Logjam at Nationwide Tour Championship

By Sports NetworkNovember 10, 2006, 5:00 pm
Nationwide Tour Championship at the HoustonianRICHMOND, Texas -- Matt Kuchar fired a 7-under 65 Friday to jump into a share of the lead after the second round of the Nationwide Tour Championship.
 
Kuchar stands at 8-under-par 136. He was joined there by Chris Baryla (67), Brandt Snedeker (68) as well as Cliff Kresge (69) and Andrew Buckle (69), who shared the first-round lead with Gary Christian.
 
Craig Kanada posted the low round of the day and a new course record with his 8-under 64. That helped him leap into a tie for sixth at minus-7. He stands alongside Tim O'Neal and Johnson Wagner.
 
'I was so tired I didn't get nervous,' said Kanada, who had trouble sleeping after watching the Rutgers-Louisville football game Thursday night. 'I didn't even know what I was shooting. I had to look at the standard bearer to figure it out. If I keep making putts I can have a pretty good weekend.'
 
The focus for players this week is their chance to gain their PGA TOUR card for 2007. Players must finish inside the top 20 on the money list to earn their privileges. Those towards the bottom end of the top 20 are most vulnerable, however no more than two players have ever been bumped out in the past in the final event of the year.
 
Of the five leaders, Baryla stands to gain the most. He is the only one of the five leaders not currently in the top 20. Currently 60th on the money list, Baryla needs a win this week to earn his PGA TOUR card for next year.
 
Baryla got off to a quick start with three birdies in the first four holes to move to minus-6. He collected back-to-back birdies from the 11th at The Houstonian.
 
The 24-year-old Baryla birdied the 14th to move to 9 under. He wrapped bogeys on 15 and 17 around a birdie on 16 to end at minus-8.
 
Buckle, who is 18th on the money list and needs a solid finish this week, was even-par for his round through five holes with a birdie and a bogey. Buckle birdied six and seven, but faltered to a bogey on nine to turn at minus-6.
 
The Australian climbed to 9 under with three birdies between the 10th and 16th. Buckle tripped to a bogey on 17 to slip to 8 under.
 
Snedeker, who is 10th on the money list, was 2 under after nine holes thanks to four birdies and two bogeys. On the back nine, he moved into a share of the lead with three more birdies and a bogey on 13.
 
Kresge, who is the most secure of the four leaders standing fourth on the money list, opened with consecutive birdies from the first to move to minus-7.
 
He parred 11 in a row before a birdie on 14. Kresge also birdied 15, but bogeyed the last to fall back into a tie for the lead.
 
'That would be good to see,' said Kresge of the forecast for stronger winds on Saturday. 'If you're a good player you simply adapt.'
 
Kuchar, 12th on the money list, flew out of the gate with three straight birdies from the first. He stumbled to bogey on No. 8, but birdied the next three to move to minus-6. Kuchar eagled the par-5 16th and parred the final two holes for his share of the lead.
 
Boo Weekley is alone in ninth place at 6-under-par 138 after his second straight 3-under 69.
 
Craig Bowden, who is third on the money list, stands alongside Steve Marino, Brenden Pappas, Kyle Reifers, Chris Tidland, Peter Tomasulo, Paul Claxton, Chad Collins and Scott Gardiner at minus-5 in a share of 10th.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.