Hanell Chalks Up First Victory

By Sports NetworkMarch 28, 2004, 5:00 pm
SANTO DA SERRA, Madeira -- Christopher Hanell closed with a 1-under 71 Sunday to hang on to win the Madeira Island Open. He finished the wet and windy event at 4-under-par 284.
'This is my first start of the year so I am very happy,' said Hanell. 'I'm excited about the year coming up. I have been excited about the year since the Tour School.'
Brad Kennedy, who shot an opening-round 62, also shot a 71 Sunday to share second place at 3-under-par 285. He was joined there by Steven Jeppesen (76) and Rob Rashell (73). Garry Houston (74) and Sam Walker (70) were one stroke further back at minus-2.
The third round of the event was completed Sunday morning after weather delays the first two days slowed the tournament. Strong winds that gusted to over 30 m.p.h. during the final round sent scores soaring Sunday.
With strong winds blowing over the final two rounds, only nine players shot par or better in the final round, while 20 players shot 80 or higher over the final two rounds. Three golfers managed to card rounds in the 60s during round three, but no one was able to do that in the final round.
Hanell began play Sunday six strokes behind Kennedy. Hanell finished his final nine holes of the third round at even-par with three birdies and three bogeys to head to the final round at minus-3, four back of Jeppesen and Knud Storgaard.
The Swede began his final round at Santo da Serra Golf Club with four straight pars. Hanell, playing his first event since the season-opening Omega Hong Kong Open in December, then birdied the par-4 fifth. However, he stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole.
Battling the tough conditions, Hanell ran off 10 consecutive pars around the turn to head to the final two holes at 3 under.
The 30-year-old picked up his second birdie of the day and third in four rounds at the par-3 17th to get to 4 under. He closed with a par at the last and when Kennedy bogeyed the same hole, Hanell had earned his first European Tour title.
'Today it was as tough as this golf course gets,' said Hanell, who is the fourth Swede to win here in 12 years. 'My second round of 67, which I finished on Saturday, really clinched it for me. That was as good as I can play. You are going to have some misjudgments but it was a great round. But if anything stands out about this week it was if I got in trouble it was never too bad and I got out of it. This makes a huge difference for planning my year.'
Kennedy, who stood at minus-9 when third-round play resumed Sunday morning, stumbled badly to close that round. He posted one bogey, a double-bogey and a quadruple-bogey at the par-4 closing hole to end at minus-2.
He rebounded quickly to start his final round as he birdied the first, however, Kennedy bogeyed the fourth and sixth to fall to 1 under.
Kennedy birdied the 13th and sank back-to-back birdies from the 15th to grab a share of the lead at minus-4. He faltered to one final bogey at the last costing him a chance at a playoff.
'I don't want to bottle that 18th hole up and take it away from me that's for sure,' Kennedy said. 'But I have to try and learn from this and keep knocking on the door. That's two seconds in a month. I really knuckled down. I knew I let myself down out there and wanted to dig down as deep as I could.'
Jeppesen opened the final round at minus-7, where he stood alongside Storgaard in the lead. Jeppesen bogeyed Nos. 7 and 9, before getting a shot back with a birdie at the 10th.
Jeppesen tripped up to back-to-back bogeys from the 12th and a double-bogey at the 15th dropped him to 2 under. He managed his final birdie at the par-3 17th, a hole which he birdied all four rounds.
John Mellor and Markus Brier each closed with rounds of 1-under 71. They shared seventh place at 1-under-par 287 with Graeme McDowell (73), Jamie Spence (74) and Storgaard (78).
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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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.

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    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.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    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."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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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."