Love Red Hot in Round 1

By Sports NetworkAugust 7, 2003, 4:00 pm
CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Davis Love III scorched the Castle Pines Golf Club Thursday for a tournament-record 10 birdies en route to 19 points and the lead with the opening round of The International suspended due to darkness. The tournament uses the modified Stableford scoring system.
Play was suspended due to darkness after there was nearly a two-hour weather delay late in the afternoon.
Charles Howell III notched seven birdies for his second place total of 14 points. Bob Tway and Jonathan Kaye share third place at 12.
In the modified Stableford scoring system, players receive two points for a birdie, five points for an eagle and eight points for a double eagle. Players lose one point for a bogey and three points for a double bogey or worse, with a par receiving a score of zero.
Love, playing in the afternoon group, burst out of the gate. He opened with a birdie at the first and followed that with a birdie at the second. Love made it three straight when he rolled in a birdie at the third, giving him six quick points.
The 1997 PGA Championship winner settled down to par the next three holes. Love then birdied at the seventh. He made it two in a row with another birdie at the eighth.
Around the turn, Love continued his outstanding play. He birdied the 12th and followed that with another birdie on No. 14. The three-time winner this year rolled home his eighth birdie of the round at the 15th, moving him two points ahead of Howell, the clubhouse leader.
'The weather delay was disappointing because I was playing well, but it didn't really affect me,' said Love. 'I came right back out and hit a good shot at 10 from the fairway right after the break and hit the green at 11, which is always good, and then made a birdie on 12. Sometimes it affects you. Sometimes it doesn't. But I am just glad we got it in. I think we're very fortunate.'
Love made his only mistake of the day at No. 16. He hit a bad 6-iron and that led to bogey. Love closed out his round in fine fashion however as he birdied each of the final two holes for a five-point lead.
Love's 19-point total was one point shy of the one-round record set by Greg Whisman in 1992, and tied by Tom Purtzer in 1997.
'I didn't know what the record was so I was trying to birdie every hole,' Love said. 'The wind was blowing in a little bit at 16 and my caddie, I think, really wanted me to hit a 5-iron and I wanted to try and kill a 6-iron. I didn't quite catch it. It got up there almost pin-high. I was trying to hit it so hard that I pushed it a little bit.'
Howell opened his round on the back nine Thursday, notching his first birdie at the par-3 11th. He then converted back-to-back birdies from the 16th to make the turn at six points.
The 2002 Michelob Championship winner notched consecutive birdies from the second to move to 10 points. Howell grabbed the clubhouse lead with birdies at the eighth and ninth to give him 14 points.
'I teed off early today which was important because there were pretty good scoring conditions,' said Howell. 'Any time you can go off early here you need to make a bunch of birdies. The greens were a bit softer this year than in years past. It's the softest I have ever seen them in my four years here.'
John Rollins stands alone in fifth place with 11 points. Chris Riley is one point behind, while Stuart Appleby, Steve Lowery, Geoff Ogilvy, Phillip Price and Mike Weir share seventh place with nine points. Lowery nearly won last year's event with an eagle and a double eagle in his last four holes, but his birdie try on the last hole just stayed out of the cup.
Rich Beem, the defending champion, struggled at the outset with two straight bogeys. He recovered to post five birdies, but also mixed in a bogey and closed with a double bogey for a total of four points. He shares 30th place with nine other players.
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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.'"

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    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.