Frazar Leads Els at Sony

By Sports NetworkJanuary 17, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- Harrison Frazar birdied his final three holes Saturday en route to a four-under 66 and the third-round lead of the Sony Open in Hawaii. He stands at 14-under-par 196 and owns a one-shot lead over the defending champion Ernie Els, who also carded a 66 on Saturday.
 
Davis Love III took advantage of the benign conditions in the third round and fired a seven-under 63. He is tied for fourth place with Frank Lickliter, who shot a 65, at 12-under-par 198.
 
Michelle Wie, the 14-year-old who missed the cut by a stroke on Friday, was on the course reporting Saturday but the third round was all about the tournament and who would take the upper hand.
 
Frazar dropped a shot at the 13th hole to fall to 11-under par for the tournament. He sank a 15-footer for birdie at the 16th, then knocked his tee ball to 12 feet to set up his second consecutive birdie at the par-three 17th hole.
 
At the par-five closing hole at Waialae Country Club, Frazar missed the green with his second shot. From a collection area left of the green, Frazar chipped to two feet, then kicked in the birdie putt to go one ahead of the 2002 winner, Els.
 
'I felt like I was hitting it good enough to make some birdies,' said Frazar. 'I missed a couple of shots early. I got a little lazy. I didn't get too discouraged. There were plenty of holes left.'
 
Frazar opened with a bogey at the second hole but tallied three birdies in a six-hole span around the turn, including a birdie at the 12th. At the 13th, Frazar hit a solid iron shot but hit it in a bad spot and made bogey.
 
Frazar's birdie tear gave him the 54-hole lead for the fourth time on the PGA Tour and the first since last year's Phoenix Open. Even though he has held the lead with one round to go, Frazar has never visited the winner's circle since joining the tour in 1998.
 
'We've got another day to take care of before we can worry about the trophy,' conceded Frazar. 'Ernie's playing well as is Davis and Frank. It'll be fun tomorrow.'
 
Perhaps Frazar's biggest obstacle in getting victory No. 1 will be Els. The 2002 champion and No. 3 player in the world was only one-under after his first nine holes but got it going on the second nine.
 
Els birdied 12 from eight feet and 14 from almost 20 feet, then stuffed his tee shot to three feet at the par-three 17th. He tapped in the birdie putt to go to 13-under and seemed poised to go to 14-under with the reachable, par- five 18th to play.
 
Els drove into the right rough and played his second 50 yards short of the putting surface. The three-time major winner chunked a chip that failed to reach the green and instead he got up and down for par.
 
'I've got a chance,' said Els, who can become the first player to successfully defend his title at this event since Corey Pavin in 1987. 'And I've got to take my chance when I get it.'
 
Love holed out for an eagle and collected five additional birdies to get into position for his first victory at this event.
 
'I had some good things happen,' said Love, who shares the 18-hole record at this tournament with a 60 in 1994. 'It was one of those rounds that could have been a lot better, or it could have been a lot worse.'
 
Lickliter was in command throughout the tournament thanks to seven birdies and only one bogey in his first 11 holes. His birdies at the fifth and seventh holes each came from putts longer than 50 feet.
 
Things fell apart for Lickliter late in the round. At the 16th, Lickliter drove into the rough on the left and failed to save par. He landed in a greenside bunker at No. 17 and blasted out to three feet. Lickliter's trusty putter turned on him as he missed the short par-saving putt.
 
He stayed in the hunt thanks to a five-foot birdie at the 18th.
 
Paul Azinger, the 2000 champion, posted a four-under 66 and is tied for fifth place with second-round leader Stephen Allan. Allan only managed an even-par 70 and shares fifth with Azinger at 11-under-par 199.
 
Briny Baird shot a 66 on Saturday and is alone in seventh at minus-10.
 
Former U.S. Open champions Retief Goosen (65) and Corey Pavin (65) are tied with Stephen Ames (65), Craig Barlow (66) and John Riegger (67). The group is knotted at nine-under-par 201.
 
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

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    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."