Irwin In the Hunt at Turtle Bay
The two-time defending champion was one shot back after the opening round and jumped out of the gate with two birdies over the first five holes under windy conditions at the Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort.
Irwin continued to plug along and drained a 30-footer for birdie at the par-4 11th to reach 6-under. Irwin was not as fortunate with the putter at the 15th where he failed to save par from six feet out.
The 57-year-old recovered with a birdie at the 16th after he hit his second shot within two feet of the hole. He gave the shot back at the 17th but closed with a five-foot birdie at the last.
'I don't feel like I've played my best golf yet,' said Irwin, who is looking for his fourth win at this event. 'If I play reasonably well, I like my chances.'
Mast picked up his first birdie of the day at the third but struggled with a bogey at the very next hole. At the par-4 14th, Mast hit a wedge to 30 feet and ran home the putt for birdie.
The 51-year-old rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at the 16th and two-putted for birdie at the par-5 last for a round of 67.
'You need to hit the ball solid in the wind,' said Mast, who is seeking his first win on the Senior Tour. 'When I made mistakes I was able to scramble. I'll try to shoot 67 tomorrow and see what happens.'
Smith carded a bogey-free 69 for his share of first while Hatalsky birdied the par-5 18th to complete the logjam.
'I felt like I played pretty well,' said Hatalsky, who won the Uniting Fore Care Classic in August. 'I missed a few short putts but overall I'm pleased with the way I played. Routine putts become very difficult in this wind.'
Gary McCord was one shot off the lead at 5-under-par 139. Bob Gilder, a four-time winner on tour this season, was one shot further back after a round of 66. Gilder finished alongside Isao Aoki, John Bland and Jim Albus at 4-under-par 140.
R.W. Eaks and Steve Stull, who shared the first-round lead with Albus, finished as part of a group at 3-under-par 141. The duo was joined by Dana Quigley, Sammy Rachels, Steve Veriato, Rodger Davis and Mark Pfeil in a tie for 10th.
U.S. Senior Open winner Don Pooley is four shots off the lead along with Jim Ahern at 2-under-par 142.
Andy North, Allen Doyle, Doug Johnson, John Schroeder, Roy Vucinich and Bruce Summerhays are tied at 1-under-par 143.
Full-field scores from Turtle Bay Championship
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
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."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
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.'"
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."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
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."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
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.