Germany Leads US Struggles

By Sports NetworkNovember 13, 2003, 5:00 pm
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- The duo of Alex Cejka and Marcel Siem combined to post a 5-under-par 67 Thursday to give Germany the first-round lead of the World Golf Championships-World Cup.
 
Ian Woosnam, a last-minute replacement, and Bradley Dredge of Wales are alone in second place after a 4-under 68. The French team of Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin paired for a 3-under-par 69 and sole possession of third place.
 
The World Cup is the fourth and final WGC event of the year. There were 24 teams, Chile withdrew Thursday when Felipe Aguilar injured his hand, and Thursday's action was four-balls or better-ball. On Friday and Sunday, it will be foursomes or alternate-shot, and on Saturday, it's once again four-balls.
 
The American team of U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard opened with a 1-under 71 to share seventh place.
 
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort proved to be extremely difficult on Thursday with high winds altering several shots and making for many nervous putts.
 
The German tandem collected four birdies on the front side to share first place but the twosome parred the first four holes on the second nine. Things would change at the par-3 14th.
 
Cejka hit his tee ball 18 feet left of the target but Siem, ranked No. 292 in the Official World Golf Ranking, played his drive to three feet. Cejka missed his birdie try but Siem's found every piece of the hole before falling in and giving the Germans a one-shot lead.
 
At the par-5 16th, Cejka had some trouble and chipped his fourth shot to eight feet. Once again it was Siem to the rescue as the 23-year-old failed to hit the green with his second but chipped to four feet and rolled home the birdie putt to go two clear of the field.
 
Kiawah was too hard on Thursday for a team to go through without a bogey. At the very difficult par-3 17th, Siem missed the green short by several yards but Cejka played to the right side of the green, 45 feet from the hole. Siem pitched 12 feet from the cup and Cejka lagged his par try to five feet. Neither player was able to save par and the lead was only one.
 
Neither Cejka nor Siem hit a good drive at 18 but Siem was in better position to save par. Cejka drove into the sand on the right side and barely advanced his ball out of the bunker. Cejka could not get into the hole with bogey but Siem canned a seven-footer for par to hold on to their one-shot lead.
 
'It was great to have that score and see our name up on the leaderboard,' said Cejka, who finished 60th on the PGA Tour money list in 2003. 'The course has changed a lot since 1997 when I played here and with a wind over 40 miles per hour, it was much tougher. We are both very pleased to lead the tournament after round one.'
 
Woosnam, who was called to duty during a vacation in Barbados after Phillip Price could not shake the flu, recorded five birdies to erase a 1-over start through three holes.
 
Woosnam, a winner of this tournament in 1987, seemed happy to represent Wales again, despite being called in from the beach.
 
'I'd probably be sitting down on the beach or in a bar drinking a nice rum and coke, or going for a siesta,' said Woosnam. 'It didn't take much persuading to come here. It was nice to come and represent your country again.'
 
Leonard and Furyk, who will be heading to South Africa next week for the Presidents Cup, mixed three bogeys and two birdies over their first 15 holes. They birdied two of their final three holes to join the group in seventh.
 
Eduardo Romero and Angel Cabrera of Argentina, Carlos Franco and Marco Ruiz of Paraguay and Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini of South Africa all posted rounds of 2-under-par 70 to share fourth place.
 
The Americans, 1999 British Open winner Paul Lawrie and Alastair Forsyth of Scotland, Mexican duo Alejandro Quiroz and Antonio Maldonado, Korea's K.J. Choi and S.K. Ho, Michael Campbell and David Smail of New Zealand and the Spanish pairing of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ignacio Garrido are tied for seventh at minus-1.
 
Japan is the defending champion in 2003. Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa won the title last year but Hidemichi Tanaka replaced Izawa in 2003. The Japanese team struggled to a 2-over 74 and are tied for 18th.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - WGC-World Cup
  • Full Coverage - WGC-World Cup
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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."

    Getty Images

    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

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    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.

    Getty Images

    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."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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."