Howell Perry Share Lead

By Sports NetworkNovember 6, 2003, 5:00 pm
HOUSTON -- Charles Howell III and Kenny Perry posted matching rounds of 4-under-par 67 Thursday to take the first-round lead of the season-ending Tour Championship at Champions Golf Club.
 
The Tour Championship appeared to be a showdown between defending champion Vijay Singh and No. 1 player in the world Tiger Woods. They rank 1-2 on the PGA Tour money list, are the front-runners for Player of the Year honors and played together in Thursday's opening round.
 
On Thursday, neither really lived up to the match-up. Woods carded a 1-under 70 while Singh, currently tops in the money race, struggled to a 2-over 73.
 
Woods collected his first birdie of the round at the fourth when he knocked a 4-iron to six feet. He hit an even better 4-iron at the par-5 fifth as his ball stopped three feet from the stick to set up eagle and get Woods into a share of the lead at 3 under par.
 
Woods, the 1999 Tour Championship winner, parred five holes around the turn but fell apart, starting at No. 11. He missed a 20-footer to save par at the hole and made it back-to-back bogeys at the 12th when he hit a horrible shot out of a greenside bunker.
 
The five-time winner on tour this season drove through the dog leg at the par-5 13th but hit a nice shot to find a greenside bunker. His blast from the sand came up 35 feet short and his birdie try missed the hole. Woods left himself with four feet for par but that putt drifted left and it was Woods' third consecutive bogey.
 
Woods rallied with a birdie at the 14th and added a 25-foot birdie putt at the 16th to reach minus-2. Unfortunately, Woods three-putted from 20 feet for bogey at the last to fall into a share of 13th.
 
Singh never got on track Thursday with three bogeys and a birdie in his first 12 holes. He failed to give himself good looks on the back nine and is tied for 23rd place in the elite 31-man field, reserved for the top players on the money list.
 
Spoiling the much-anticipated showdown in round one were Howell and Perry. Howell, winless this season but 27th on the money list, mixed a birdie and bogey over his first five holes.
 
On the back nine, Howell hit a 3-iron to a foot at the 230-yard 13th to go 1 under for the tournament. He reached the green in two at the par-5 13th and two-putted for birdie, then sank a 10-footer to make it three birdies in a row.
 
Howell, who finished second to Singh last year, took the clubhouse lead at the 18th when he knocked a 9-iron to 39 feet. He canned the birdie putt to take a piece of the first-round lead for the second consecutive week.
 
'I guess I like Thursdays, I don't know,' said Howell, who tied for 24th last week in Tampa. 'It was a new wind blowing. We played two practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday with literally absolutely no wind at all. Today there was a bit of wind blowing and from a different direction. You have to kind of expect that, I think, in the Midwest.'
 
Perry had by far the steadiest round of the day Thursday. He was the only player in the field to go bogeyless and he tallied his first birdie at the par-5 ninth.
 
Perry recorded back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 to go 3 under and had some opportunities to go lower. He missed a four-foot birdie chance at the 15th then failed to convert a 12-footer at No. 17.
 
On the closing hole, Perry hit his approach to three feet and would not be denied this birdie. He rolled in the putt to match Howell in first place.
 
Perry was the hottest golfer in the world over the summer with three victories and impressive performances in both the U.S. Open and British Open. He has since fallen down the charts in the race for Player of the Year despite a possible fourth victory on Sunday.
 
'I'm probably the more feel good story of the year for the over-40 clan and playing so well,' admitted Perry. 'I've done so much more than I ever dreamed I would ever do in one year. It's voted on by the players. It's up to them to vote but it's just a phenomenal year for Kenny Perry.'
 
Chris DiMarco, Jerry Kelly and Fred Funk are tied for third place at 3-under-par 68. Chris Riley, Robert Allenby, Briny Baird, Justin Leonard, Jonathan Kaye, 2001 U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen and 2001 PGA Champion David Toms share sixth at minus-2.
 
Ernie Els joined Woods at 1 under par, U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk carded an even-par 71, Master champion Mike Weir shot a 1-over 72 and Davis Love III played poorly on the way to the clubhouse and finished with a 2-over-par 73.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.