Harrington Holds On to Win Target Title

By Sports NetworkDecember 8, 2002, 5:00 pm
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Padraig Harrington nearly squandered an eight-shot lead on Sunday but held on in the end to win the Target World Challenge by two shots over the tournament host and last year's winner, Tiger Woods.
Harrington only carded a 1-under 71 in the final round but his 20-under-par 268 was enough to hold off the hard-charging Woods.
It looked like Harrington blew his enormous lead when he hit an awful approach at the 14th that went out of bounds. He double bogeyed the hole but still went to the winner's circle, thanks to a collapse by the normally unflappable Woods.
Woods pulled his approach at the 16th that left him in a spot where he couldn't even take a backswing. He somehow chipped in for par at that hole but he didn't survive 18 when his approach left him in a hazard and ended his chances of a successful title defense.
'Most of the day went as expected,' said Harrington, who walked off with the $1 million first-place check. 'Tiger, I knew would come at me. He kept going and kept going and he really didn't relent.'
Harrington owned a two-shot lead after a course-record 63 on Saturday and he wasted little time before he extended his lead. He birdied the first two holes in Sunday's final round to push his lead to eight, but even that margin was almost too small for the Irishman.
Woods cut the lead to five around the turn and after a birdie at No. 10, Woods found himself only four down. Harrington hit a tree at the par-5 11th and bogeyed the hole to put the difference between Harrington and Woods at three.
But it was the 14th hole where the tournament got very interesting.
Harrington's approach was a terrible pull that bounded up a hill and in someone's backyard who lives on Sherwood Country Club. He hit a provisional from his original spot, which was ground under repair but Harrington would have been blocked by a tree if he took relief. That shot, his fourth, missed the green left but he chipped to four feet and holed the putt for a double-bogey 6.
Woods made a routine par at the same hole but now his deficit was only one.
'I knew I was still ahead. I knew I was in still in control,' said Harrington. 'I kind of hit the shot without thinking too much about it. I got the wrong club. It was a mental error rather than a swing error so I was reasonably confident that I could keep going afterwards.'
The pair made pars at the downhill par-3 15th, but 16 provided another wild moment in this tournament.
At the par-5 16th, Harrington had 270 yards to the pin and landed his ball 35 feet short of the stick. Woods struck one of the worst shots of his career as he pulled a 3-iron into a thicket 40 yards left of the green.
Woods hit a provisional in case he was unable to find his ball but it was located on a hill, tangled in some branches. Woods muscled his third out of the trees but found some more trouble as his ball was now under a tree with a twig possibly interfering in his swing.
The top-ranked player in the game chipped his fourth through the green and into rough past the putting surface. Woods had his caddie pull the pin and then holed the chip for an amazing par-5.
After a smile when Woods chipped, Harrington still had 35 feet for eagle but missed his putt two feet short. He tapped in for birdie to gain a two-shot edge with two holes left in the final round.
Harrington found the left corner of the green at the par-3 17th but had close to 40 feet to the hole. Woods hit a 9-iron short of the green at the 158-yard hole but got a fortuitous bounce that left the ball eight feet from the cup and with a very makable birdie try.
The Irishman missed his birdie chance but Woods drained his to get within one shot of the lead one hole after the near disaster at 16.
Woods and Harrington both hit irons off the tee at Sherwood's difficult closing hole and both landed in the fairway. Harrington played first and applied the pressure to Woods with an approach that landed comfortably inside 20 feet. Woods pushed his second right of the green and into a hazard.
Woods pitched his third out of the hazard but was still farther than Harrington. Woods' par putt died short of the hole and gave the tournament host his first bogey of the round.
Harrington had three putts to win the title but nestled his birdie opportunity to tap-in range and won for the third time since the Ryder Cup in September.
Harrington won the Dunhill Links Championship in October and the Asian Open two weeks ago, which is the first tournament of the 2003 European tour schedule.
'I count it,' Harrington said. 'Against Tiger? Yes. Against a world-class field? Yes.'
Woods finished with a final-round 67.
'I had a pretty good shot at it,' Woods said. 'I had two bad swings, that cost me.'
Davis Love III, the 2000 champion, finished alone in third place at 16-under-par 272. A birdie at the 18th and Love would have matched Harrington's course-record 63 from Saturday, but Love landed near where Woods went and a bogey dropped him to a 65.
Ryder Cup partners Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer shared fourth at 15-under-par 273. Jim Furyk, the first-round leader, shot a 4-under 68 and came in sixth at minus 14.
Chris DiMarco had the lowest round of the day on Sunday with an 8-under 64. He took seventh place at 275, one shot better than 2001 PGA champion David Toms and Nick Price.
Phil Mickelson, who will team with Toms in next week's WGC-EMC World Cup, carded his second consecutive 68 to come in 10th at 10-under-par 278. Retief Goosen, the 2001 U.S. Open winner, was a stroke behind Mickelson at 9-under.
Michael Campbell and Vijay Singh shot matching rounds of 69 to tie for 12th at minus 7. Mark O'Meara came in 14th at 5-under-par 283, followed by Bob Estes at 4-under par and reigning PGA champion Rich Beem, who was the only player over-par at 2-over 289.
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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

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It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.