Miller Claims First Title

By Sports NetworkSeptember 29, 2002, 4:00 pm
RANCHO CUCOMONGA, Calif. -- Andy Miller birdied the first playoff hole to claim the $450,000 Buy.Com State Farm Open. Miller defeated Dave Stockton, Jr., John Restino and Doug Garwood in the playoff to earn his first win on the Buy.Com Tour. Each had entered the playoff at 12-under-par 272.
Miller, who is the son of NBC Golf commentator and 25-time PGA Tour winner Johnny Miller, had to wait nearly two hours for the final pairing to finish before the playoff began. Miller, who was a Monday qualifier, becomes the third Monday qualifier to win on the Buy.Com Tour this season.
Garwood, who was playing in the final group for the second time this season, had taken the lead with a birdie at the par-4 sixth. However, after stretching that lead to two strokes, he faltered to let the other three players back into the tournament with bogeys at 16 and 17. Heading to the 16th, Garwood was two strokes clear of Miller, who was finished, and the rest of the field.
On the first playoff hole, which was the 18th hole, Miller was the only player to reach the par-5 in two shots and he two-putted from 40-feet to earn the win. Restino and Stockton each missed their birdie putts, while Garwood was out of the hole with a bogey six.
'I didn't think I had a chance of being in a playoff,' Miller said. 'When I finished the leader was at 14-under. I just thought it was a nice gesture that they told me to stick around and wait for a playoff.'
He closed with a 5-under 66, including birdies on two of the last three holes, to get into the playoff at the Empire Lakes Golf Course. Miller's best previous finish came at the Buy.Com Utah Classic three weeks ago, when he placed fourth.
'Finishing fourth in Utah gave me alot of confidence,' said Miller, who picks up $81,000 and an exemption for the 2003 season with the victory. 'I get to play out here for a year and that is the biggest part about winning.'
Stockton carded a final round 67, while Restino posted a 69 on Sunday and Garwood, the overnight co-leader, shot an even-par 71. Stockton was able to get back into the tournament by carding 10 birdies, against just one bogey, which came during the third round, over his final 36 holes.
'This was my first time all year without a bogey,' said Stockton. 'I hit the putt in the playoff the way I wanted.'
Andy Miller and Dave Stockton, Jr., may be new to the top of the leaderboard, but their fathers, Johnny Miller and Dave Stockton, Sr., have been battling for many years on the PGA Tour and now the Senior PGA Tour.
'It was like turn back the clock with Miller and Stockton on the board,' said Stockton.
'It was funny seeing Stockton and Miller up on the board,' Miller commented.
Keoke Cotner and Jay Delsing finished at 11-under-par to tie for fifth. Joel Kribel, Jason Buha, Andrew McLardy, Tjaart Van Der Walt and Steve Haskins were a shot behind them at minus-10.
Overnight co-leader Ernie Gonzalez struggled to a final round 76, and tied for 25th at 7-under 277. Defending champion D.A. Points finished with a 2-over-par round of 73 and was among nine players at minus-5.
Full-field scores from the State Farm Open
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.