Haas Pulling Away at Schwab Cup

By Sports NetworkOctober 29, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Charles Schwab Cup ChampionshipSONOMA, Calif. -- Jay Haas fired a course record-tying 9-under 63 on Saturday to open up a six-stroke lead after three rounds of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Haas completed 54 holes at 14-under-par 202. His third-round 63 tied Jim Thorpe's course record from 2003. Bob Charles, Jay Sigel and Bruce Lietzke also carded 63s in this event, but they came on three courses other than Sonoma Golf Club, this week's host venue.
Jay Haas
Jay Haas is looking for his third win in his last four Champions Tour starts.
Dana Quigley, who is battling for the $1 million annuity awarded to the winner of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup series and is going for the top spot on the money list as well, carded a 4-under 68 to move into a tie for second place at 8-under-par 208.
He was joined there by Tom Kite (68), Tom Watson (69), Lonnie Nielsen (70) and Loren Roberts (70).
Mark McNulty, the defending champion, also had a solid day as he fired a 7-under 65 to move into a share of seventh place at minus-7. He was joined there by Gil Morgan, who had shared the second-round lead with Nielsen and Roberts.
Haas was on fire early during Saturday's round. The 51-year-old opened with a birdie on the second and made it two in a row as he birdied the third as well.
The nine-time winner on the PGA Tour got to 8 under with an 10-foot birdie putt on the fourth, which gave him a one-shot lead. Haas extended that lead as he sank a 6-foot birdie try at the fifth.
Haas cooled off with four straight pars from the sixth. Around the turn, he converted consecutive birdies from the 10th to climb to 11 under.
The Wake Forest alum birdied the par-5 13th for the second round in a row. Haas poured in birdie putts on 16 and 17 to get to 14 under and a six-stroke cushion.
'I'm going to try to take [the final round] as any other round,' said Haas, who has two Champions Tour wins. 'Obviously I will have a lot of pressure on me. Everybody will be firing at me and there are some great names on that leaderboard behind me. Obviously if I can shoot that round (today), any of those guys can too.'
Quigley played his first eight holes at plus-1 with a bogey on the fifth, but he caught fire around the turn. The 58-year-old holed out for eagle on the ninth, then birdied No. 10 to quickly get to 6 under.
The 10-time winner on the Champions Tour bogeyed the 11th, but came right back with a birdie on 12. Quigley birdied 16 and 17 to share second place.
'I would have felt good if I was a couple shots better, but I'm happy,' said Quigley. 'I think I'm in pretty good shape on the money list, but I'm not sure about the Schwab Cup yet. There will be pressure on a lot of guys on Sunday. There's a lot of money out there.'
Kite had grabbed the early lead at 7 under with three straight birdies to open his round. He gave one stroke back with a bogey on five. The 55-year-old wrapped birdies at 11 and 13 around a bogey on No. 12. His birdie on the 16th got him to minus-8.
Watson played the first 15 holes at even-par with three birdies and three bogeys. The 2000 and 2002 champion here eagled 15 and birdied 16 to get to 8 under.
Nielsen birdied the second to go with eight pars on his opening nine holes. He stumbled to a bogey at the 10th, but moved into a share of second with birdies on the 13th and 16th.
Roberts birdied the seventh and 10th to climb to minus-8. He picked up another birdie on the par-5 16th. However, he bogeyed the last to slide back into a share of second.
Morris Hatalsky, Tom Purtzer and Craig Stadler share ninth place at 5-under-par 211. Mark James is one stroke behind that trio at minus-4.
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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.

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    Ortiz leads LAAC through 54; Niemann, Gana one back

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

    Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz shot a 1-under 70 Monday to take the 54-hole lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship in Chile.

    At 4 under for the week, he leads by one over over Argentina's Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Chile's Toto Gana and Joaquin Niemann, and Guatemala's Dnaiel Gurtner.

    Ortiz is the younger brother of three-time Web.com winner Carlos. Alvaro, a senior at Arkansas, finished tied for third at the LAAC in 2016 and lost in a three-way playoff last year that included Niemann and Gana, the champion.

    Ortiz shared the 54-hole lead with Gana last year and they will once again play in the final group on Tuesday, along with Gurtner, a redshirt junior at TCU.

    “Literally, I've been thinking about [winning] all year long," Ortiz said Monday. "Yes, I am a very emotional player, but tomorrow I want to go out calm and with a lot of patience. I don't want the emotions to get the better of me. What I've learned this past year, especially in the tournaments I’ve played for my university, is that I have become more mature and that I have learned how to control myself on the inside on the golf course.”

    In the group behind, Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who is poised to turn professional, unless of course he walks away with the title.

    “I feel a lot of motivation at the moment, especially because I am the only player in the field that shot seven under (during the second round), and I am actually just one shot off the lead," he said. "So I believe that tomorrow I can shoot another very low round."

    Tuesday's winner will earn an invitation to this year's Masters and exemptions into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, and final qualifying for The Open.