Romero Shares Lead in Debut

By Sports NetworkJuly 22, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Senior British OpenPORTRUSH, Northern Ireland. -- Eduardo Romero, who is making his Champions Tour debut, posted a 3-under-par 69 Thursday to grab a piece of the lead after the first round of the Senior British Open, the Champions Tour's third major of the season.
 
Romero is joined atop the leaderboard by John Chillas, Jim Rhodes and 2002 U.S. Senior Open winner Don Pooley. Carl Mason and Ian Mosey share fifth place at 2-under-par 70.
 
Romero was steady to open his round. He parred the first and birdied the second. The Argentine then ran off sixth consecutive pars at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
 
Romero, an eight-time winner in the European Tour, dropped in back-to-back birdies from the ninth. He climbed to 4 under with a birdie at the 12th. Romero dropped a shot at the next, but came back to birdie the par-4 15th. He bogeyed the 16th to slide back into a share of the lead.
 
'I am very happy. It's my first tournament and I can see my old friends that I have known for a long time,' said Romero, who turned 50-years-old five days ago. 'I have never been here before, but Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley told me it was the best course in Northern Ireland. When I see the golf course and play it, I see that it is fantastic. It's very, very nice.'
 
Chillas spread one birdie and one bogey over his opening nine holes. He caught fire around the turn as he birdied the 10th. The Scotsman then drained consecutive birdies from the 12th to get to minus-3 before parring his final five holes.
 
Rhodes had a magical round. He birdied the first and eagled the second to quickly get to minus-3. The Englishman then dropped a stroke at the third.
 
The 58-year-old Rhodes aced the par-3 sixth to get to 4 under. Graham Marsh, who finished at plus-4, also had a hole-in-one at the sixth.

Rhodes' prosperity was short lived though as he bogeyed the very next hole. He picked up that lost stroke with a birdie at the par-5 10th. However, he dropped a stroke at 14th to slide back to 3 under.
 
Pooley struggled mightily out of the gate. He bogeyed three of his first four holes, however, Pooley did manage a birdie at the second. He parred his next four holes to head to the ninth at plus-2.
 
The 52-year-old Pooley then eagled the par-5 ninth. He came right back to eagle the par-5 10th to quickly jump to minus-2. Pooley birdied the 11th, but stumbled to a bogey on No. 12. He managed to grab a share of the lead with a birdie at the 13th. Pooley parred his final five holes to remain at minus-3.
 
Bruce Fleisher, Hugh Baiocchi, John Jacobs, Tom Kite and Bill Longmuir were the final players in red figures as they posted rounds of 1-under-par 71.
 
Tom Watson, the defending champion, posted an eagle, two birdies and seven bogeys in a round of 3-over-par 75. He is tied there for 42nd place.
 
'I drove it poorly three or four times today and it cost me,' Watson said. 'I deserved what I shot. I did hit a lot of good shots, but I didn't drive it well on the back nine. I had started the day hitting the ball pretty well. If three or four of those drives were better, it might have been a different story.'
 
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."