Garcia Grabs Rd 1 Lead in Charlotte

By Sports NetworkMay 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sergio Garcia fired a 6-under-par 66 on Thursday to take a two-shot lead after the first round of the Wachovia Championship.
Defending champion Joey Sindelar, who picked up his first PGA Tour victory since 1990 when he defeated Arron Oberholser in a playoff last year, shot a 4-under 68. He is tied for second place with Kenny Perry, Richard Johnson and Patrick Sheehan at Quail Hollow Club.
Tiger Woods returned to the tour after a three-week absence following his fourth Masters title. He shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for 10th place.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods battled a tough course to post of 2-under 70 in the first round of the Wachovia Championship.
'It was windy, swirly and very difficult today,' said Woods. 'It was tough to get the ball close. The greens, even though there was a little bit of rain, they were still pretty quick. You had to try to stay below the hole if you could.'
Woods fell to even-par on his round after mistakes on his second nine, the front nine at Quail Hollow. At the par-3 sixth, Woods missed long and right and never recovered for par. One hole later, Woods hit a poor second shot and took another bogey at the par-5 hole.
But the No. 1 player in the game rebounded. He closed with a pair of birdies to get into the mix after round one.
He will be chasing Garcia, who began his first round on the second nine.
Garcia hit a 4-iron into a greenside bunker at the par-5 10th but blasted out to a foot and tapped in for birdie. He made it two in a row at the 11th when his 5-footer found the bottom of the cup.
At the short, par-4 14th, the Spaniard came up short of the green with his drive. He chipped with a 7-iron and nearly holed out, but settled for a tap-in birdie. Garcia two-putted from 30 feet for birdie at the 15th, then made it three in a row at 16 when he ran home a 9-footer.
Garcia hit a 6-iron to 16 feet to set up birdie at the 18th and polish off his opening nine in 30.
'I started really well with a couple of birdies, hit it really close, and I just kept it going,' said Garcia. 'I hit a lot of greens. I think I only missed one green, the first green, because I hit a wayward drive.'
Garcia hit a poor drive at one and took bogey. At the second, Garcia hit a solid 8-iron inside 20 feet and his birdie try lipped out of the hole. Unfortunately, Garcia's 3-footer for par also missed so the 25-year-old fell into a share of the lead at minus-4.
Garcia's tee ball at the par-5 fifth ran through the fairway and he was unable to get a 3-wood on to the green. He hit a sandwedge for his third and the ball stopped 15 feet from the cup, where he drained the putt.
He had a great look at birdie on the par-5 seventh, but his eagle try from 35 feet ran 5 feet past the hole. Garcia missed that one, then missed an 8-foot birdie chance at the eighth.
Garcia closed his round at the difficult ninth hole. He had 211 yards for his second and hit a 5-iron to 5 feet. Garcia converted the birdie putt to take a two-shot lead, despite missing several makeable chances.
'Don't get me wrong, I'm not disappointed. I'm happy about the round, happy about the score,' said Garcia. 'I probably only got 60 percent out of the round, so it could have been a lot better. But I'm still really happy about the way I played.'
Sindelar made the turn at even-par, but rattled off five birdies in a six-hole span to get to minus-5. He made a mess of the 18th with a terrible drive and a skulled 3-wood for his second. The defending champion also needed a 3-wood for his third shot, then two-putted from 30 feet for a bogey.
'This has been incredibly special for me,' admitted Sindelar. 'It has certainly defined, if not my career, at least the second half of my career. It thrills me to come back in here reporting reasonable success the first day. It was very important to me. And I'm not very good when I make it too important.'
Jim Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, would have been alone in second place at 5-under par, but double bogeyed the 18th. He posted a 3-under 69 and is tied for sixth place with Andrew Magee, Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik.
Woods was joined in 10th by world No. 2 Vijay Singh, Players Champion Fred Funk, Ryan Palmer, Bart Bryant, Per-Ulrik Johansson and Tag Ridings.
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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.