Harris Tops Jenkins in Champions Playoff

By Sports NetworkJune 25, 2006, 4:00 pm
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- John Harris, the 1993 U.S. Amateur champion, earned his first professional victory at the Commerce Bank Championship on Sunday when he defeated Tom Jenkins in a playoff.
 
'I'm pretty overwhelmed,' said Harris, who pocketed $225,000 for the victory. 'I'm really proud of the way I played. It's been a long four years.'
 
Harris fired a 7-under 64 in the final round to get into the clubhouse at 11-under-par 202. Jenkins birdied his 17th hole and made par from the rough at 18 for a 2-under 69.
 
The pair returned to the par-4 closing hole for the playoff. Harris, who bogeyed the hole in both the second and third rounds, spilt the fairway with his drive, while Jenkins landed in the right rough.
 
Jenkins had all kinds of tree trouble with his second, but played a nice shot short of the green. Harris hit a sensational 6-iron 6 feet right of the flag.
 
Jenkins pitched his third almost 7 feet from the hole, then drained the par save to apply the pressure on Harris. The former amateur star calmly sank his birdie putt for the win.
 
'I played this hole twice today and bogeyed it both times so I felt like it owed me something,' said Harris. 'I visualized good shots and they came off just the way I looked at them.'
 
The playoff culminated a long day at the Red Course at Eisenhower Park on Sunday. Heavy rain forced the suspension of play on Saturday, so most of the field completed the second round on Sunday before the final round.
 
Jay Haas, who was looking for his fourth consecutive win on the Champions Tour, let one get away on Sunday. He missed a 4-foot birdie putt on 17, then could not birdie the last to get into the extra session.
 
He shot a 2-under 69 and tied for third with Gil Morgan, who also carded a 69 in the final round, and Andy Bean, who bogeyed the last to miss the playoff and shoot a 4-under 67. The group came in at 10-under-par 203.
 
Dana Quigley posted a 6-under 65 in the final round to come in sixth place at minus-9.
 
Harris flew out of the gate in Sunday's final round with birdies at two, three and six. He closed his front nine with a birdie at the ninth, but his play on the back nine is what got him to the winner's circle.
 
He birdied the 11th and 12th holes, but when his 20-footer at the par-3 13th found the bottom of the cup, he found himself tied for the lead with Bean.
 
Bean, who will have to wait for Champions Tour win No. 1, fell down the leaderboard when his approach shot at 13 plugged in a bunker. He made bogey, but got the shot back with a 4-foot birdie putt at the next hole.
 
Harris, playing several groups ahead, rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at the 16th to stay one ahead of Bean. Bean dropped a shot at the 16th to fall two back, but tapped in a short birdie putt at the par-5 17th to get within one.
 
Harris came back to the field at 18. His drive found the fairway, but his approach sailed right of the green. Harris chipped his third to 35 feet and two-putted to fall back into a tie with Bean.
 
Bean was the next to tumble at the final hole. He drove into the right rough and his second landed short and left of the green. Bean hit his third 6 feet past the hole and missed the par putt, leaving Jenkins, Haas and Morgan as the only players who could tie Harris.
 
Haas birdied the 14th to get to minus-10, but could not get anything to fall the rest of the way. He had a 4-footer at 17, but pushed it.
 
Jenkins, who collected only one previous birdie at the seventh, rolled in a 4-footer of his own for a birdie at the 17th. Morgan holed an 18-footer at the same hole to get within one.
 
At the 18th, Jenkins was tied for the lead with Harris, while Morgan and Haas needed birdies to tie. Jenkins drove into the right rough and came up short of the putting surface with his second. Morgan never factored into the hole and Haas gave himself a 25-foot chance to reach 11 under par.
 
Jenkins chipped to 2 feet and kicked in the par putt. Haas missed his birdie try to leave Harris and Jenkins to the playoff.
 
Dave Eichelberger, Scott Simpson and Massy Kuramoto all carded rounds of 2- under 69 on Sunday. They tied for seventh place with Tom Wargo, who shot a 70 in the final round, at 8-under-par 205.
 
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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.