Monty on Target on Top of the World

By Sports NetworkDecember 11, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Target World ChallengeTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Colin Montgomerie eagled the 16th and birdied the 17th Saturday en route to a 4-under 67 and a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the Target World Challenge. Montgomerie completed 54 holes at 13-under-par 200.
 
Jay Haas, who held the lead through a good portion of the third round, matched Montgomerie's 67 and stands at 11-under-par 202. Jim Furyk also posted a 67 to join Haas in second place, while tournament host Tiger Woods recovered from a tough start to card a 69 to also finish at minus-11.
 
Miguel Angel Jimenez, who posted five worldwide wins in 2004, fired a third-round best 5-under 66. He stands alone in fifth place at 10-under-par 203, while Irishman Padraig Harrington is one stroke further back at minus-9.
 
Haas began the round two strokes behind Montgomerie. The 51-year-old Haas closed the gap with birdies at the second and third. Monty however remained one stroke ahead of Haas as he birdied the second.
 
Haas briefly tied Montgomerie in the lead when he birdied the par-5 fifth. Montgomerie also birdied the hole to move one shot clear of Haas. But, Haas showed his determination as he came right back with a birdie at the sixth to tie Monty in the lead at minus-11.
 
Montgomerie hit a poor tee shot at the ninth and it led to his only bogey of the round. That dropped in him one behind Haas.
 
Haas, whose last win came at the 1993 Texas Open, moved two strokes ahead of Montgomerie when he two-putted for birdie at the par-5 13th at Sherwood Country Club. However, Haas hit a poor bunker shot at the next and that led to a bogey, which drooped him back to minus-11.
 
Meanwhile, Montgomerie was biding his time with six consecutive pars from the 10th. That run included a solid par at 11. He had to punch his second shot out from underneath a tree. He then stuck his third shot from 210 yards out to 3 feet and rolled home the par putt.
 
At the par-5 16th, the Scotsman dropped his second shot nine feet from the cup. He sank that eagle putt to move one stroke ahead of Haas at minus-12.
 
Montgomerie, who was one of four sponsor's exemptions, then drained a 7-foot birdie putt at the 17th to climb to 13 under. He parred the last.
 
'It's all on tomorrow. Tiger's birdie at the last sets up a very good finish tomorrow,' said Montgomerie, whose only win in the United States came at the 2000 Skins Game. 'There's only two shots between the first four guys and that's nothing around here. Sunday will be a good challenge for me.'
 
Haas parred his final four holes to remain at 11 under.
 
Woods got off to a rough start as he bogeyed the first, but bounced back with a birdie at No. 2. He then stumbled to a double bogey at the third and a three-putt bogey at the fourth to fall back to minus-6.
 
The tournament host recovered with birdies at five and nine to move back into contention. Woods kicked in a 3-foot birdie putt at 13 and came back with a two-putt birdie at the 16th. Woods closed with a 9-foot birdie at the last to share second place.
 
'I missed a couple short putts early on, but I figured there were a lot of holes to play,' Woods said. 'I had been playing well all week, so I figured I'd keep doing what I had been doing and try not to play hockey on the greens. It's going to take a good number to win tomorrow and I need to get off to a better start for that to happen.'
 
Furyk closed with a strong rally after a tough front nine. The 2003 U.S. Open champion birdied the par-5 second for the third straight round. His troubles began at the next as he double bogeyed the third.
 
Furyk faltered to a bogey at the fourth to drop back to 5 under. He rallied with birdie on five and seven, but tripped to another bogey at the ninth.
 
The 34-year-old settled down with three straight pars. Furyk then caught fire as he ran off three consecutive birdies from the par-5 13th.
 
Furyk moved to 10 under with a birdie on 17 and joined the crowd in second place with a 10-foot birdie putt at the last.
 
'I hit the ball well on the front, but just got some bad breaks,' said Furyk. 'The back nine was the exact opposite as I took advantage of all of my opportunities and got a few very fortunate bounces that helped me out.'
 
Chris DiMarco posted a 1-under 70 and is alone in seventh place at 7-under-par 206. Chad Campbell, the 2003 Tour Championship winner, stands one stroke further back at minus-6.
 
Stewart Cink is alone in ninth place at 5-under-par 208 with Fred Couples one shot behind him. Defending champion Davis Love III stumbled to a 3-over 74. He fell into 11th place at 3-under-par 210 with world No. 1 Vijay Singh one stroke back at 2 under.
 
Kenny Perry is in 13th at 2-over-par 215 with British Open champion Todd Hamilton one stroke behind him at plus-3. Stephen Ames and John Daly share last place in the 16-player field at 4-over-par 217.
 
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    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.