GBI Takes Outright Lead at Seve Trophy

By Sports NetworkSeptember 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourBILLINGHAM, England -- Colin Montgomerie's wish came true, and then some.
The Great Britain & Ireland captain saw his team come all the way back from a bad first-day deficit to take a 9 1/2 - 8 1/2 lead at the Seve Trophy heading into Sunday's decisive singles matches.
Montgomerie had said he wanted to be tied with Continental Europe after morning greensomes on Saturday, and that's exactly what happened when his team won two matches and halved two more to knot things at 7-7.
In the afternoon foursomes, GB&I took the overnight lead by winning two matches and halving another. Montgomerie and Nick Dougherty beat Thomas Bjorn and Maarten Lafeber in the day's final match to give their team the one-point advantage.
The GB&I duo overcame a 1-down deficit with a birdie at the 14th and then took their 1-up lead when Dougherty rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at the 17th.
'To get back from 4-1 down to lead is great,' said Montgomerie, whose team fell behind 4-1 on Thursday before pulling within 6-4 after the second round of fourball matches on Friday. 'That's a lot of credit to the young guns, including Nick (Dougherty).'
'The Boys played their best and three matches went to the 18th this afternoon to show how close it is,' acknowledged Continental European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who sat out the foursomes after he and Thomas Levet were defeated during the morning greensomes at The Wynyard Golf Club.
'We have our backs to the wall a little bit, so we'll have to do our best in the singles.'
GB&I's other foursome win came from Paul Casey and David Howell, who played together for the fourth straight round and collected their third point with a 2 and 1 victory over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Emanuele Canonica.
The Continental Europeans picked up an afternoon point when Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson beat Bradley Dredge and Ian Poulter, 1-up.
In the first match of the day, Irishmen Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington were paired for the fourth straight round and earned a halve against Levet and Jean-Francois Remesy.
The GB&I duo turned a 1-down deficit into a 1-up lead with birdies on 16 and 17. Levet missed a 30-foot putt at 16 that would have halved the hole for the Continental Europeans, and Harrington curled in a 15-footer at 17 to give GB&I the lead.
But Levet and Remesy went on to win the 18th with a birdie to halve the match.
Casey and Howell, who trailed 2-down after six holes, squared the day's second match with a birdie at the 11th. They took a 1-up lead with a birdie at 13 and clinched the match when Howell made a 12-foot birdie putt from the left side of the green at 17.
Canonica had a similar putt moments earlier that he pushed right.
Dredge and Poulter trailed 1-down on seven of the first nine holes, but squared things with a birdie at the 10th. The score remained that way until Fasth and Stenson took a 1-up lead for good when Poulter lipped out a short putt on 15.
Poulter seemed frustrated all day for having to play what he believed were concession putts. But he didn't harp on it afterwards.
'It was just good old match play,' the Englishman said.
Dredge, who was kept out of the morning greensomes along with Montgomerie, is still without a point in the competition. Poulter was playing without Dougherty for the first time this week (Montgomerie had dubbed them the 'Hollywood' pairing).
Stenson is the only undefeated player in the match.
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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.