Kaye In Positon For First PGA Tour Victory

By Sports NetworkJune 22, 2002, 4:00 pm
Cromwell, CT - Jonathan Kaye birdied three of the final six holes Saturday en route to a five-under 65 and a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Greater Hartford Open. The 31-year-old Kaye, who has played full time on the PGA Tour since 1998, finished at 13-under-par 197 and will take the lead into a final round for the first time in his career.
'I'll go out and just keep doing what I've been doing,' he said. 'It would be a dream come true, you know, to win on the Tour.'
Alone in second at 12-under 198 was Scott Verplank, who reeled off six straight birdies on the back nine and posted a seven-under 63 to match the low round of the tournament. Scott Hoch survived a shaky finish to shoot a 66 for third place at 11-under, while Davis Love III was three strokes off the pace after a 68.
'I had some bounces that didn't go my way, so I left enough out there for tomorrow,' said Love, a co-leader after two rounds with Kaye and Briny Baird.
Kaye rolled in a 20-foot putt at the ninth hole to complete the front side at the TPC at River Highlands in two-under 33. The birdie moved him to 10-under and he remained there for the next few holes despite a poor tee shot at the par-four 10th.
'I lost my concentration and sprayed one out to the right and it hit the snack bar there in the trees, about a yard from out of bounds,' he explained. 'Then I hacked out a six-iron from 150 (yards) to about four feet for par.'
Kaye, using a new set of Cleveland irons this week, knocked a four-iron pin- high at the par-five 13th, then chipped to four feet to set up a birdie. He sank a six-foot birdie putt at the 15th and a two-footer at the 17th for the outright lead.
With a chance to widen the gap heading into the final day, Kaye just missed a 10-foot birdie attempt at the 18th.
'I'm not going to dwell on that,' said Kaye, a three-time runner-up on the PGA Tour.
Verplank, selected as a captain's pick by Curtis Strange for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, tallied birdies at 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 with putts in the three- to 10-foot range.
'When you kind of get rolling like that, you just basically try to get out of your own way,' said Verplank, who fired a course-record-tying 61 in the final round of last year's GHO. 'I was hitting some nice solid shots and leaving myself with putts.'
The birdie run ended when Verplank drove into a fairway bunker at the 18th. He came up short of the green when he caught his next shot heavy out of the sand, but chipped to six feet and holed the putt to save par.
Hoch made six birdies over the first 13 holes Saturday to claim the lead at 12-under. But his lay-up drive at the 296-yard 15th hole found a fairway bunker and his second shot rolled off the front of the green. Hoch's pitch checked up way short and he three-putted from there for a double-bogey six.
Although he recovered one of the lost strokes with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 16th, Hoch pushed his tee shot into the water at 17 and took a bogey. He capped his see-saw finish with a birdie at the 18th, where he stuffed his approach to two feet.
'Should be leading, but threw away some shots at the end,' said Hoch, who last year became the first player age 45 or older to win twice in the same season since Hale Irwin in 1990.
Full field scores from the Canon Greater Hartford Open
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.