Sheehan Leads Gila River Classic After First Round
John Elliott, Victor Schwamkrug, Chris Couch, Stiles Mitchell, Shane Bertsch, Dave Schreyer, Daniel Chopra, James McLean, Stan Utley, Patrick Moore, David Branshaw and Rob Bradley are all tied for fifth place at six-under 65.
Sheehan started his round off in fine fashion as he holed a sand-wedge from 117 yards out for an eagle two at the first. He became the second player to start the round by holing out, as Jaxon Brigman did so earlier in the day.
'That was a great start,' Sheehan said. 'But when I walked off the green, the lady there said I wasn't even the first to do that today. I'm thinking, dang, I didn't even get a skin.'
He continued his quick start with birdies at the second and fourth. Sheehan then started a run of three straight birdies at the par-5 sixth. He made the turn at seven-under-par 29.
'Everything was going my way at the start,' said Sheehan, who won the Buy.Com Price Cutter Charity Championship earlier this year. 'It was kind of scary for a while. You just kind of go with it. When you start thinking, you mess up.'
Sheehan cooled off on the back. He would complete a bogey-free round with birdies on 10 and 18. He ran home an 18-footer at the last hole to claim the course record.
'I missed about a five-footer for birdie at 11,' Sheehan explained. 'If I made that one, I might have started thinking about a 59. Eleven was frustrating. I struggled a little bit on the back. I wasn't doing anything wrong, just not getting as close.'
Barranger got off to nearly as hot a start as Sheehan. Barranger birdied the first, then birdied three straight starting at the third. He polished off the front nine with back-to-back birdies starting at No. 8.
Barranger carded three consecutive birdies beginning at the 13th, but had a hiccup at the 17th when he posted a bogey six at the par-5.
'Somebody's going to shoot 59 this week,' Barranger said. 'It's out there. I think I could have done it very easily today. It's not going to surprise me to see the record get broken.'
Barranger tied the Buy.Com tour-record of 26-under-par when he won the 2001 Buy.Com Dayton Open. During Thursday's round, 98 of the 144 players in the field shot par or better.
Wes Short, Rob McKelvey, Mark Wilson, John Adams, Doug Garwood, Todd Demsey, Eric Meeks, Brian Kamm, David Dyer, Hunter Haas and Kevin Stadler are four shots of the pace at five-under.
Gore and Moore are two of the four two-time winners on the Buy.Com Tour this season. Cliff Kresge, who is tied for 28th at four-under, and Arron Oberholser, who is minus-one, are the other two-time winners.
If one of these four were to win and become a three-time winner, that person would get the automatic Battlefield Promotion to the PGA Tour. Four players have previously gained this promotion -- Chris Smith in 1997 and Heath Slocum, Chad Campbell and Pat Bates in 2001.
Full-field scores from the Gila River Classic
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry