Roberts rallies for Champions Tour victory

By Sports NetworkFebruary 22, 2009, 5:00 pm
Champions TourNAPLES, Fla. ' Loren Roberts birdied the 18th hole Sunday to come from behind and win the ACE Group Classic for the second time.
Roberts, who titled at this championship in 2006, shot a 4-under 68 to finish 54 holes at 7-under 209 and won by a single stroke over second-round leader Gene Jones, who managed his third consecutive 2-under 70 on Sunday.
'I hit some really good shots the last five or six holes coming down the stretch and that was the key,' said Roberts, who tapped in a 3-footer at No. 18 to earn his ninth Champions Tour title.
Ben Crenshaw made a serious run at finally claiming his first Champions Tour win. He shared the lead on the back nine, but, unlike Roberts, couldn't get enough putts to fall late.
The two-time Masters champion shot a 4-under 68 and shared third place with another double winner at Augusta, Bernhard Langer (69), James Mason (70) and first-round co-leader Don Pooley (70). The group finished at 5-under-par 211.
Roberts recorded birdies at two and five to grab a share of the lead, but a three-putt bogey at the eighth knocked him down the leaderboard. That's where he stayed after six straight pars.
With as many as five people tied for first, Jones moved to the top of the board after back-to-back birdies at nine and 10. Alone in the lead at 6-under par, Jones hit a spectacular shot inside three feet at 13. Mason rolled in a birdie putt to match Jones at 6 under, but after Jones kicked in his short birdie putt, Jones moved ahead at minus-seven.
Jones found a bunker at the par-three 14th and chunked his blast from the sand. He advanced it to the fringe, then left himself with almost 5 feet for bogey. Jones made that, but, thanks to a Mason bogey, still held sole possession of first place.
However, Roberts was set to make his move.
He drained a 6-footer for birdie at the 15th and got within one of the lead. Roberts hit a sensational 2-iron at 16 that stopped 2 feet from the stick. Roberts tapped in the birdie and was tied for the lead with his playing partner Jones.
'The 16th was the whole key,' acknowledged Roberts. 'If I don't hit in there stiff for a tap-in, you never know. I wasn't in it until that hole. That was absolutely huge.'
Both parred No. 17, then Roberts hammered his drive down the fairway at the par-5 closing hole at the TPC Treviso Bay. Jones hit it in the rough and that cost him some distance on his lay up. Roberts also laid up, but gave himself less than 100 yards.
Jones hit a good shot 10 feet left of the flag. Roberts pitched his third to 3 feet. Jones played too much break in his putt and tapped in for par, giving Roberts the chance for victory.
The 'Boss of the Moss' cashed in for his first win since last June.
'I made the turn and didn't think I was in it,' admitted Roberts, who pocketed $240,000 for the victory. 'I was thinking I have to pull a rabbit out of my hat.'
Nick Price (67), Joey Sindelar (69), Brad Bryant (71) and last week's Allianz Championship winner Mike Goodes (70) tied for seventh place at 3-under 213.

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    Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

    After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

    With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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    “Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

    “I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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    Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    “I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

    “I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

    Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

    Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

    “We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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    Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

    The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

    Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.

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    Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

    Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

    • Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

    • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

    • Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”