Glover Catches Rose at Bob Hope

By Sports NetworkJanuary 20, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Justin Rose struggled on the back nine Saturday en route to a 2-under 70. He shares the lead at 20-under-par 268 with Lucas Glover after four rounds of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Glover fired a 7-under 65 at La Quinta, while Rose posted his 70 at The Classic Club.
Justin Rose
Justin Rose led by as many as five in the fourth round, but ended with a share of the lead.
Golfers rotated over four courses for the first four rounds. Those courses were Bermuda Dunes Country Club, the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West, La Quinta Country Club and The Classic Club, which will host the final round on Sunday.
This is the only five-round tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule. The format saw each player grouped with amateurs over the first four rounds.
John Rollins, who had gotten within one stroke of the lead during round four, posted a 5-under 67 at PGA West. He is alone in third at 18-under-par 270. Jeff Quinney and Charley Hoffman share fourth at minus-16.
Rose got off to a quick start with a birdie at the first. He came right back with a 9-foot birdie putt at two. Rose pushed his lead to five strokes with a birdie at the fifth.
The Englishman stumbled to a bogey on six however. Rose atoned for that mistake with a birdie at the eighth. After getting up and down for par on 10, he pushed his drive right and into water off the 11th tee. Rose, who is looking for his first PGA TOUR win, managed to save bogey, but his lead was down to one as Rollins was making a move.
'Ten and 11 were playing pretty tough today. They're both into the wind and about 460 yards,' Rose stated. 'I got away with an up-and-down par on 10, then hit it in the water on 11, but actually made a great five. I was really happy momentum-wise walking to the 12th tee having gotten through those two holes at 1 over.'
Rose bounced back with a 5-foot birdie putt on 13. He had more tee trouble on the par-5 14th as his drive found the trees left of the fairway and he had to punch out from there.
The 26-year-old reached the green with his third, but three-putted for his third bogey of the round. Rose got that stroke back by draining a 12-foot birdie putt on 15.
Rose three-putted for his fourth bogey of the round at 16, which dropped him to 20 under. He parred his final two holes and was caught by Glover shortly after completing his round.
'A little ragged there on the back nine,' said Rose. 'I three-putted twice coming in and I guess that's what slowed my momentum.'
Rose played The Classic Club on Saturday and will play it again Sunday and hopes that will be beneficial.
'I think it will be an advantage playing this course two days in a row,' he explained. 'Every day everyone's faced with the challenge of getting used to the speed of the greens. I felt I've coped with that well this week. Today was the one day I didn't quite have the pace of the greens. So maybe to come back tomorrow it will be a slight advantage playing this surface two days in a row.'
Glover faltered to a bogey on the 10th at La Quinta, his first hole. He erased that mistake with a birdie at the next. Glover poured in consecutive birdie putts from the 16th to make the turn at 15 under.
The 27-year-old collected his fourth birdie on the round at the second. Glover flew up the leaderboard with three straight birdies from the fourth to get within one of Rose's lead.
Glover, the 2005 FUNAI Classic winner, rolled in a seven-foot birdie putt on eight to move into a tie for first. He two-putted for par from the fringe at the last to share the overnight lead.
'I bogeyed the first, but things turned around from there,' Glover said. 'It was a little slow, but I got going on the front, my back nine, and turned in a good one.'
Vaughn Taylor fired a 7-under 65 at Bermuda Dunes to move into a share of sixth place. He was joined at 15-under-par 273 by Joe Durant, Robert Allenby, Heath Slocum, Duffy Waldorf, Dudley Hart and Matt Kuchar.
Reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson returned to action for the first time since the Ryder Cup this week. Mickelson carded nine birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey as he shot 6-under 66 to move into a tie for 19th at minus-13.
The cut line fell at 6-under-par 282 with 76 players advancing to the final round. Among those missing the cut were former British Open winner Todd Hamilton (286), 2006 champion Chad Campbell (286), two-time major champion Mark O'Meara (286) and 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem (293).

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    Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

    By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

    The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

    "The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

    He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).

    Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

    Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

    “Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

    Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

    Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

    Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

    The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.