Jimenez Grabs Control in Portugal

By Sports NetworkApril 2, 2004, 5:00 pm
PORTUGAL -- Miguel Angel Jimenez posted a 6-under 66 on Friday to move into the lead after two rounds of the Algarve Open de Portugal. Jimenez finished 36 holes at 9-under-par 135, one stroke clear of his closest competitors.
 
'It is always nice to see your name at the top of the leaderboard,' said Jimenez, an eight-time winner on the European Tour. 'I am hitting it well and hope I stay there for the rest of the tournament.'
 
Reigning Volvo PGA Championship winner Ignacio Garrido used a birdie on the closing hole to complete a round of 67 and join Damien McGrane and Terry Price in a tie for second place at 8-under-par 136. Overnight leader Peter Lawrie was one shot further back at 7-under-par 137 along with Ian Woosnam.
 
Jimenez, who titled earlier this season at the Johnnie Walker Classic, played the back side first at Le Meridien and jumped out of the gate with a birdie at the 10th, his first.
 
The Spaniard added a birdie at the 16th and reached 6 under with a birdie at the first. Jimenez continued his push for the lead at the par-5 fifth and landed his third shot inside four feet.
 
Jimenez ran home the birdie putt and took the outright lead two holes later at the seventh.
 
The 40-year-old knocked his approach to nine feet at the par-4 and drained the birdie putt. Jimenez kept on rolling on the following hole and dropped his second shot within 12 feet of the cup for his sixth birdie of the day.
 
'The conditions were very nice today,' said Jimenez. 'There was no wind on the front nine and just a little breeze on the back nine.'
 
Garrido began his move up the leaderboard with an eagle at the par-5 fifth and back-to-back birdies from the sixth.
 
The 32-year-old bogeyed the ninth and dropped another shot with a bogey at the 13th. Garrido came right back, however, and birdied two straight starting at the 14th to climb to 7 under.
 
Garrido had a chance to join his compatriot Jimenez in the lead at the par-5 last and played his second shot on the green inside 13 feet. Garrido's birdie try failed to find the bottom of the cup but he settled for a birdie to finish one shot back.
 
Lawrie, last year's rookie of the year on the European Tour, started on the 10th and birdied his first two holes to maintain the early lead.
 
The Irishman found trouble with a bogey at the 13th and came back to the field with a bogey at the 17th.
 
Lawrie countered with a birdie at the second and followed with a birdie at the fifth. He failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker for a bogey at the sixth but managed to recover again at the par-3 eighth after almost holing his tee shot.
 
He tapped in for birdie to get back to 8 under but stumbled with a bogey at the ninth, his last, to finish two shots off the pace heading into the weekend.
 
'The course was there for the taking today but I made too many bogeys,' said Lawrie, who carded a 71. 'My iron play hasn't been too good so I need to work on that. But I didn't shoot myself in the foot like I normally do. Hopefully today was the bad day.'
 
Steve Webster improved his position drastically with a 66 on Friday. The Englishman moved to 6-under-par 138 to join Nicolas Colsaerts, Jean-Francois Remesy, Jarmo Sandelin, Matthew Cort, Louis Oosthuizen and Emanuele Canonica in a tie for seventh.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-under-par 143 with 74 players making the weekend. Thomas Levet and Paul McGinley were among those who failed to qualify.
 
Related Links:
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  • Leaderboard - Algarve Open de Portugal
  • Full Coverage - Algarve Open de Portugal
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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.