Goosen Grabs Chrysler Lead

By Sports NetworkOctober 31, 2003, 5:00 pm
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Retief Goosen fired a 5-under 66 on Friday to take the 36-hole lead at the Chrysler Championship. Goosen finished at 7-under-par 135, one shot ahead of his closest competitors.
Jose Coceres and J.J. Henry shared second place at 6-under-par 136.
'I was a bit better in my iron play today, I seemed to hit it closer today than I did yesterday,' said Goosen. 'It's a long way to go. It's only going to get tougher on the weekend.'
Goosen hit a 6-iron to 16 feet for a birdie at the par-4 second. He followed that up with a birdie at the fifth and ran home an 18-footer for a birdie at the seventh to make the turn at 5 under.
The South African continued his fine play on the inward half with a long birdie putt at the 10th. Goosen then knocked a wedge to 10 feet for a birdie at the 12th and picked up another birdie at the par-5 14th.
Goosen missed the green with his approach at the par-4 16th, however, and could not get up and down to save par for his only bogey of the day.
The 34-year-old is currently 26th on the PGA Tour money list although he hasn't won since last year's BellSouth Classic.
'Well, I think my putting has not been up to standard this year,' said the 2001 U.S. Open champion. 'I felt like I drove the ball pretty well this year and do what I've done in the past. But I think my putting has not quite been what it should be and if you look at the guys winning, their putting stats are right up in the top 10.'
Henry collected seven birdies and three bogeys for a round of 67.
'It's going to be a good test this weekend, no doubt about it,' said Henry. 'I'm just going to go out and try to have fun this weekend and look forward to the challenge.'
Overnight leader Charles Howell III carded an even-par 71 to join Jerry Kelly and Chad Campbell in a tie for fourth at 5-under-par 137.
Campbell played the back nine first and stumbled out of the gate with a bogey at the 10th. He countered with a birdie at the 14th but dropped another shot with a bogey at the very next hole.
The 29-year-old responded again and hit a 9-iron to six feet for a birdie at the 18th.
Campbell then tallied back-to-back birdies from the fourth to finish two shots off the pace after a round of 69.
'I feel like I got in a lot of good positions this year,' said Campbell, who is ninth on the money list. 'I'm disappointed I haven't won, but I definitely think it's a good year.'
Briny Baird shot a 66 to finish alongside Thomas Levet at 4-under-par 138. Jonathan Byrd was one shot further back at 3-under-par 139.
PGA Tour money leader Vijay Singh joined Robert Gamez, Pat Perez, Tim Petrovic, Loren Roberts, Woody Austin and Hank Kuehne in a tie for 10th at 2-under-par 140.
Defending champion K.J. Choi struggled with a second-round 74 to make the cut on the number at 3-over-par 145.
Among those who failed to qualify for the weekend were Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem and Phil Mickelson.
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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.'"

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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.