Levi on Top for Fifth Straight Round

By Sports NetworkOctober 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Administaff Small Business ClassicSPRING, Texas -- Wayne Levi, who won last week's Constellation Energy Classic, posted a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take the second-round lead of the inaugural Adminstaff Small Business Classic. He stands at 13-under-par 131 and is two ahead of D.A. Weibring at Augusta Pines Golf Club.
 
Levi went wire-to-wire for the victory last week and shared the lead on Friday with Walter Hall. This is the fifth consecutive round that Levi has had at least a piece of the lead, and Levi could become the first player in Champions Tour history to win two consecutive events in wire-to-wire fashion.
 
'Mentally, this game is such a drain,' said Levi. 'It's tough to play good one week and come back and do it again the next week. I think I've got plenty left in the tank.'
 
Weibring fired a 7-under 65, while Hale Irwin, the all-time leader in Champions Tour victories, shot a 4-under 68 and is alone in third place at minus-9.
 
Levi took control of the tournament early in Saturday's second round. He knocked a sand-wedge to a foot to set up birdie at one and made it two in a row with a 15-footer at the par-5 second.
 
Levi collected his third birdie in a row at the par-3 third hole when he hit a 7-iron to 5 feet. He had a good look at birdie from 10 feet at the fourth, but missed. Levi hit another spectacular sand-wedge approach at the fifth, also stopping a foot from the hole, for his fourth birdie in five holes. He missed a 3-foot birdie putt at the sixth that could have put him further in the lead.
 
'I got off to another good start,' said Levi. 'I had a good chance at birdie for the first six holes. I really hit it good on the front nine.'
 
Levi parred his remaining holes on the front nine, then sank a 9-footer for birdie at the 10th. He laid up short of the green with his second at the par-5 13th, then hit a lob-wedge over the flag that spun back to 2 feet. Levi made that birdie putt to reach 14 under par for the championship.
 
At the par-3 17th, Levi's 4-wood approach landed in a greenside bunker. His ball plugged in the trap and his blast from the sand barely landed on the putting surface. Levi could not save par and recorded his first bogey in 53 holes, or his first since the 17th hole of Saturday's second round one week ago.
 
'I can't complain with 67,' said Levi, who will be in search of his third victory on the Champions Tour. 'If I can make four or five birdies, they'll have a tough time beating me. When I get the lead, I think I produce greater focus. I'm paying attention to everything that's going on.'
 
Weibring, who won this year's Allianz Championship, hit a 4-wood to 10 feet to set up eagle at the par-5 second. He rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at three, then added a 35-foot birdie putt at four to go 4 under in his first four holes.
 
Weibring cooled off as his next birdie came at the 10th. He holed a 15-foot birdie putt from off the green at the 13th, then got within two of Levi's lead with a 12-footer for birdie at the last.
 
'I feel good about the way I'm playing,' said Weibring, who will also be looking for his third title on the elder circuit Sunday. 'I have always wanted to win in Texas and tomorrow, I'll have a chance.'
 
Reigning U.S. Senior Open champion Peter Jacobsen (67), Jim Thorpe (69), John Harris (69), Hall (72) and Jim Dent (70) share fourth place at 8-under-par 136.
 
Andy Bean (67), Mark Johnson (67), Morris Hatalsky (69), Bob Gilder (69) and Tom Kite are tied for ninth at minus-7.
 
If Craig Stadler is going to tie Chi Chi Rodriguez' Champions Tour record of four consecutive wins, he's got a lot of work ahead of him on Sunday. Stadler managed a 1-under 71 on Saturday and is part of a group tied for 30th at minus-4.
 
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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.