Haas Two Back OMeara Struggles

By Sports NetworkFebruary 16, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Outback Steakhouse Pro-AmLUTZ, Florida -- David Eger opened with a 4-under-par 67 Friday to grab a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
 
Tom Wargo, whose last tour win came in 2000, is alone in second place at minus-3. Jay Haas, the 2006 Player of the Year, carded a 2-under-par 69 Friday. He shares third place with Wayne Levi and John Harris.
 
There were few low scores in the opening round due to the conditions. Temperatures barely got into the 50s and steady breezes made it seem even colder than that.
 
Eger got off to a fast start at the TPC of Tampa Bay. He drained 6-foot birdie putts on each of the first two holes. After three straight pars, Eger stumbled to a bogey on the par-3 sixth.
 
The 54-year-old bounced right back with a birdie on seven. However, Eger faltered to another bogey on the ninth after a poor drive to turn in minus-1.
 
Eger, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour, took advantage of the two par- 5s on the back nine. He birdied 12 and 14, both par-5s, to get to minus-3. Eger carded his final birdie, from 16 feet out, at the par-3 17th.
 
'The score is great. I wasn't very happy with the way I have hit the ball off the tee,' Eger stated. 'I hit some very good irons, but I didn't hit a lot of good tee shots. I seemed to hit the ball from 4 to 8 feet a lot for birdies all day.'
 
Wargo was in the first group out on the course Friday morning. He collected his first birdie at the par-3 third. Wargo gave that stroke back as he tripped to a three-putt bogey on five.
 
The 62-year-old turned in minus-2 thanks to birdies on seven and nine, where he chipped in for birdie.
 
Wargo picked up his next birdie from 15 feet out at 13. He struggled to a bogey on 15, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie at the next. Wargo parred the final two to end one back.
 
'You know when you're playing in this kind of weather and wind, you're going to have to get it up-and-down,' said Wargo of the chilly, breezy conditions. 'You're going to miss some greens, so you're going to have to rely on the short game, in nasty weather, that's the game that you look forward to, to bail you out all the time.'
 
Curtis Strange, Tom Watson and Loren Roberts were the final three players in red figures at 1-under-par 70. Tom Jenkins, Mark Johnson, Andy Bean, Ben Crenshaw, Bruce Fleisher and Bob Gilder share ninth place at even-par 71.
 
Mark O'Meara, who is making his Champions Tour debut this week, opened with a 3-over-par 74. He stands in a tie for 29th place with several players including Nick Price, who made his tour debut last week.
 
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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.'"


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    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.