Jones Tops Points for Title

By Sports NetworkJune 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
GLENVIEW, Ill. -- Brendan Jones of Australia posted the lowest round of the day on Sunday with a 4-under 67 and that propelled him to victory at the LaSalle Bank Open. He finished at 16-under-par 268 and won by a stroke over D.A. Points.
 
Points, who has now blown the 54-hole lead in this event two years in a row, played well with a 2-under 69. He took second at minus-15, four shots better than Mike Springer, who came in third place at 11-under-par 273.
 
Swirling winds greeted the players on Sunday after optimum scoring conditions were at The Glen Club on Saturday. Only three holes played par or better and the scoring average was almost two shots over par.
 
Jones opened with a pair of birdies at his first two holes to get into a share of the lead with Points, who also birdied the first. Points fell off the pace with back-to-back bogies at three and four, while Jones played even-par golf until the eighth.
 
Jones sank an 8-footer for birdie at the eighth and added one from 15 feet at No. 9 to take a two-shot lead. Points birdied nine and chipped in from the side of the green at the 10th to get within one of the top spot.
 
The two traded pars until the short, par-4 15th. Points elected to hit 3-wood off the tee and left himself in a difficult spot. He could do no better than par while Jones rolled home a 4-footer for birdie to go ahead by two.
 
Points came back at the 16th when he hit an aggressive 5-iron left of the hole, bringing water into play. His ball stopped 5 feet from the hole and he converted the birdie try to trail by one with two holes to play.
 
Both parred 17 and Points was in fairway off the par-5 18th tee. Jones pulled one in the left rough and had to lay up with his second as a tree obstructed his backswing. Jones' third stopped 25 feet right of the hole after Points hit a spectacular fairway-metal over the flag and just off the green.
 
Points chipped his ball and took dead aim at the center of the cup. Unfortunately he hit the chip too hard and the ball rolled 15 feet past the stick. Jones lagged his up to tap-in range and watched as Points had a birdie putt to force a playoff.
 
Points' putt never broke toward the hole and it was win No. 1 for Jones on the Nationwide Tour.
 
'I played well in the wind. I feel like I can control my ball a lot better than most in the wind,' said Jones, who pocketed $117,000, the largest first- place check in the United States on the Nationwide Tour. 'The wind really helped me out there today.'
 
Jones, who won on the Japanese Tour earlier this season, has four top-four finishes on the Nationwide Tour this year, including three runner-ups.
 
'If you knock on the door often enough, it's finally going to open,' said Jones, who is qualified for both next week's U.S. Open and the British Open. 'You learn from mistakes and remember it for the next time.'
 
Doug LaBelle II (70) and Fran Quinn (72) shared fourth place at 10-under-par 274, followed by Brett Wetterich (72) and Bryce Molder (71), who shared sixth at minus-9.
 
Ryan Armour (69) and Mathew Goggin (74) tied for eighth at minus-8.
 
Third-round co-leader Mark Wilson struggled badly on Sunday. He shot a 6-over 77 and tied for 10th with Craig Lile (70), Nick Watney (71), Jeff Klauk (72), Scott Petersen (74) and 2002 U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes (74). That group came in at 7-under-par 277.
 
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."