Goosen Leads Singh Lurks

By Sports NetworkNovember 1, 2003, 5:00 pm
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Retief Goosen carded a 4-under 67 Saturday to extend his lead at the Chrysler Championship. Goosen finished with a 54-hole total of 11-under-par 202 and a two-shot lead over Briny Baird.
 
Vijay Singh finished three shots off the pace at 8-under-par 205 and in position to wrap up the money title. A strong showing this week will make Tiger Woods' hopes of catching the Fijian slim, but a victory would assure Singh the money title.
 
'If I do, I do; if I don't, I don't. I still got a chance next week,' said Singh. 'He still has to beat me next week to pass me.'
 
The 40-year-old was five shots off the pace to start the third round and jumped out of the gate with a birdie at the very first hole. Singh added back-to-back birdies from the eighth to make the turn at 5 under before collecting four birdies and a bogey on the back side to move into contention.
 
'I intended to play well today and tried to get as close to Retief as possible,' said Singh, who fired a 65 in the third round. 'He is playing very well as well. I know I played with him last week and he was hitting the ball pretty good.'
 
Goosen, who is quietly securing his spot in next week's Tour Championship, had a brilliant front nine as he tried to distance himself from his challengers.
 
Goosen birdied two of the first three holes and picked up two straight birdies starting at the par-4 seventh to move to 11 under.
 
The 34-year-old added a birdie at the par-5 11th before finding trouble with a bogey at the par-3 13th.
 
Goosen's lead shrunk even more after he bogeyed the 17th but the 2001 U.S. Open champion persisted.
 
He closed his round with a six-foot birdie at the last on the Copperhead Course at Westin Innisbrook Resort to carry a two-shot edge over Baird into the final round.
 
'Vijay is trying to win it tomorrow to finish off the money title. I'm trying to win it to get into Mercedes for next year,' said Goosen. 'Someone of us is going to be unhappy tomorrow. It's going to be a tough day. Vijay I know is playing well. The whole year he has been playing really well. He is probably the man to try to beat tomorrow.
 
'Tomorrow you got to focus on your own game. You know, just play hole by hole and see what happens. If I shoot another good round tomorrow I'm sure I'll walk away with it.'
 
Baird tallied a birdie at the fourth and picked up the first of four consecutive birdies at the par-4 seventh to catch fire around the turn.
 
The 31-year-old moved to 10 under with a birdie at the 14th but a dropped shot at the 15th dropped him back to minus-9.
 
Baird is currently 35th on the money list but with an excellent chance to work himself into the top 30.
 
'I don't think that's going to come in to play that much tomorrow. Winning the tournament will come in to play,' said Baird, who shot a 66 on Saturday. 'Having a chance to win a golf tournament with 18 holes to go is a pretty good feat.'
 
Tim Petrovic shot a 66 to finish four shots off the lead alone in fourth place at 7-under-par 206. Loren Roberts and Jose Coceres were two shots further back at 5-under-par 208.
 
Chad Campbell, Jeff Sluman, J.J. Henry and Thomas Levet share seventh place at 4-under-par 209. Levet is currently outside the top 125 on the money list and needs a strong finish on Sunday to keep his playing privileges for next year.
 
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    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.

    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."

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    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

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    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.

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    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."


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    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."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."