Money-Leader Morgan Leads Ford

By Sports NetworkJuly 8, 2004, 4:00 pm
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Gil Morgan fired a 7-under-par 65 on Thursday at the TPC of Michigan to grab a three-shot lead after the opening round of the Ford Senior Players Championship.
 
Dana Quigley, who is competing in his 250th straight event that he has been eligible for, joined Bruce Fleisher, Allen Doyle, Isao Aoki, Mark James and Jose Maria Canizares in a tie for second at 4-under-par 68.
 
Morgan, who tops the Champions Tour money list this season, has been one of the most consistent performers on the elder circuit since he joined the tour in 1996.
 
'I haven't played quite as well the last couple of weeks as I did earlier in the year,' said Morgan, who captured the SBC Classic in March. 'But at the same time, the last couple of weeks I've hit some really good shots. I feel like my game was coming around a little bit, but at the same time, you don't exactly know how it's going to pan out in this type of championship.'
 
Morgan got off to a quick start at the opening hole after his approach shot landed within 3 feet of the cup for an early birdie. He added a birdie at the par-5 third and picked up another birdie at the par-5 seventh to reach 3 under around the turn.
 
'We started out early,' said Morgan. 'It was a little bit cool at that point in time and then it ended up misting, raining a little bit off and on for three or four holes. On the back nine, I made a few more birdies.'
 
The 57-year-old began his birdie run on the inward half at the par-3 12th and made it two in a row with a birdie at the 13th. Morgan stumbled to a bogey at the 14th, but came right back at the par-3 15th and knocked his tee shot to 10 feet for a birdie to move to minus-5.
 
'It's a very difficult hole,' he said of the 14th. 'It's a hole that I have not played all that well through the years, and the greens are deceptive.'
 
Morgan continued playing well down the stretch and hit a 9-iron from a bunker to 12 feet for a birdie at the par-4 16th. At the par-5 17th, Morgan ran home a 20-foot putt for his final birdie of the day to hold a significant lead after the first round.
 
'The year I won here, I played really well,' said Morgan, who was the victor here in 1998. 'Some of the years I just can't seem to make it happen, and then other years it seems to fit my game. Sometimes I feel like I take too many chances. I think this year, at least the start here, I've played halfway decent most of the day and was able to recover when I made most of my mistakes.'
 
Quigley also birdied the first, but he gave that shot back with a bogey at the very next hole. Quigley countered with a birdie at the fifth and played a 4-wood to 20 feet for an eagle at the par-5 seventh.
 
At the par-4 ninth, Quigley hit his second shot to 15 feet and drained the putt for another birdie.
 
The 57-year-old, who tied for second at this event in 2000, added a birdie and a bogey on the back side to finish in the logjam at minus-4.
 
'In a major, you know, you can't win on the first day,' said Quigley. 'But certainly, you've all heard this, you can all shoot yourself in the foot and be out of it. I think of the eight Ford Seniors I've played in, I've probably been out of it after the first round or two many more times than I've been in it.'
 
Doyle, the 2001 winner at the TPC of Michigan, mixed five birdies and a bogey for his share of second.
 
Hale Irwin, who won this event in 1999, is paired with Morgan in the opening rounds. The all-time winner on the Champions Tour carded a 3-under-par 69 to finish alongside Doug Tewell, Ed Fiori, Mark McNulty, Leonard Thompson, Bobby Walzel and Mark McCumber in a tie for eighth.
 
Defending champion Craig Stadler won this event last year in only his fourth start on the Champions Tour. Stadler opened this year's championship with a 69 to finish in a group at 2 under par that includes Larry Nelson and Jim Thorpe.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ford Senior Players Championship
  • Full Coverage - Ford Senior Players Championship
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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.