Lehman Leads Tiger Four Back at Buick

By Sports NetworkJanuary 21, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO -- First-round leader Tom Lehman, the American Ryder Cup captain, posted a 5-under 67 on Friday to take the lead during the second round of the Buick Invitational. He stands at 15-under-par 129 and is three ahead as the second round was suspended for darkness.
 
There was a fog delay that took up almost three hours on Friday. Players were unable to see in front of them, but play resumed. Twenty-three groups will return to Torrey Pines Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (ET) to complete the second round.
 
Lehman posted his 67 on the more difficult South Course. Players rotate between the North and South Courses over the first two rounds before the final two are contested at the South Course.
 
Peter Lonard of Australia is alone in second place at 12 under par. He is 7 under in his second round, but has one more hole to play Saturday morning.
 
Tiger Woods is in third at minus-11. The three-time former champion is 8 under through 17 holes at the North Course and happy to be where he is in the tournament since he battled the flu earlier this week.
 
'I'm feeling better, feeling stronger, I just don't have my energy back or my stamina, because I lost so much weight so fast,' said Woods. 'It's going to take a little time before I put that weight back, but I'll take right where I'm at.'
 
Woods is ahead in the battle of the 'Big Four,' as Retief Goosen is the only player ranked in the top-5 in the World Rankings not on hand this week.
 
Ernie Els, the third-ranked player in the world, carded a 1-under 71 at the South Course and is part of a group tied for eighth place at 8-under-par 136.
 
Phil Mickelson, No. 5 in the rankings, improved in the second round of his 2005 season debut. He fired a 5-under 67 and the reigning Masters champion moved into a tie for 20th at minus-5.
 
Vijay Singh, the top player in the sport, continued his struggle in this event. Last year, Singh missed his only cut here, and on Friday, he is 2 under par with one hole to play at the North Course. He stands at 3 under for the tournament.
 
For the second consecutive day, Lehman upstaged those ranked ahead of him.
 
He opened on the back nine at the South Course and birdied the 11th from 15 feet. Lehman three-putted the 12th from 70 feet for a bogey, but rebounded with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 13th.
 
Lehman parred out until the first when he tallied back-to-back, 12-foot birdie putts at one and two. He dropped shots at three and five, but closed out his round in similar fashion to Thursday's opening round. In the first round, Lehman rattled of six straight birdies to close, but on Friday the number was less with a slight interruption in between.
 
He missed the green left with his second shot at six, but chipped to a foot and tapped in for birdie. The Ryder Cup captain knocked a 5-wood to 15 feet to set up birdie at seven. Before he reached the green to hole his birdie putt, the horn sounded, but Lehman was not complaining.
 
'I felt the fog delay actually worked in my favor,' admitted Lehman. 'I was struggling a bit with my swing, and thought the break actually helped me out. I went to the range and hit balls for an hour and a half, and felt like I kind of got back on rhythm again.'
 
Lehman definitely got back into rhythm. At the par-3 eighth, Lehman hit a 7-iron to 5 feet and sank the putt. He closed his round with a fourth consecutive birdie when he drove in the rough, but pitched out and hit and 8-iron to 15 feet.
 
'I putted very well,' said Lehman, who matched Lennie Clements 1996 36-hole record of 129. 'I didn't hit the ball all that well, it was streaky, at best. I made my share of bogeys, I made eight birdies. So when I hit it close I took advantage of it.'
 
Kevin Sutherland (66) and Dudley Hart (69) share fourth place at 10-under-par 134.
 
Luke Donald, who lost in a playoff last year to John Daly, shot a 5-under 67 and is tied for sixth place at 9-under-par 135. Dean Wilson is also at 9 under par as he is even on his round through 12 holes at the South Course.
 
Arron Oberholser (72), Scott Hend (64) and Aaron Baddeley (70) are tied with Els in eighth place at minus-eight. Tom Gillis and Pat Perez are 8 under and will have to finish their second rounds on Saturday.
 
Daly posted a 2-under 70 and is in at 2-under-par 142, which is currently the cut line.
 
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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.