GBI Continue to Roll in Spain

By Sports NetworkNovember 7, 2003, 5:00 pm
VALENCIA, Spain -- Lee Westwood and partner David Howell powered to a 5-and-3 victory over Thomas Bjorn and Sergio Garcia on Friday to lead the Great Britain & Ireland team to a 6 1/2 - 3 1/2 lead over Continental Europe after two days of the Seve Trophy.
 
Brian Davis and Paul Casey knocked off Continental Europe's Ignacio Garrido and Miguel Angel Jimenez for the second straight day, this time by the score of 2-up. Justin Rose and Ian Poulter got into the win column with a 3-and-1 conquest over Jose Maria Olazabal and Continental European captain Seve Ballesteros.
 
The Continental European team picked up a pair of wins on Friday. Raphael Jacquelin and Alex Cejka downed GB&I captain Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie. Fredrik Jacobson and Niclas Fasth overcame a strong back nine by Padraig Harrington to defeat he and partner Phillip Price, 1-up.
 
'Overall I am very satisfied with the way things are going,' said Montgomerie. 'My own personal results do not matter so much, just as they don't in the Ryder Cup. This is a team competition and the team winning is the main objective.
 
'I have a good set of lads here with me this week and I now have a problem because they are all buzzing and I will have to leave a couple out for tomorrow morning's greensomes matches and tomorrow afternoon's fourballs.'
 
Ballesteros knows his squad has not played their best, but still has three sets of matches to overcome their deficit.
 
'The day did not quite go as I had expected or hoped for but there are eight points to play for tomorrow,' said Ballesteros. 'These are important because I really think we need to get at least a couple of points back overall. I don't want to go into the singles on Sunday three points behind because I think that might be a little too much.'
 
Westwood birdied the first to grab a fast 1-up lead, but Garcia responded with a birdie on the par-5 third to square the match. Westwood, who also halved the second hole with a birdie, drained an eagle on No. 5 to regain a 1-up lead.
 
Howell then took over. He halved Garcia with a par on the sixth, then birdied the following two holes to give the English duo a 3-up lead. Westwood came back with birdies on the ninth and 11th to extend their lead to 5-up.
 
Garcia attempted to rally his duo from a 5-down disadvantage as he birdied the 14th. That was all he could do though, as Westwood sank his fifth birdie of the day on No. 15 to close out the 5-and-3 victory for the Englishmen. Bjorn has won just one hole over his first two matches.
 
'We have fitted well as a team, David has stepped in when I am not in the hole and vice versa, and as a result we are always going to be hard to beat playing like that,' said Westwood. 'We did the right things at the right time and that is what match play is all about.'
 
Montgomerie and Lawrie, who earned a 1/2 point on Thursday, grabbed a quick 2- up lead as Lawrie birdied the second before Monty birdie No. 3. Cejka closed the gap to 1-down with a birdie on the sixth.
 
The two teams each parred five consecutive holes around the turn. Jacquelin notched his first win of the day by birdieing the par-3 12th. Cejka then birdied each of the next two holes to give his duo a 2-up lead.
 
Two down with two holes to go, Monty and Lawrie both dropped their tee shots within 10 feet of the cup at the par-3 17th at Campo de Golf Parador El Saler. Lawrie's birdie try to extend the match did not fall and it was all up to Montgomerie.
 
His birdie effort lipped out giving the Continental European duo of Cejka and Jacquelin a 2-and-1 win.
 
'After yesterday's win, Seve asked us if we would like to play together again today and I told him we would,' Cejka said. 'We play well together, we get on well together and as a result we make a pretty good team.'
 
Davis and Casey took a 1-up lead on the second hole when Davis rolled in a birdie. The match then became a see-saw. Jimenez won the seventh to even the match, but Davis won the ninth to regain a 1-up lead.
 
Garrido evened the match again with a birdie on No. 10. Casey responded with a birdie at the very next hole and Jimenez squared the match with a birdie on the 13th.
 
Casey took over down the stretch. He halved the 15th with a birdie, then holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the 17th for a 1-up lead. Needing only to halve the final hole, Casey closed out the match in style with his sixth birdie of the day and a 2-up conquest.
 
'That shot at the 17th came just at the right time because I hadn't been putting the way I had wanted to, so to see the ball drop to go 1-up with one to play was very nice,' said Casey, a two-time winner this season. 'It was very tense out there. Ignacio and Miguel Angel have both played the Ryder Cup and they put up a tough fight yesterday and it was the same again today.'
 
The fourth match saw some of the best golf of the day. Jacobson won the second with a birdie, but Harrington squared the match with a birdie on No. 4. Fasth birdied two of the next three holes to give his duo a 2-up lead.
 
Price cut the deficit to 1-down with a birdie on No. 9. Jacobson however extended his team's lead to 2-up by birdieing the 11th.
 
From there, it was all Harrington but the Irishman's play was not enough to secure the win. He ran off three straight birdies from the 12th to give his duo a 1-up lead. Fasth evened the match with a birdie on the 14th and Jacobson moved his duo to 1-up with a win at the next.
 
Harrington extended the match with a par on 17. He then rolled in a birdie at the last in an attempt to gain a 1/2 point, but Fasth matched his birdie to give Fasth and Jacobson a 1-up win.
 
The English duo of Rose and Poulter jumped all over the Spaniards, Olazabal and Ballesteros. Poulter birdied No. 2 and Rose No. 3 for a quick 2-up lead. Rose made it 3-up when he birdied the fifth and Poulter stretched that lead to 4-up with a birdie at the eighth.
 
Rose gave the Englishmen a 5-up cushion when he birdied the 11th. The Spaniards would not quit though. Ballesteros won his first hole of the day, and just second of the event, with a par at the par-3 12th.
 
Olazabal birdied the next two holes to cut the deficit to 2-down. He maintained the 2-down deficit as he halved the following two holes with pars.
 
However, the Spaniards struggled on 17 and Poulter took advantage. He rolled in a birdie at the par-3 to secure a 3-and-1 victory.
 
'It was tough to come out and face those two after yesterday's thrashing but I thought we dove-tailed well together,' said Poulter. 'It is a long way back for anyone to come back from 5-down in an 18 hole match but I suppose if anyone is going to do it, it is Seve and Olly.'
 
Saturday's action will see morning greensomes and afternoon foursomes before the traditional 10 singles matches on Sunday. The greensomes have both players teeing off, they then choose the best drive and play alternate shot the remainder of the hole.
 
Related Links:
  • Day 2 Scores - The Seve Trophy
  • Full Coverage - The Seve Trophy
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.