Morgan Wins Wire-to-Wire

By Sports NetworkSeptember 7, 2003, 4:00 pm
MAINEVILLE, Ohio -- Gil Morgan posted a 4-under 68 on Sunday to polish off a wire-to-wire victory at the Kroger Classic. He finished 54 holes at 16-under-par 200 to win by two shots over Doug Tewell.
Jim Thorpe fired an 8-under 64 on Sunday to share third place with Larry Nelson, who carded a 67 in the final round. The pair came in at 13-under-par 203.
Morgan held a two-shot lead heading into Sunday's final round but squandered that quickly with bogeys at Nos. 3 and 4. He rebounded with birdies at 5 and 8 and after cashing in on a nine-foot birdie putt at the ninth, Morgan held first by himself.
He two-putted the par-5 11th green for birdie and added a 10-footer at the next but Nelson and Graham Marsh closed the gap to one shot. When Morgan missed the green short at 13 and hit a poor chip, he bogeyed the hole to fall into a tie for the lead.
Marsh lost his ball at the 15th and bogeyed the hole. Nelson, playing ahead of Morgan in the final group, hit a rock at 17 and fell into water. He bogeyed that hole and saw his chances of a win sink into the pond.
Morgan vaulted to the top with a beautiful 9-iron at the par-4 15th. He landed the ball 10 feet from the hole and sank the birdie try to get two clear of Marsh and Nelson.
'The birdie at No. 15 was critical,' said Morgan, who won $225,000 for the victory. 'I was concerned after I made bogey at No. 13. There was a lot of excitement out there today.'
Tewell climbed up the leaderboard with three birdies on the back nine, including a 12-footer at the 15th but he had his chances to get closer. At the 16th, Tewell missed a 12-foot birdie try and one hole later, he missed a nine-footer for birdie.
Despite the missed opportunities, Tewell found himself one behind Morgan at the closing hole at the TPC at River's Bend. The duo both found the fairway at 18 but Tewell badly pulled his second. Morgan knocked a 3-wood on to the green in two and watched as Tewell hit his chip heavy.
Tewell got up and down for par while Morgan two-putted from 31 feet to earn his first title of 2003.
'I had played well several times this year and finished second four times,' said Morgan. 'I didn't start well today. It was getting pretty late in the year. I had started to think I might not win this year.'
Morgan visited the winner's circle for the 22nd time on the Champions Tour. He has now won in eight consecutive years on the elder circuit and only Hale Irwin and Miller Barber have won in nine straight years.
Morgan also became the first player to win the Kroger Classic twice and is the second golfer to go wire-to-wire in 2003. Jim Ahern claimed the Music City Championship in Nashville in May after leading each of the three rounds.
Tewell earned his first runner-up finish of the 2003 campaign and admitted his flat stick hurt him on the back nine.
'I hit a lot of great shots on the back nine, I just didn't hole any putts,' said Tewell. 'It was fun out there but it just wasn't my day today. Gil played well. He played rock solid the last 10 holes.'
Marsh shot a 69 on Sunday and took fifth place at 12-under-par 204. Don Pooley and D.A. Weibring fashioned matching rounds of 6-under 66 and shared sixth place with Hugh Baiocchi, who carded a 67 in the final round. The trio came in at 11-under-par 205.
Bruce Fleisher and Tom Jenkins tied for 10th at minus-10.
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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.'"

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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.