McNulty Cruises to SBC Victory

By Sports NetworkOctober 17, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 SBC ChampionshipSAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Mark McNulty fired a 6-under 65 on Sunday to cruise to victory at the SBC Championship. He posted an 18-under-par 195 total to win by eight over Gary McCord at Oak Hills Country Club.
McCord shot a 2-under 69 for his highest finish this season. Bobby Wadkins posted a 4-under 67 and took third alone at 9-under-par 204. The $108,000 third-place check moved him into the top-30, thus getting him a spot in next week's Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
McNulty's three-day total of 195 broke Craig Stadler's old tournament record of 198 from last year. The win was McNulty's second of the 2004 season to go along with the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
'I'm very delighted with my performance today,' said McNulty, who pocketed $225,000 for the victory. 'I'm a pretty good front-runner. Four shots is a tricky position to be in. It's a smelly lead to have.'
McNulty parred his first two holes on Sunday, then sank a 10-foot par save at No. 3 to keep his round going. From there, McNulty put the tournament away with a 12-foot birdie putt at four and a short birdie putt at five to reach 14 under par for the championship.
At the seventh, McNulty hit a 9-iron to 15 feet to set up his third birdie of the round. He closed his front nine with another birdie, this time from a foot away thanks to another spectacular 9-iron shot.
McNulty parred his first four holes on the back nine, but rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at the 14th. He missed the green with his second at the par-5 15th, but chipped to 4 feet and made the putt for his second birdie in a row.
At the 16th, McNulty knocked a wedge to 10 feet and sank the birdie putt. He stood on the 17th tee at 19 under par and with an eye-opening 10-stroke advantage.
McCord birdied the 17th, and McNulty bogeyed the last to make the final margin eight shots. That missed the Champions Tour record for largest margin of victory by a shot, but McNulty did not seem to mind. Nor does he seem to care that he is now in the mix for Champions Tour Rookie of the Year after becoming the sixth multiple winner on the elder circuit.
'I'm not too concerned with the Rookie of the Year race,' said McNulty. 'I was fortunate enough to hit some quality shots during the round. I knew it would be hard to catch me.'
McCord, better known as an analyst for CBS, tallied two birdies over her first five holes, but dropped shots at six and seven. He added birdies at 11 and 17 to get the solo second.
Wadkins was 2 under after his front nine, but got the round going with a tap-in eagle at the par-5 10th. He collected an 8-foot birdie putt at 11, but mixed two bogeys and a birdie the rest of the way.
It was still enough to get Wadkins in the field next week.
'I sort of knew I had to finish solo third to have a chance,' said Wadkins. 'It's hunting season and I was ready to go home. I came here to do some fishing and play a little golf.'
Tom Kite (68), Dave Stockton (68) and Bruce Fleisher (70) tied for fourth place at 8-under-par 205. Larry Nelson (67), Dana Quigley (72) and Morris Hatalsky (72) shared seventh at minus-7.
Hale Irwin began the tournament with a one-point lead over Stadler in the Charles Schwab Cup race, which gives a $1 million, tax-free annuity. He shot a final-round 69 to tie for 10th place with Darrell Kestner (70) at 6-under-par 207. Irwin picked up 38 points in the Schwab Cup race that will be finalized after next week's event.
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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.