Gibson Leads Stadlers Close Behind

By Sports NetworkJuly 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Kelly Gibson fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the B.C. Open. It is the first time since the 1992 Buick Southern Open that Gibson has held the lead after the first round.
Kevin Stadler, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour who is playing on a sponsor's exemption, posted a 7-under-par 65. John E. Morgan, who lost a playoff to Mark Hensby last week, joined Stadler, Todd Fischer and Camilo Villegas in second place.
Craig Stadler, Kevin's father and the defending champion, opened with a 5-under-par 67, where he stands in a tie for 10th.
Gibson got off to a hot start. He stuck a 9-iron 4 feet from the hole at the first to set up birdie. He came right back with a 12-foot birdie putt at the second.
The 40-year-old pitched his third within a foot of the cup at the third to cap a run of three straight birdies to open his round. Gibson drained a 12-footer for birdie on No. 5 at En-Joie Golf Club.
'I got out of the box extremely fast,' Gibson said. 'Tough conditions out there. It was hot then cold, a goofy back and forth.'
Gibson came right back to birdie the sixth to quickly get to 5 under. He rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt at the eighth, before dropping a stroke at the par-4 10th.
The two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour came right back to birdie the 11th and two-putt for birdie at 12 to get to minus-7. Gibson knocked a 5-iron 4 feet from the hole at the 14th. Gibson drained the putt for birdie, then parred his final four holes to hold on to the first-round lead.
'I was very fortunate to get round in, I've been on the wrong side of weather delays all year,' said Gibson, who weathered a brief delay during his round. 'I don't like to start and stop, I was very fortunate today.'
Kevin Stadler began his round on the 10th tee and birdied two of his first three holes. He moved to 3 under with a birdie at the par-4 15th. After parring five straight holes, he drained three consecutive birdies from the third to get to 6 under.
Stadler, who won the Lake Erie Charity Classic and Scholarship America Showdown on the Nationwide Tour, joined the crowd in second place with a birdie at the eighth.
Morgan, who nearly gained entry into the British Open last week, but lost in a playoff, opened on the back nine with one birdie and one bogey over his first nine holes. On the front side, he birdied the first three holes. Morgan came right back to birdie five and six, before back-to-back birdies from the par-5 eighth.
Fischer picked up five birdies and an eagle over his bogey-free round of 65.
Villegas birdied 14 and 15, before an eagle on 16 moved him to minus-4. After birdies at 17 and 18, he bogeyed the first. Villegas birdied the third, then bogeyed the fourth. He then eagled the fifth, but faltered to another bogey at the seventh. He closed with a birdie on the par-5 seventh.
'It was fun out there, I got it going,' said Villegas. 'I did not realize I shot 29 on my first nine. It was fun. First time I shot 7 under on PGA Tour. I did a good job controlling my emotions.'
Brenden Pappas, Brett Quigley, Roland Thatcher and Garrett Willis share sixth place at 6-under-par 66.
Craig Stadler spread four birdies and two bogeys over his first nine. Around on the front nine, he carded two birdies, an eagle and a bogey to post a 67. He is joined there by Tommy Tolles, Tom Carter, Lucas Glover, Mike Heinen, Gabriel Hjertstedt, Neal Lancaster, Jim Benepe, Jason Bohn, Olin Browne and Jonathan Byrd.
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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.