Snedeker Surprise 36-Hole Leader at Buick

By Sports NetworkJanuary 26, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO -- Brandt Snedeker shot a 2-under 70 Friday and stretched his lead to three strokes at the Buick Invitational, while Tiger Woods fell seven back following a spotty second round.
Snedeker, the Nationwide Tour grad who equaled the Torrey Pines North Course record with a 61 Thursday, is now at 13-under-par 131. He played the tougher South Course in the second round and posted four birdies and two bogeys.
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson kept his focus in Rd. 2 with a 6-under 66 to climb into a tie for 37th.
Charles Howell III had a 64 on the North Course and is second at 10-under 134. Bill Haas (66), Rich Beem (68) and Charlie Wi (72) are tied for third place at 9-under 135.
Further back, Woods sits tied for 12th place at 6-under 138 after posting a 72 on the South Course.
In his first tour event of the season, Woods opened with a 66 in the first round. On Friday, he mixed three birdies with three bogeys.
'I felt comfortable with my swing,' Woods said. 'I hit a couple of loose ones here and there, but the greens are unpredictable.'
Woods hit two 'loose' shots at the par-5 18th.
Using a wood out of a fairway bunker, he topped his second shot and nearly had it roll into a pond. He then knocked his third shot into a bunker behind the green, finally making par after blasting to within 8 feet.
'The second shot (in front of the pond) was the worst. If I can't hit the green from 59 yards, that's not good,' Woods said.
He's seven shots back, but Woods is used to this position at the Buick: It's the same size deficit he overcame on the weekend to win last year, and two strokes better than the one he erased to win in 1999.
In fact, Woods has never led through 36 holes in any of his four wins at this event. If he can figure out the greens -- he ranks 40th in putting -- another comeback is probable.
But 'the greens are very interesting,' Woods sighed. 'Don't leave yourself short putts around here.'
Looking at Snedeker's stats, it's hard to imagine he holds a three-shot lead -- especially since he's hit only a quarter of Torrey Pines' fairways through two rounds.
Friday, his number was even worse than that: just 21 percent.
'I didn't drive it very well today at all. I don't know how many fairways I hit, but probably wasn't too many,' he said.
Snedeker has been saved by his scrambling and putting -- he's top-5 in both -- and his play has been buoyed by a supportive gallery that showed up to see the youngster who flirted with 59 Thursday.
'[It was like] nothing I've ever experienced before,' said Snedeker, 26. 'They were rooting me on and it really kind of got me around the last five or six holes.'
Phil Mickelson had a bogey-free 66 on the North Course to stay above the cut line, finishing the day at 4-under 140. He opened with a 74 Thursday on the South Course.
The cut line fell at 3-under 141.
'It was a change in the courses,' Mickelson explained his improvement from Day 1.
'I'm a little rustier than I thought I would be starting out (the season),' he continued. 'What is happening is my distance control isn't good.'
Players will be on the South Course for the final two rounds. Through Friday, it was playing around four shots harder than the North Course.
'Certainly, it's a lot harder,' Mickelson said.
Among those missing the cut were the last two players besides Woods to win this event: John Daly and Jose Maria Olazabal (both 144).
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    Rahm (62) takes early lead at CareerBuilder

    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 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.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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."