Haas in the Saddle at East Lake

By Sports NetworkNovember 5, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Tour Championship by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Jay Haas fired a 4-under 66 Friday to grab a two-stroke lead through two rounds of the season-ending Tour Championship. Haas completed 36 holes at 7-under-par 133.
 
Stephen Ames matched Haas' 66 to move into second place at 5-under-par 135. Reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is one stroke further back at minus-4 after a 66 of his own. Goosen is tied in third place with Tiger Woods, whose 6-under 64 was the low round of the day.
 
World No. 1 Vijay Singh stumbled to a 3-over 73. He slipped into 17th place at 2-over-par 142. He carded six bogeys and three birdies during his round.
 
Just nine players are in red figures at East Lake Golf Club at the halfway point. Players have had trouble going low due to breezy conditions over the first two days.
 
Haas entered round two tied for the lead with Jerry Kelly and Darren Clarke. Haas stumbled at the first with a bogey that dropped him out of the lead. The 50-year-old atoned for that error with a birdie at the par-4 third.
 
Haas, the oldest player in tournament history to qualify for this event, jumped to 5 under when he eagled the par-5 ninth.
 
He opened the back side with five straight pars. Haas, who has gone 266 starts without a win, dropped in a birdie at the par-5 15th to move one shot clear of Ames. Haas finished with a 4-foot birdie putt at the last to close two strokes clear of the field.
 
'Well, it was obviously a tougher day with the wind, and at least for me, was much cooler because we played the second group out yesterday and I don't think the wind picked up until later in the day, so I didn't get the full force of it yesterday,' Haas said. 'Today from the start the wind was blowing, the greens were a little quicker I thought, and there were few good scores. I got off to just a terrible start. But from then on, I really played well, hit a lot of good shots.'
 
Ames, who posted eight top-10s in a 10-start stretch at one point this season, was hot early in his round. He rolled in his first birdie at the par-4 third to move to minus-2.
 
The 2004 Western Open winner came right back with a birdie at four. He capped a run of three straight birdies on No. 5 to get to 4 under. Ames tripped to a bogey at the seventh, but erased that error with a birdie at No. 9.
 
Ames, who hails from Trinidad & Tobago, but recently gained Canadian citizenship, stumbled back to minus-3 with a bogey on the par-3 11th. He fought back with birdies at 13 and 15 to secure second place.
 
'I think my first goal today was to get the last tee time so it would be a little warmer when I teed off, seriously. The tee times have moved up two hours, so it was a goal to try to get out later,' Ames said. 'For me it's been a good year. To get into the Tour Championship has been a bonus. I'm thankful that I'm here.'
 
Goosen moved into red figures with a birdie at the fourth. He then picked up back-to-back birdies from the eighth to move to minus-3. The 2001 and 2004 U.S. Open champion kept rolling with a birdie at the 11th.
 
The South African climbed to minus-5 with a birdie at the par-5 15th. Goosen tripped to a bogey at the last to share third place at minus-4.
 
Woods, playing for the first time since the WGC-American Express Championship the first weekend in October, picked up early birdies at the third and fifth to move to even par for the tournament.
 
The World No. 3 carded his third birdie at the par-5 ninth. After four pars in a row, Woods birdied the par-4 14th. He came right back to birdie 15 and made it three straight when he birdied 16.
 
Woods, the 1999 Tour Championship winner, closed with pars at 17 and 18 to conclude the only bogey-free round of the tournament.
 
'I hit the ball a little bit better today,' said Woods. 'Yesterday I made some silly mistakes. I short-sided myself a few times. Today I just tried not to short-side myself, and I didn't do that. I made a couple nice putts out there for birdies to keep the momentum going and also stuffed a couple close.'
 
Kelly shot a 71. He is tied for fifth place with Mike Weir at 2-under-par 138. Weir played his final three holes in 4 over par on Friday.
 
Mark Hensby, Zach Johnson and Rory Sabbatini are the final players in red figures at 1-under-par 139. Clarke stumbled to a 3-over 73 and shares 10th place with Carlos Franco at even-par 140.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.