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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    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.