Lietzke Races to Audi Victory

By Sports NetworkFebruary 24, 2002, 5:00 pm
Bruce Lietzke came from five shots down on Sunday to shoot a bogey-free 67 and win the Audi Senior Classic, his third title in 14 starts on the Senior Tour. His 8-under-par 208 was good enough for a one-shot win over Hale Irwin and Gary McCord, who in the end, was the only player who could catch Lietzke.
 
The swing took place when Lietzke was at 17 and with McCord playing the 16th in the group behind. Lietzke knocked his tee shot 12 feet from the hole at the par-3 17th and watched his ball drop into the left side of the cup to make birdie and match McCord at 8-under-par.

McCord, who took the one-shot lead with a 10-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the 15th, drove into the right rough at 16. His second shot missed the green short and right and his chip on to the green was less than spectacular, stopping 15 feet from the hole. McCord missed the par save left to fall one behind Lietzke with two holes to play.
 
Lietzke nearly dropped his swinging 20-foot birdie try in the side of the cup at 18, but settled for par and a one-shot clubhouse lead. McCord stiffed his tee ball seven feet from the stick at No. 17 but his bid to tie Lietzke for the lead fell one foot short of the hole.
 
McCord, making his first start of the season after weeks of broadcasting for CBS, nailed a 3-wood down the fairway at 18 but he left himself with a length to the hole that was in between clubs. He went with the less-lofted club and it did not work out, pushing his approach 65 feet right of the hole.

McCord gave it a run but missed short, giving Lietzke his first title of 2002.

'It was a great weekend,' said Lietzke, who finished 66-67. 'The golf course played into my hands when the wind quit blowing this weekend. I started hitting it close and made some putts. It worked on the weekend.'

Ed Dougherty and Bruce Fleisher occupied the top spots on the leaderboard heading into the final round but back-nine bogeys cost them dearly.

Dougherty, the overnight leader, dropped shots at 12 and 13 to fall out of contention while Fleisher was in position to capture the title until bogeys at the Club de Golf Chapultepec's final two par-3s, the 13th and 17th, also cost Fleisher a chance at his 15th Senior Tour victory.
 
McCord grabbed the lead around the turn thanks to a 60-foot, left-to-right eagle putt at No. 8. He added birdies at nine and 11 to extend the lead but he let the field back in the tournament at 12 when he missed a seven-foot par save.
 
Lietzke started to claw into the tournament on the front nine with birdies at four and eight but he drew within one of McCord with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 11th. He played a gorgeous iron shot into the 12th green that stopped two feet from the hole and when McCord bogeyed the 12th, Lietzke was tied for the lead.

Lietzke has his opportunities to pull away from McCord, first at the 13th when his tee shot landed 10 feet short of the hole. His birdie try targeted the hole but turned right at the last second, costing Lietzke a birdie and a one-shot lead.

At 15, Lietzke hit a beautiful pitch over trees for his third from the right rough that came to rest six feet from the hole. Once again failed to capitalize, leaving the green with a five but he remained tied for the lead in the championship after the unlikely par.
 
'I couldn't have made a par going low,' said Lietzke, referring to his options from the rough at 15. 'All of a sudden there was an opening real high that I didn't see the first time. I was trying to get it 15 feet, but I hit it six feet.
 
'Maybe the moral there is to take a little extra time and check all of your options. I found the option there that allowed me to make a par and keep my momentum.'
 
It was his birdie at 17, coupled with McCord's mistake at 16 that gave Lietzke his third title on the Senior Tour and the $255,000 first-prize check.
 
McCord finished with a 69 in his bid for his third Senior Tour title and his first since the 1999 Senior Tour Championship.
 
Irwin once again snuck up on the field on Sunday. He reached 5-under-par before he dropped a shot at the par-3 13th but rebounded with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15.

Irwin missed an eight-foot birdie putt that would have tied him for the lead at 16 but after Lietzke went to 8-under, Irwin could not get closer. He ran home a 10-foot birdie at 17 and had a final chance at reaching 8-under on the 18th.
 
The three-time U.S. Open champion left himself only six feet but his putt missed right at the end and instead gave Irwin his second runner-up finish this season.

'I'm not getting off to that good start and I just put myself in such a position to crawl back so far,' said Irwin, who lost by one stroke to Doug Tewell last week at the Verizon Classic. 'I hit a good putt at the last hole. That's the nature of the game.'
 
Irwin finished with a five-under 67.
 
Full-field scores from the Audi Senior Classic
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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.