Irwin Back in Ford Drivers Seat

By Sports NetworkJuly 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Hale Irwin posted his third consecutive 4-under 68 on Saturday to take the third-round lead of the Ford Senior Players Championship. He stands at 12-under-par 204 and leads by a stroke at the TPC of Michigan.
Tom Watson
Tom Watson must put it in over-drive Sunday if he is to catch Hale Irwin.
Second-round leader Dana Quigley birdied his final two holes to card an even-par 72 in the third round. He is tied for second place with Tom McKnight (70) and 1998 winner Gil Morgan (67) at minus-11.
Don Pooley fired a 7-under 65 on Saturday and is alone in fifth place at 10-under-par 206. David Eger (65), Doug Tewell (65) and Peter Jacobsen (71) are knotted in sixth place at minus-9.
Irwin traded a bogey and a birdie over his first six holes, then bogeyed No. 8. He reclaimed the lost stroke with a birdie at the ninth to get him within one of the lead.
At the 10th, Irwin drained a 15-footer for birdie to share the lead at 10 under par. McKnight pulled ahead with a birdie of his own at the 10th, but Irwin matched him atop the leaderboard with a 7-foot birdie putt at the 12th.
Irwin's drive at the 14th left him no options but pitching back into the fairway. His third shot from 148 yards landed 12 feet from the hole, but the all-time wins leader on the Champions Tour could not convert the par-saving putt.
'That's a hole where if you average four for the week, you're doing well and I'm averaging par,' said Irwin. 'It's those kind of things. You have to say, 'this is a mistake I made, take it and don't make it worse.'
McKnight dropped a shot at the same hole to fall to 11 under par, but he reclaimed the lost stroke with a 9-foot birdie putt at the 15th. McKnight, a Champions Tour rookie, found himself two ahead of Irwin, but the 1999 champion of this event played brilliantly down the stretch.
At the 16th, Irwin landed in the fairway off the tee, then hit his second 28 feet left of the flag. He rolled in the birdie putt to get within one of the lead.
Irwin had the length to reach the par-5 17th green in two, but elected to lay up short of the putting surface. He hit a wedge to 8 feet and sank the putt to reclaim a share of the lead at minus-12.
He parred 18, then watched as McKnight made a mess of the 18th.
McKnight split the fairway with his drive, but pushed his approach into the rough on the right side. He tried some type of a flop shot, but pitched it over the hole into a bunker on the other side. McKnight blasted out to 4 feet and made the bogey putt to fall one behind Irwin.
'I played a pretty solid round today,' said McKnight, who finished second at the 2004 Q-school. 'I had a couple of bad shots that cost me. I made the bogey on 18 and I was probably lucky to do that.'
McKnight, like everyone else in the field, will now be looking at Irwin, who won this title by seven shots over Graham Marsh in 1999.
'I'm trying to play this course intelligently,' said Irwin. 'It's the kind of course where you try to do some things that aren't there, you can pay the penalty. I've done that a few times. I tried to use experience and good judgment today.'
Irwin already has two titles in 2005, the Turtle Bay Championship and the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am. He owns the Champions Tour record with 42 victories, but he has only two major championships since the start of the 2000 season. If he were to win on Sunday, Irwin would tie Jack Nicklaus for first in Champions Tour majors with eight.
Gary McCord had it to 11 under thanks to an eagle at the 17th, but a double bogey at the last knocked him down the leaderboard. He carded a 3-under 69 and is tied for ninth place with Tom Watson (70), Morris Hatalsky (70), Isao Aoki (73) and last week's Commerce Bank Championship winner Ron Streck (72). The group came in at 8-under-par 208.
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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.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.