Four Englishmen Lead Dunlop Masters

By Sports NetworkMay 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourWARWICKSHIRE, England -- England's David Howell carded a 3-under-par 69 Thursday to grab a share of the lead after Round 1 of the Daily Telegraph Dunlop Masters. Howell was joined atop the leaderboard by fellow countrymen Brian Davis, David Lynn and Ben Mason.
 
Defending champion Barry Lane posted a 2-under-par 70. He was joined in a tie for fifth place by Stephen Dodd, Scott Drummond, Richard Finch, Pierre Fulke, Soren Hansen, Andrew McLardy and Angel Cabrera, who shared second place behind Lane last year.
 
Howell, a member of the victorious 2004 European Ryder Cup squad, got off to a quick start as he birdied the first. He came right back with a chip-in birdie on No. 2 on the Arden Course at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club.
 
The 29-year-old Howell dropped in his third birdie putt on the par-4 fourth. The 1999 Dubai Desert Classic winner again made it two in a row as he birdied the fifth to move to 4 under. He reeled off 12 consecutive pars before stumbling to a bogey at the last when he was unable to get up and down to save par.
 
'That is a pretty good score today,' said Howell. 'I played the tough holes really well, gave myself some birdie chances, but let myself down a little on the par-5s by not hitting the fairways and laying up all the time.'
 
Davis opened with a birdie on the fourth. However, he faltered to bogeys at six and nine to make the turn at plus-1. The Englishman jumped to minus-1 thanks to an eagle on the par-5 12th.
 
The 29-year-old, who won the 2004 ANZ Championship, slipped to another bogey on the par-4 14th but Davis closed with a flurry. He drained a birdie try on the 16th and came right back with a birdie on 17.
 
Davis capped his round off in fine fashion as he chipped in for his third straight birdie on No. 18 to end at minus-3.
 
'It was a real struggle,' Davis said. 'I putted really well, but just couldn't hit it. But I managed to get my way around. It was just one of those days to hang in there.'
 
Mason got going with a birdie on the par-4 second. He moved to 2 under with a birdie on the fourth. After stumbling to a bogey on No. 6, Mason holed consecutive birdie tries from the seventh to make the turn at minus-3.
 
Around the turn, Mason climbed to 4 under with a birdie on the par-5 12th. Mason slipped back to 2 under with bogeys on the 14th and 17th. He managed to share the lead as he rolled in a 6-foot birdie putt on the closing hole.
 
Lynn was the lone leader to begin his round on the 10th tee. He struggled to a bogey on that hole, but got back to even par with a birdie on the 12th. The Englishman tripped to another bogey on the 13th.
 
The 31-year-old notched back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 to get to minus-1. Lynn again birdied consecutive holes from the third to join the leaders at minus-3. He picked up another birdie on the seventh, but stumbled to a bogey at the next to come in at 3 under.
 
Simon Khan, Peter Baker, Robert-Jan Derksen, Simon Dyson, Stephen Gallacher, Marcel Siem and Patrik Sjoland were the final players in red figures at 1-under-par 71.
 
Colin Montgomerie, the 1998 champion here, looked like he would end as one of the leaders as he went to the ninth, his last, at minus-3. However, after a lengthy delay on the tee, the Scotsman struggled to a triple bogey to finish at even-par 72.
 
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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.'"


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    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.