Lietzke Triples Last to Share Lead

By Sports NetworkMarch 8, 2003, 5:00 pm
COL. LOMAS ALTAS, Mexico -- Tom Jenkins fired a 7-under 65 Saturday to jump into a three-way tie atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the MasterCard Classic. Jenkins, Eamonn Darcy (68) and defending champion Bruce Lietzke (68) share first place at 9-under-par 135.
Isao Aoki and Tom Kite share fourth place at 7-under-par 137 with Steve Veriato one shot further back.
Jenkins began his day five shots off Allen Doyle's pace. He started his climb up the leaderboard with back-to-back birdies from the third. Jenkins, who is a three-time winner on the Champions Tour, went on to birdie the par-4 eighth to make the turn at minus-5 for the tournament.
Jenkins started his back nine with a birdie at the par-4 10th. However, he gave that stroke back with a bogey at the next.
The University of Houston alum moved to 5-under for his round with a birdie at the par-3 14th. Jenkins went on to close out his round with back-to-back birdies from the 17th to grab a share of the lead.
Lietzke, who came from behind to win last year's title, had the lead to himself until he found trouble at the 18th.
On the closing hole, he dumped one shot in the water and also had to blast out from a buried lie in a bunker. He triple-bogeyed the hole to fall into a share of the lead.
'I played 17 holes like Tiger Woods and the 18th hole like my grandmother,' said Lietzke.
He birdied three straight holes from the third to get to minus-8 and around the turn, he kept that going with birdies at Nos. 10 and 12.
Lietzke extended his lead with birdies at 15 and 17 to move to 12-under for the tournament before the mishap at 18.
'That was a really great round other than the last hole,' said Lietzke, who is trying to be the first Champions Tour player since Hale Irwin to successfully defend a title.
Irwin accomplished that at the Turtle Bay Championship last fall.
Darcy, who is making his Champions Tour debut, started his round with three straight pars. He then birdied the par-4 fourth from four feet. Darcy later rolled in a 40-footer for birdie at the seventh and a 20-footer at the ninth to make the turn at eight-under.
The Irishman notched consecutive birdies starting with a 15-footer at the 13th to move to the top of the leaderboard at minus-10. However, Darcy faltered down the stretch with a bogey at the 18th, when he was unable to get up-and-down from a bunker, to fall into a share of the lead.
'I played pretty solid for 17 holes until the 18th,' said Darcy. 'I'm struggling a little bit with my irons.'
The long-time European Tour player is pleased to be near the top in his first event on the Champions Tour.
'I'm surprised a little where I am because this is my first event,' Darcy said. 'I've played very little golf since last October. I am very happy where I am.'
Irwin, Seiji Ebihara, David Eger, Walter Hall and Bobby Walzel share seventh place at 5-under-par 139.
Jim Thorpe withdrew from the tournament after an incident in Mexico City Friday evening. Thorpe was among a group of six golfers and two caddies that were out to dinner at a local restaurant. While they were dining, the men were robbed at gun point. Some wrist watches and other personal items were taken.
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x