Points goes from over par to share of lead

By Sports NetworkOctober 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 Miccosukee Championship MIAMI ' With players using preferred lies, D.A. Points fired a 9-under 62 Saturday to gain a share of the lead after three rounds of the Miccosukee Championship.
The 62 would have matched the course record if not for the preferred lies rules in play.
Points shares the lead at 8-under-par 205 with Matt Bettencourt, who posted a 5-under 66 in round three.
Gavin Coles (68) and Josh Broadaway (69) are tied for third place at minus-7 with second-round co-leader Marc Leishman (70).
Points, who started the day tied for 43rd, played the back nine first. He opened with a birdie on the 10th, then caught fire at the 12th.
He drained a birdie effort on 12 and came right back to birdie No. 13. Points kept rolling with birdies on 14 and 15 at Miccosukee Golf & Country Club.
Points, who is 40th on the money list, made it five straight as he birdied the par-5 16th from 22 feet out. However, he gave that shot right back with a bogey on 17. Around the turn, he birdied the second to get back to minus-5.
The three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour made eagle on the par-5 fifth from about 35 feet. Points rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt on the ninth, his last, to finish at 8 under.
'I tried really hard to stay as laid back as possible and it translated into making some putts,' said Points. 'I knew if I could get it under par for the week, anything can happen. To make some putts the last couple of days has been really exciting.'
Bettencourt posted birdies on the fifth and seventh to get to minus-5. After tripping to a bogey on nine, he connected on back-to-back birdie efforts from the 10th.
The 33-year-old, who won the Oregon Classic earlier this year, birdied the par-5 16th and made it two in a row with an 18-foot birdie putt on 17. He parred the last to share the third-round lead.
'I've been putting really well and that makes up for a lot of mistakes,' said Bettencourt, who stands 22nd on the money list. 'I'll stay focused tomorrow, try to put together a good round and whatever happens, happens. Hopefully, it's good enough to get a victory, but if not I'd like to finish in the top 5. That would secure my spot for next year.'
Daniel Summerhays carded a 4-under 67 to move into a share of sixth at 6-under 207. He was joined there by Scott Gardiner (68) and Bryce Molder (69).
Chris Smith and Reid Edstrom are one stroke back at minus-5.
Ricky Barnes, who shared the second-round lead with Leishman, faltered to a 3-over 74. That dropped him into a tie for 15th at minus-3.
There was a 25-minute weather delay, but the round completed before further storms hit the course.
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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.