Park Clings to Slim Lead in Spain

By Sports NetworkApril 24, 2004, 4:00 pm
CANARY ISLANDS -- David Park stumbled to a 1-over 71 Saturday, but held onto the lead through three rounds of the Canarias Open de Espaa. Park completed 54 holes at 10-under-par 200, one shot clear of Ricardo Gonzalez.
Christian Cevaer posted a 1-under 69 to join Peter Hedblom (68) in a tie for third place at 8-under-par 202. Bradley Dredge is one stroke further back at minus-7.
Battling breezy conditions on Saturday, Park opened with six consecutive pars to remain at 11 under. However, he faltered to a double bogey at the par-3 seventh at Fuerteventura Golf Club after finding water off the tee.
Park settled down to run off three pars in a row. He picked up his first birdie of the round at the par-4 11th.
The Welshman stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole to slip back to minus-9. Park fought back with a birdie at the 16th before closing with a pair of pars to maintain a one-stroke lead heading to the final round.
'I struggled a little bit out there today,' Park stated. 'To be honest, I hit the ball okay but I just struggled with the putting a little bit. Had the lines okay all day but I couldn't get the pace and kept leaving things short. But I was pleased the way I stuck in there after what happened at the seventh. I would have liked to have made a few more birdies, but it was a good performance on the back nine and a good score overall.'
Park takes a lead into the final round for the fifth time in his career. He won just one of those previous four, the 1999 European Grand Prix, by one stroke over David Carter and Retief Goosen.
Gonzalez flew up the leaderboard with a pair of eagles and two birdies. He chipped in for eagle from the back of the green at the par-4 sixth after driving his tee ball through the green at the 401-yard hole.
The Argentine rolled home a birdie at the ninth to get to minus-6 and sank another birdie try at the par-4 14th. Gonzalez jumped into second place with an eagle on the par-5 17th that capped a bogey-free round of 64.
'I am feeling very confident with my driver and as a result I am managing to keep it on the fairway a bit better this week than last which is giving me a chance to birdie,' said Gonzalez. 'There are a few short par-4s as well here which are good for me. Although my driving was good, I think my putting was my best feature today. I tried to concentrate hard over every shot and tried to make birdie or eagle whenever I possibly could.'
Gonzalez, who won the Open de Sevilla last week, will look to become the first European Tour player to win back-to-back events since Vijay Singh won the Carlsberg Malaysian Open and Caltex Singapore Masters in successive weeks in February of 2001.
'I have a good chance now,' said Gonzalez of his chances at winning two straight events. 'Tomorrow I need to go out and concentrate again and we will see what happens.'
Klas Eriksson used a 3-under 67 to move into sixth place at 6-under-par 204. Marcus Fraser, Gregory Havret and Santiago Luna are one stroke further back at minus-five after each posted rounds of 1-under 69.
Diego Borrego posted a 4-under 66 to jump into a share of 10th place at 4-under-par 206. He is joined there by Nicolas Colsaerts, Jose Manuel Lara, Rob Rashell, Jean-Francois Remesy and Charl Schwartzel.
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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.