Roberts in Position for Third Straight Win

By Sports NetworkFebruary 18, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 ACE Group ClassicNAPLES, Fla. -- Loren Roberts, who has won the first two Champions Tour events of the season, fired a 6-under 66 Saturday to climb into a tie for the lead after two rounds of the ACE Group Classic.
 
Roberts stands at 11-under-par 133. He was joined there by Brad Bryant and Don Pooley, who each shot 65 in round two.
 
Champions Tour rookie Rick Karbowski posted a 68 and stands alone in fourth place at minus-10. Danny Edwards carded the low round of the day as he shot an eight-under 64. He jumped into a tie for fifth place at 8-under-par 136, where he was joined by first-round leader R.W. Eaks (71) and two-time winner here, Hale Irwin (66).
 
Roberts tripped out of the gate with a bogey on the first, but that was his last mistake of the round. He birdied three straight holes from the second to move to 7 under at The Club at TwinEagles.
 
The 50-year-old picked up his next birdie on No. 10. Roberts dropped his third shot to the par-5 13th within 5 feet and he sank that for birdie and a one-stroke lead over Irwin and Bryant.
 
Roberts again moved one clear of Bryant with a 13-foot birdie putt on the 15th. Roberts sank a 10-footer for birdie on 17 to move two clear of the field. He parred the last though to end at 11 under.
 
'I played real solid,' Roberts said. 'I got a little wake up call on the first hole when I made bogey and then reeled off three birdies after that. I played real solid today after that first hole.'
 
Roberts is trying to make history this week as no player has ever won the first three events of the season on the Champions Tour. Five players have won three in a row, but none to start a season.
 
Bryant birdied his first three holes to get to 9 under. He dropped back to even-par for his round and minus-six overall after a double-bogey on the fifth and a bogey at the seventh.
 
The 51-year-old quickly recovered with birdies on eight and nine to turn at minus-8. Bryant two-putted for birdie on the 13th to join Roberts in the lead at 9 under.
 
Bryant got up and down for birdie at the 17th, then sank a 5-foot birdie putt on 18 to tie for the lead.
 
Pooley bogeyed the first, but got that stroke back with a birdie on No. 2. After another bogey on the fourth, Pooley parred his next eight holes.
 
The 54-year-old started to make his move with an eagle on the par-5 13th. He birdied the 15th to move to minus-8. Pooley ran home an eagle try on 17 to get within one, then converted a 14-foot birdie putt at the last to finish alongside Roberts and Bryant.
 
Dana Quigley, Peter Jacobsen and Keith Fergus each shot 3-under 69 on Saturday. They stand at 7-under-par 137 and were joined there by four-time runner-up Tom Watson (71) and Fuzzy Zoeller (70). Tom Kite and Gary Koch are one stroke further back at minus-6.
 
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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.