Irwin Seizes Lead in Hawaii

By Sports NetworkOctober 6, 2001, 4:00 pm
Hale Irwin tallied birdies on two of the last three holes to jump out to a two-shot lead after Saturday's second round of the Turtle Bay Championship.
 
He finished with the day's best round of 4-under 68 to post a 36-hole total of 7-under-par 137 in windy conditions on the North Shore of Oahu.
 
Hubert Green shot 2-under 70 for a share 5-under 139 with first-round co-leader John Jacobs, who followed his opening 68 with a 71. Don Pooley, making only his fifth Senior Tour start after turning 50 in late August, carded a 71 to finish alone in fourth place at minus-four.
 
Irwin, one stroke off the lead at the start of the day, carded back-to-back birdies when he followed a 25-foot putt at the sixth hole with a 10-footer at the seventh. He reeled off six straight pars, including saves from six and eight feet, before surrounding a bogey at the 15th with birdies at Nos. 14 and 16.
 
Irwin closed with a two-putt birdie from 40 feet at the 539-yard, par-five 18th.
 
Irwin, who is looking to extend his lead on the all-time Senior Tour win list, said his play has been affected by the 15 to 30 mile per hour winds that have whipped the Turtle Bay Resort's Palmer Course the first two days.
 
'Hardest thing for me today was committing to the shot,' the 56-year-old Irwin noted. 'It's been a while since we've played in this kind of gusting wind.'
 
The scoring average for the field rose from 73.538 in round one to 74.130 on Saturday. The number of sub-70 scores dropped to just three after nine were recorded on Friday.
 
Irwin has won three Senior Tour titles -- as well as two unofficial Senior Skins Games -- in Hawaii. The most recent of his official Hawaiian wins came at the 2000 Kaanapali Classic in Maui, the event that was replaced on the 2001 schedule by the Turtle Bay Championship.
 
Irwin, who tied Lee Trevino for first in Senior Tour victories with 29 after his Kaanapali Classic triumph late last season, took over the top spot with a win at the inaugural Siebel Classic in March. He then moved two ahead of Trevino with his 31st career victory on the elder circuit, at Bruno's Memorial Classic in April.
 
So far this year Irwin has won two of the four tournaments in which he has taken at least a share of the lead into the final round.
 
Dick Mast held the lead at 6-under after birdieing three of the last four holes of his front nine. He suffered four bogeys on the back side, however, to finish tied for fifth place with an even-par 72.
 
George Archer was only one stroke behind Irwin through 17 holes Saturday but double-bogeyed the 18th to join Mast at 3-under 141. Archer also shot 72.
 
Among seven players knotted at two-under was Allen Doyle, who currently tops the season money list with $2,332,942. Doyle made the biggest move in round two, firing a 3-under 69 to vault from a tie for 34th into a tie for seventh place.
 
Click Here for Full-Field Scores from the Turtle Bay Championship.
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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x