Lowery Takes the Wheel at Chrysler

By Sports NetworkOctober 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Chrysler ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Steve Lowery posted a 5-under 66 on Friday to take the lead after 36 holes of the Chrysler Championship. He stands at 8-under-par 134 and is two ahead at the Copperhead Course at Westin Innisbrook Resort.
Bo Van Pelt carded a 6-under-par 65 and is alone in second place at minus-6.
Steve Lowery
Steve Lowery's last win on the PGA Tour came in the 2000 Southern Farm Bureau.
Davis Love III (69), Bernhard Langer (69), Carl Pettersson (68) and Tom Pernice, Jr. (66) are knotted in third place at 5-under-par 137.
Last week, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh both missed the cut at the Funai Classic at Disney World and things remained bad for Singh, who won this title last year.
Singh, the No. 2 player in the world, never overcame a 3-over-par 74 on Thursday. He managed an even-par 71 on Friday and missed the cut by a shot as he finished at 3-over-par 145.
The last time Singh missed back-to-back cuts on the PGA Tour was 2001. In the fall of that year, Singh failed to make the weekend at the Canadian Open, then the following week at the Pennsylvania Classic.
On Friday, Lowery broke into red figures with an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-4 third. He parred his next four, but missed a 6-footer to save par at the 235-yard, par-3 eighth.
The 45-year-old caught fire on the back nine. He hit a 7-iron to 32 feet at the 10th and ran home the long birdie putt. Lowery collected back-to-back birdies with a short one at the par-5 11th, then made it three in a row with a 15-footer at No. 12.
Lowery was not done making birdies. He knocked his second on the green from 280 yards out at the par-5 14th, then two-putted from 35 feet for his fourth birdie in five holes.
Lowery was 7 under par for the championship, but had one more birdie left in him. He hit a 5-iron with his second shot at the par-4 16th and rolled in the 25-footer for birdie.
'It's a great golf course. It's very tough,' acknowledged Lowery. 'If you're in the fairway, you can shoot some good scores. I am playing well. You get a few breaks to be leading. Hopefully, you get a few on the weekend.'
Lowery has enjoyed an interesting 2005 season. He missed the first eight cuts of the year, then 11 out of 12. Lowery sent in his application for Qualifying School, but a tie for eighth in Vegas two weeks ago earned him $112,000 and put him comfortably in the top-125.
He entered this week with six consecutive cuts made, including two eighth-place ties. Lowery sits 109th on the money list so now it may be time to add his third PGA Tour victory and first since the 2000 Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
'It is tough when you are not playing well, you don't think you'll ever play well again,' admitted Lowery. 'I don't think I ever missed that many cuts in a row. I had to start practicing harder and recommit myself to improving. It took a long time to get going.'
Van Pelt, 57th on the PGA Tour's money list, was flawless on Friday. He tallied six birdies, three on each side, as he is the hunt for his first PGA Tour title.
Two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen (71), Justin Rose (68), Tim Herron (67), American Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman (71) and Charles Howell III (71) are knotted in seventh place at minus-4.
This is a big week for Howell in particular. It is the final full-field event and Howell sits 30th on the money list, which would be the last spot in next week's Tour Championship.
Rocco Mediate is 125th on the list, the last spot for a tour card next year. He shot an even-par 71 on Friday and is part of a group tied for 12th at 3-under-par 139. Also in that group is first-round leader Jeff Brehaut, who only managed a 3-over 74 in the second round.
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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.