Lonard Remains on Top in Ireland

By Sports NetworkJuly 24, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Nissan Irish OpenBALTRAY, Ireland. -- Peter Lonard managed an even-par 72 on Saturday and was able to hold on to the lead after the third round of the Irish Open. Lonard, who is seeking his first European Tour title, completed 54 holes at 10-under-par 206 at County Louth Golf Club.
Brett Rumford carded a 70 to finish one shot back at 9-under-par 207. James Kingston followed at 8-under-par 208.
Lonard carried a two-shot lead into the weekend and was in top form early on the front nine with a pair of birdies over his first six holes. The veteran Australian found trouble at the seventh, however, and walked away with a triple bogey at the par-3.
'Yesterday I said I needed to play the par-3s well and I don't suppose a triple bogey is in that sort of category,' he said.
His problems continued with a bogey at the very next hole and the 2003 Presidents Cup member soon found himself clawing back into position on the inward half.
Lonard began his recovery with a birdie at the par-4 13th and hit his approach inside 20 feet at the par-4 16th. The 37-year-old drained the birdie putt to maintain a slim lead over his fellow countryman Rumford.
'When I started playing again in 1997, I wanted to win in Australia which I accomplished in 1997 and my next aim was to win in Europe and the other main Tours in the world - Europe, America and Japan,' said Lonard. 'If I can win tomorrow I would be one closer to the goal I set myself at the start. And hopefully winning breeds winning and I can move on to another level.'
Rumford, almost exactly 10 years younger than Lonard, has already won on the European Tour. The Australian titled at last year's Aa St. Omer Open and a victory on Sunday would further solidify his status on tour.
The 26-year-old stumbled out of the gate with a birdie at the first, but he hit his third shot to the par-5 third within a foot of the hole. Rumford tapped in for birdie and added a birdie at the 11th to reach minus-8.
Rumford then collected a birdie of his own at the 16th.
'It was a tough day today,' said Rumford. 'You have to grind it out over the whole 18 holes.'
Kingston, another veteran with multiple wins worldwide who is in search of his first European Tour crown, tallied two birdies to go along with three bogeys on the front nine to make the turn at 7 under.
The South African added birdies at 11 and 13 to grab a share of the lead, but faltered with a bogey at the 16th to finish two off the lead after a round of 72.
The hope for an Irish winner lies in Paul McGinley, who fired a 66 to move into a tie for 10th with Nick O'Hern, Terry Price, Julien Clement, Paul Broadhurst and David Carter at 6-under-par 210.
Irishman Padraig Harrington was one shot further back at 5-under-par 211 along with Miguel Angel Jimenez, Raphael Jacquelin, Steve Webster, Andrew Oldcorn, Stephen Gallacher, Peter Baker, Roger Chapman and Peter Fowler.
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Nissan Irish Open
  • Full Coverage - Nissan Irish Open
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.