Johnson Wins Tour Champ Money Title

By Sports NetworkNovember 4, 2007, 5:00 pm
Nationwide TourLAKESIDE, Calif. -- Richard Johnson posted a 4-under 67 Sunday to win the Nationwide Tour Championship.
Johnson's winning total of 20-under-par 264 shattered the old scoring record. Chris Couch set the old mark of 270 in 2003.
With the win and the $139,500 first-place check, Johnson overtook Roland Thatcher for the top spot on the money list.
'It's nice. I didn't come in here with any goals of getting into the No. 1 spot,' admitted Johnson. 'I figured I had to win and Roland had to fall off a little bit there. I just had a fun week.'
Michael Letzig, who triple-bogeyed the 18th on Saturday, fought back with a 5-under 66 to end alone in second place at 19-under-par 265. He also moved to 12th on the money list as the top 25 gained their PGA TOUR cards for next season.
Tom Scherrer and Martin Laird shared third place at minus-18. Scherrer jumped from 27th to 20th on the money list to earn his PGA TOUR card.
Brenden Pappas and Scott Gardiner were one stroke further back at 17-under-par 267. Pappas, who was 25th on the money list for the last four weeks, climbed to 22nd and will compete on the PGA TOUR next year.
'I was so nervous out there today,' admitted Pappas. 'I took probably two minutes on every shot the last three holes just trying to compose myself. I was trying to get to a place where I was relaxed and could perform'
Johnson got off to a flying start with an eagle on the par-5 opening hole. He came right back with a birdie on the second and another on the fourth to get to 20-under.
The Welshman stumbled to his first bogey on the par-3 seventh. He parred five straight from there.
Johnson moved back to 20 under with a birdie on the par-5 13th at Barona Creek Golf Club. He picked up another birdie on 17 to pad his lead. Johnson did close with a bogey, but that only cut his winning margin from two to one.
'I got off to a flyer today. I guess I was five ahead at one point and I started wondering if I could blow this one,' joked Johnson, who won for the fourth time on the Nationwide Tour.
Letzig, who was in control of the tournament until Saturday's 18th hole, also got off to a hot start. He birdied three of the first five holes to move to minus-17.
The 27-year-old Letzig stumbled to his only bogey on the par-3 seventh. He parred the next two and trailed by three around the turn.
Letzig dropped in back-to-back birdie putts from the 13th to get within one. Johnson created room with his birdies on 13 and 17, but Letzig closed the gap with a birdie on 17.
'That was very gratifying. I made a mess of this hole (Saturday) and man I had a hard time letting it go,' said Letzig of the 18th hole. 'It was really, really good to come out and get off to a great start like I did.'
David Hearn fired a 7-under 65 to take seventh at 16-under-par 268. Kelly Grunewald, Garth Mulroy, B.J. Staten and James Driscoll shared eighth at minus-15.
The top 25 on the money list finished like this: Johnson, Thatcher, three- time winner this year Nick Flanagan, Jon Mills, Jason Day, Nicholas Thompson, Matthew Jones, Justin Bolli, Patrick Sheehan, Paul Claxton, Ron Whittaker, Letzig, Laird, Kyle Thompson, Omar Uresti, Marc Turnesa, Brad Elder, Chez Reavie, John Riegger, Tom Scherrer, Scott Sterling, Pappas, Chad Collins, Driscoll and Jimmy Walker.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Nationwide Tour Championship
  • Full Coverage - Nationwide Tour Championship
  • Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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.'"

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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."

    Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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.