Lowery Leads at BC Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Steve Lowery fired an 8-under-par 64 Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the B.C. Open. Lowery is two strokes clear of four players.
 
Harrison Frazar, John Maginnes, Alex Cejka and Barry Cheesman each carded rounds of 6-under-par 66. Craig Stadler, who won the Senior Players Championship last weekend, and youngster Ty Tryon are among 15 players tied one-stroke further back at minus-5.
 
Lowery got going on the back nine of En-Joie Golf Club with a birdie on the par-4 10th. He moved to minus-3 thanks to a 25-foot eagle on the par-5 12th, but trouble loomed.
 
'I got off to a good start,' Lowery said. 'The eagle at the 12th gave me some early momentum.'
 
The two-time winner on the PGA Tour struggled to a bogey on the par-4 13th after his drive found some trees. He recovered that lost stroke with a birdie at No. 16.
 
Around the turn, Lowery really caught fire. He moved to 4-under with a birdie at the second. The 42-year-old then rolled in a 10-foot birdie at the par-3 fourth and quickly followed that up with a birdie at the next.
 
Lowery drained another birdie putt on the par-4 sixth and made it four straight when he rolled home a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-3 seventh.
 
'I played a lot better than I have been,' said Lowery. 'I went back to my basics. I am surprised I played this well early on.'
 
Frazar had a chance to own second place by himself but a pair of bogeys on the back side cost him that chance. He started quickly with back-to-back birdies from the third. He then skyrocketed up the leaderboard when he ran off four straight birdies from the sixth to make the turn at 6-under.
 
On the back side, Frazar dropped a shot when he bogeyed the par-4 11th. He came right back to birdie the next however. The University of Texas alum moved to 7-under with a birdie at the 16th but fell back into a share of the lead with a bogey at the next.
 
Maginnes began a bogey-free round on the back side where he birdied two of his first three holes. After that, he picked up his third birdie at the 15th. Around the turn, Maginnes drained consecutive birdies from the fifth and capped his round with his sixth birdie at the par-5 eighth.
 
'I had not broken par since the Capital Open,' said Maginnes. 'Its nice to get off to a good start like this. I've been working really hard lately.'
 
Cejka also began on the back nine and he sank two straight birdies from the 11th. However he dropped a shot at the 13th. He closed out his first nine with birdies on Nos. 16 and 18.
 
He made it two straight with a birdie at the first. Cejka then birdied two of the three par-5s on the front side. He two-putted for birdie on the fifth and capped his round with a 10-foot birdie putt at the eighth.
 
Cheesman sank back-to-back birdies from the second to open his round. He took advantage of the par-5 eighth with another birdie. He rolled off three consecutive birdies from the 10th to get to 6-under. However, he dropped a shot at the 13th, before getting back into a share of second with a birdie at the 16th.
 
Defending champion Spike McRoy carded a 4-under-par 68. He is among a large group tied for 21st.
 
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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

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    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."


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    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."