Singh Rolls Into Second Round

By Sports NetworkOctober 16, 2003, 4:00 pm
SURREY, England -- Vijay Singh won four of his first five holes on Thursday before coasting to an 8-and-7 victory over Alex Cejka in the first round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Chad Campbell, runner-up at the PGA Championship, disposed of Fredrik Jacobson, 6 and 5, while Tim Clark posted a 3-and-2 victory over Stephen Leaney. Thomas Bjorn was the only European to advance to the second round (Fri., 9:15 AM ET on TGC) after handling Len Mattiace, 4 and 3.
Singh was on fire early at the Wentworth Club and won the opening hole with a birdie. He added a birdie at the second for another win and took a 3-up advantage after Cejka bogeyed the par-4 third amid swirling winds.
The pair halved the par-5 fourth with birdies but Cejka found trouble with a bogey at the very next hole to fall 4-down.
Singh dropped a shot with a bogey at the seventh but regained his 4-up lead after Cejka bogeyed the 11th. Singh jumped to 5-up edge with a birdie at the 12th but gave a hole back to Cejka with a bogey at the 13th.
Singh put the clamps on the match with a birdie at the 17th and closed out the morning session with a birdie at the last to hold a 6-up edge after the first 18 holes.
Cejka's problems continued in the afternoon with a double bogey on the par-3 second. Singh added to that with wins at the fourth and the sixth to increase his advantage to 9-up en route to the dominating first-round win.
'I had a great start,' said Singh, who won this event in 1997. 'I was kind of worried about this match because I knew Alex was playing quite well and he also drives the ball very straight. He doesn't make many mistakes but I just told myself that if I go out there and do what I've been doing for the last three months, I should be okay.'
Singh will meet PGA champion Shaun Micheel in the second round.
'I wasn't even thinking about Shaun when I was playing today, but now I can look ahead and think what I have to do tomorrow because it will be a tough match.'
Campbell also had a hot start with wins at the second and the third before an eagle at the par-5 fourth put him 3-up over Jacobson.
The American was 4-up around the turn and managed to increase his lead to 5-up despite two bogeys on the back nine.
Campbell won his first two holes in the afternoon and added a birdie at the fourth to grab an 8-up lead.
Jacobson then bogeyed the ninth to fall 9-down before staging a late rally. Despite Jacobson's charge, it was only a matter of time before Campbell's early success translated into a rout.
'It was a good match but I was able to make a lot of putts where he didn't and I think that is what won it for me,' said Campbell, who will square off against British Open winner Ben Curtis in the second round.
Clark had a much more balanced match with Leaney and found himself 2-down at one point in the morning before battling back to square the match.
The South African fell 2-down again in the afternoon but grabbed a 1-up lead thanks to Leaney's stretch of three consecutive bogeys starting at the eighth.
Clark took a 2-up lead after Leaney bogeyed the 15th and dropped his approach inside 10 feet at the 16th. Clark then drained the putt to secure the match and advance to the second round where he will face none other than fellow countryman, and defending champion, Ernie Els.
'I think that is going to be more fun than anything,' said Clark. 'Obviously Ernie knows this place and he's playing really well. But I will go out and try and enjoy myself and maybe learn a little bit from him. I think I can put up a good match though.'
Bjorn also found himself trailing early and was 3-down after the morning session. However, the Dane, who lost the British Open with a late collapse, took advantage of Mattiace's struggles to take the lead in the afternoon.
Mattiace bogeyed four of his first six holes in the afternoon to let Bjorn back into the match. Bjorn obliged and birdied the eighth to go 1-up.
Bjorn's lead then grew to 2-up after Mattiace bogeyed the ninth. At the par- four 11th, Mattiace dropped another shot to fall 3-down.
Bjorn stretched his advantage to 4-up with a birdie at the 13th and held on for the win.
Bjorn will face Canada's Mike Weir, who ousted Mattiace in a playoff to win the Masters, on Friday.
'I am playing an awfully good player tomorrow,' said Bjorn. 'I'd like to focus on that before I start thinking about anything else.'
Related Links:
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  • Full coverage - HSBC World Match Play Championship
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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 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.

    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.


    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."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."