Odd Couple Gore Funk Lead Shootout

By Sports NetworkNovember 11, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Franklin Templeton ShootoutNAPLES, Fla. -- Fred Funk and Jason Gore combined for a 9-under-par 63 on Friday to take the lead after one round at the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
The pairings of Fred Couples and Adam Scott, Mark O'Meara and Nick Price and John Houston and Kenny Perry share second place after carding 8-under-par 64s in the modified alternate shot format.
Jason Gore
Jason Gore helped Fred Funk take the first-round lead.
Ryan Moore and Jesper Parnevik are alone in fifth place at minus-7. Two-time defending champions Hank Kuehne and Jeff Sluman are one stroke further back in a tie for sixth place with Paul Azinger and Olin Browne.
Kuehne and Sluman were near the bottom of the leaderboard around the turn, but they recovered by playing the back nine at 5 under.
Tournament host Greg Norman and partner Steve Elkington are in 11th place after a 3-under 69. The event, which was created by Norman and his wife with a goal of raising money for children's charities, is being held at Norman's Tiburon Golf Club for the fifth straight year.
In the modified alternate shot format, pairings select the best drive off the tee on each hole. The player whose drive is not selected hits the second shot, and players alternate shots after that until the hole is completed.
It can be a rewarding format for pairings with a good balance between distance and accuracy. The consistent Funk, who ranks second in driving accuracy, and the rising star Gore, who averages around 310 yards off the tee, fit the profile.
'What's really different for me is that I have never really been paired with a guy who hits it as long as he does,' said Funk. 'When you are playing alternate shot and you get to pick his drive ... that's a big difference. The game is a lot easier from where he is playing his second shots.'
'We probably stole a few and left a few out there,' said Gore. 'That is what you have to do in alternate shot. He kept hitting fairways and I tried to hit some good iron shots. That is pretty important around here.'
The leaders, who were 5 under around the turn, finished off a seven-hole stretch at 14 during which they collected six birdies to reach minus-9. They stumbled to a bogey at the 16th after Funk hit an errant iron shot, but got that stroke back on 17 despite hitting into a bunker.
Gore's good wedge shot at 18 left the pair with an 8-foot birdie try, but Funk pulled the putt left and they finished with a par.
'Unfortunately on 18 I hit a horrible shot after he hit such a great second shot in there,' said Funk. 'If there are any regrets, it would be 16 and then not getting one on 18 when we hit it in there close.'
Kirk Triplett and Jay Haas are alone in eighth place after a 5-under-par 67. They lead the pairings of John Daly and Tim Herron and Peter Jacobsen and Scott McCarron by one stroke.
Finishing the day alone in 12th place, one stroke behind Norman and Elkington, were Mark Calcavecchia and Loren Roberts, who combined to shoot a 2-under 70.
The weekend will feature best-ball on Saturday and a scramble on Sunday as teams vie for part of the $2.6 million purse.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Franklin Templeton Shootout
  • Full Coverage - Franklin Templeton Shootout
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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.