Olazabal Wall Share Linde Lead

By Sports NetworkSeptember 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
2004 Linde German MastersCOLOGNE, Germany -- England's Anthony Wall fired a bogey-free 10-under 62 on Friday to climb into a share of the lead midway through the German Masters.
Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal shot a 65 in his second round and joined Wall in the lead at 11-under-par 133. The duo stands one stroke clear of Paul Casey, who carded his second straight 67 to reach minus-10 for the tournament.
World No. 5 Retief Goosen is just two strokes off the lead after a second-round 68. He shares fourth place with Marc Cayeux (69), Nick Dougherty (64) and David Lynn (67) at 9-under-par 135.
Defending champion Padraig Harrington was among the 59 players who finished outside the minus-2 cut line. Harrington followed his opening-round 75 with a 3-under 69, but finished at even par.
Past champions Steven Richardson (7 over) and Sandy Lyle (1 under) also missed the cut, as did world No. 27 Miguel Angel Jimenez (1 under).
Wall, whose lone European Tour victory came at the 2000 Alfred Dunhill Championship, began the day tied for 53rd place at minus-1. But he opened his spectacular round on the back nine with six consecutive birdies to reach 7 under.
'It was a lovely day out there for me,' said Wall, whose best finish in 24 European Tour events this year was a tie for 12th place at the The Celtic Manor Wales Open in June.
The 30-year-old added a birdie at No. 17 and finished the outward nine with a 29 to get within one of the lead around the turn. Wall then reached minus-9 with yet another birdie at the first, and after four straight pars, he took the outright lead with birdies at Nos. 6 and 7.
'It is so hard out there and it is such a tough course if you miss the fairways, but I managed to avoid doing that for most of the day,' said Wall. 'I have improved a lot in the last couple of years. My game feels twice as good as it has ever done and the reason for that is my brain.'
Olazabal, who titled at this event 17 years ago, was tied for 14th place at minus-4 after the first round. He began his day by playing the first four holes at 1 over par before stringing together four straight birdies from the fifth to reach minus-7.
The two-time Masters champion moved further into red numbers with birdies at the 10th and 13th, and tied Wall for the lead with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.
Olazabal's best finish this season is a third-place tie behind Tiger Woods at the British Open, so a win in this tournament would go a long way towards his bid to make another Ryder Cup team.
'Everybody is eager to play in the Ryder Cup and I would love to be in it again...but if I don't make it, I'm not going to throw myself off a bridge,' said the 39-year-old.
Four-time champion and event co-sponsor Bernhard Langer (69) shares eighth place with Scott Drummond (68) at minus-8. U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, the 2000 winner here, is tied for 35th place at minus-4 after a second-round 69.
Another former champion, Barry Lane, is tied for 17th place at 6 under after shooting an even-par 72 on Friday.
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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.'"

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    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.