor on the tee at the difficult 17th and drove well right of the fairway. Mickelson hit a spectacular approach that landed on the green and the two posted a two-putt par that halved the hole.
At the par-5 last, DiMarco hit the team's second into a greenside bunker. Montgomerie ripped a 3-wood on to the front portion of the putting surface. Westwood ran his long eagle putt 6 feet past the hole, while Mickelson blasted out 10 feet short of the stick.
DiMarco missed his birdie try, but Montgomerie did not.
Mickelson and DiMarco weren't the only highly-tauted American team that played poorly in foursomes. Woods and Furyk, the only U.S. winners in the morning against Montgomerie and Harrington, double-bogeyed the first when Furyk's drive landed against a tree and never took the lead from there.
They were 2-down when Donald drained a birdie putt at the 12th, but Woods and Furyk, ranked first and third in the world, respectively, clawed back. Furyk holed a long birdie putt at 13, then Woods knocked the team's tee ball stiff at the par-3 14th. The Europeans had a birdie look, but missed and conceded the Americans birdie to tie the match.
At the par-4 17th, Furyk missed a 10-foot birdie putt and lost the hole since Garcia hit the team's approach inside 3 feet. The Europeans were armed with a 1-up lead heading to the final tee.
Woods drove into the fairway, but Furyk hit a hybrid-club left into the water. That allowed the Europeans to win the 18th with a par and walk off with a 2-up victory.
'I hit the ball way on the toe and made a poor swing from over the top,' said Furyk, referring to his errant shot at 18. 'So I have no excuse there. I made a bad swing.'
In the opening foursomes match, the Americans had plenty of chances for birdies, but could not get the flat stick working. That is, until late in the match.
Campbell and Johnson were 2-down with three holes to play and at the par-5 16th, Johnson reached the green in two and Campbell lagged it down to 2 feet. Johnson tapped in the birdie putt to cut the deficit to 1-down.
Johnson rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt at the 17th, but McGinley followed him in the hole from 9 feet to halve the hole. At the 18th, Harrington drove into the right rough and McGinley had to lay up with the team's second. Johnson put the Americans on in two and it came down to short games.
Harrington put the team's third over the green, but McGinley chipped to concession range. The Irish duo made par, but Campbell ran the eagle putt 4 feet past the hole. Johnson calmly stroked home the birdie to win the hole and halve the match.
'It's obviously disappointing. The boys finished well,' acknowledged Harrington. 'They finished birdie, birdie, birdie, which is what was asked. They certainly deserved a halve, even though we feel a little bit disappointed with the halve.'
Cink and Toms birdied the second to win the hole, but the Europeans birdied three to square the match. Europe remained ahead through most of the match and when Howell's drive found water at 15, the match was even.
Both teams had birdie looks at 18. Toms' 25-footer lipped out of the hole, but Howell narrowly missed his birdie putt to end the match in a halve.
Related Links:
  • Ryder Cup Scoring
  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder Cup Matches
  • Getty Images

    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

    After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

    Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

    The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

    Getty Images

    Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

    Getty Images

    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

    Getty Images

    LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

    The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

    The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

    The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

    The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.