Gutschewski in Control

By Sports NetworkOctober 4, 2003, 4:00 pm
Nationwide TourSEASIDE, Calif. -- Scott Gutschewski fired a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take a four-stroke lead after three rounds of the Monterey Peninsula Classic.
His 54-hole total of 12-under-par 204 shatters the previous record of 7-under-par 209. Tom Carter set the original 54-hole mark in 2001 and was matched last year by Roland Thatcher.
Kyle Thompson had reached 9-under on Friday. At the time, that was the lowest score any player had ever reached at this event. Gutschewski, meanwhile, went screaming past that mark with seven birdies and two bogeys in his round at the Seaside Resort & Spa's Bayonet Golf Course.
Joe Ogilvie, a two-time winner this season, and Rich Barcelo each posted course-record tying rounds of 6-under 66 to move into a tie for second place. They stand at 8-under-par 208. Danny Briggs stands alone in fourth place at 6-under-par 210.
Gutschewski began the day tied for the lead with Zoran Zorkic. Gutschewski took command quickly with a scrambling birdie at the first and another birdie at the fourth, both par-5s. However, he dropped a stroke at the par-3 sixth. He came right back to birdie the next hole.
He headed to the back nine at minus-9. Around the turn, he birdied the par-5 10th to become the first player to reach double figures under par in the event's four-year history.
He fell back to 9-under when he bogeyed the 12th. Gutschewski responded down the stretch to pull away from the field. He sank back-to-back birdies from the 15th and closed with a birdie at the last to extend his advantage to four shots.
'I don't think I am doing anything ridiculous or pushing the limit as far as being too aggressive,' said Gutschewski. 'You can't hit it out-of-bounds or in the water. I watched the leaderboard and figured it was a good opportunity to stretch it out.'
Gutschewski first teed it up at the Omaha Classic on a sponsor's exemption in early August. Starting there, he ran off five straight top-25 finishes that helped him stay eligible to play the following week. Since then, he has climbed to 65th on the tour's money list and needs to move into the top-55 to be invited to the season-ending Tour Championship.
Ogilvie, who needs one more win this season to gain the Battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour, birdied three of his first four holes. However, his lone non- birdie in that stretch was a bogey at the second. He later birdied the sixth and had three more birdies on the back to move into a tie for second place.
'If there was ever a time you could shoot low at this place, today was the one,' said Ogilvie, who won the season-opening Jacob's Creek Open and later won The Reese's Cup Classic.
Barcelo birdied three consecutive holes from the second to move to 5-under. He then posted four birdies in a five-hole stretch from the eighth to get to 9-under. Down the stretch, he carded six pars and a bogey to share second place.
'It was a good combination of ball striking and good putting,' said Barcelo. 'After 11 holes, it certainly doesn't get easier out there. I had a few opportunities but I'm not going to complain about the putts I missed. I made my share, too.'
Zorkic, who was tied for the lead entering the round, stumbled to a 2-over 74. He shares fifth place at 5-under-par 211 with John Paul Curley, Fran Quinn and Charles Raulerson. Zach Johnson, another two-time winner this season, and Wes Short are one stroke further back at minus-4.
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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.