Mason Atop Crowded Leaderboard

By Sports NetworkJuly 25, 2003, 4:00 pm
TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Carl Mason, who recently turned 50, fired a 6-under 64 Friday to grab the lead after two rounds of the Senior British Open. Mason completed 36 holes at 9-under-par 131 and owns a one-shot advantage over D.A. Weibring.
 
Weibring shot a 7-under 63, one stroke off the course record, which was matched Friday by Jim Colbert. Colbert, whose 62 was the lowest second-round score in Senior British Open history, moved to 6-under-par 134 and shares sixth place with Russell Weir.
 
Mason began the round one stroke behind Tom Kite and Tom Watson, the overnight co-leaders. He opened with a steady front nine and birdied the par-4 third to get his bogey-free round going.
 
The Englishman two-putted for birdie at No. 7 to head to the back side at 5-under.
 
Around the turn, Mason sank a three-foot birdie putt at the 10th and followed that with another birdie at the 12th. It was Mason's strong play down the stretch that allowed him to take the outright lead.
 
Mason dropped a 9-iron within 12 feet to setup up birdie on the 16th. He followed that with a two-putt birdie at the next. Mason parred the last to maintain the 36-hole lead.
 
'I played delightful. It was pretty nearly flawless golf,' said Mason, who has gone 32 holes without a bogey. 'The only time I was under pressure all day was on the first. But after that, it was stress-free. I never had to hole a tough putt. If I missed a putt, it always went stiff, so it was a real stress-free round.'
 
Mason enjoyed his pairing the first two days. He played with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson during the first two rounds, and their history rubbed off.
 
'It just felt so good,' said Mason of his pairing. 'They were very quick to say 'good shot.' Afterwards, Jack said, 'I felt like a hacker out there.' I would say it was probably one of the most solid rounds of golf I had ever played, and in the company I was in, that was the best.'
 
Weibring got started with back-to-back birdies from the fourth to get his round rolling. He followed that with a two-putt birdie at the short par-5 seventh.
 
He converted four straight pars around the turn on the Ailsa Course at the Westin Turnberry Resort. Weibring then caught fire down the stretch.
 
He dropped a 9-iron within four feet to setup birdie at the 12th. Weibring, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, knocked a pitching-wedge to 12 feet at the next for another birdie. He made it three straight with a two-putt birdie at the 14th.
 
Weibring continued his roll with a five-foot birdie at the 16th and made a strong up-and-down from a greenside bunker for birdie on 17. He could have matched Colbert's 62, but he bogeyed the last hole after his drive found heavy rough. Despite the bogey, Weibring still posted a career-best round.
 
'I played well through the turn and coming home both days and feel good about that,' Weibring said. 'I didn't like the bogey at the last, but it was a good opportunity to score today. Golf course played very nicely.'
 
Weibring, who last won at the 1996 Greater Hartford Open, has had a light schedule over the past few years. He is attempting to wipe away the rust from the layoff, as he has appeared in just four events this season, one of them being on the PGA Tour.
 
'I played Hilton Head this year and made the cut and played okay,' said Weibring. 'So coming in, turning 50, I felt I was prepared, I was in good condition, but maybe not as experienced. I had a little rust in my game. I played that way a little bit.'
 
Bruce Summerhays fired a 5-under 65 to join Watson and Kite at 7-under-par 133. Weir and Colbert share sixth place behind that trio and Denis Durnian is alone in eighth at 5-under-par 135.
 
Defending champion Noboru Sugai stumbled to a 3-over 73. He dropped to even-par 140.
 
The cut line fell at 4-over-par 144, the lowest in event history. A total of 77 golfers, including one amateur, will play the final two rounds. Among those who missed the cut were Steve Veriato (145), Jose Maria Canizares (146) and Dale Douglass (147).
 
Related Links:
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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.