Stadler Holds ACE Advantage

By Sports NetworkFebruary 14, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Ace Group ClassicNAPLES, Fla. -- Craig Stadler posted his second consecutive round of 5-under 67 on Saturday to take the second-round lead of the ACE Group Classic. He stands at 10-under-par 134 and owns a one-shot lead over Gary Koch, the overnight leader, at The Club at TwinEagles.
Gil Morgan carded an even-par 72 and is alone in third place at 6-under-par 138.
Hard, swirling winds greeted the players Saturday morning and scores reflected the difficulty. Only nine of the 77 players in the field broke par and only three of those rounds were sub-70.
On Friday, Koch established a new course record with a 10-under 62. Conditions were benign and there was no wind but things changed for the players right away on Saturday.
'It was quite a bit different than yesterday,' said Stadler. 'I hit a lot of good shots today. The long irons were pretty sporty in the wind. I'm usually okay in a breeze but I'm not really that good in winds like this.'
Stadler, a three-time winner on the Champions Tour last year who became the first player to come back to win on the PGA Tour when he titled at the B.C. Open, began the round five strokes behind Koch.
Stadler knocked a 5-iron to three feet to set up birdie at the second. He added an eight-footer for birdie at the par-5 sixth to inch his way closer to Koch's lead.
He missed the green with a 4-iron at the par-5 10th but chipped in from 30 feet to get within one of Koch. Stadler then hit a nine-iron to eight feet at the 15th to collect his fourth birdie of the round and match Koch in first place at minus-nine.
Stadler reached the green in two with a two-iron at the par-5 17th and two- putted from 40 feet for birdie and the lead.
'It was a pretty good day of survival,' admitted Stadler, whose son Kevin held the first-round lead at the PGA Tour's Buick Invitational this week. 'I took advantage of some holes downwind and made some birdies. I had a few good breaks and I had lots of chances.'
Koch is still in the hunt for his first victory since joining the elder circuit last year. His round started with a bogey at the first when his second shot missed the green and he failed to convert a 10-footer for par.
The NBC commentator held his own against the demanding conditions with 12 consecutive pars, including a great save at the 11th when he blasted out of a bunker to six feet and rolled home the putt.
Koch made another mistake at the 14th when he nailed a 5-iron through the green. He had a long way to go between his ball and the hole and his chip came up 12 feet short. Koch failed to save his par and fell two behind Stadler, who was already in the clubhouse.
Koch got one back with a long birdie putt at 16 and parred out to polish off his 1-over round of 73.
'I am satisfied with 73 and where I am after two rounds,' said Koch, who is looking for his first win on the 50-and-over tour. 'It's been a long time since I've been in this position.'
Tom Watson carded the second lowest round of the day Saturday with a 3-under 69. He moved into a tie for fourth place Wayne Levi (71) and Morris Hatalsky (73) at 5-under-par 139.
Lonnie Nielsen, who was in second place at the start of the second round, struggled to a 5-over 77 and shares seventh with D.A. Weibring (73) and Larry Nelson (75). That group is at 4-under-par 140.
Jack Nicklaus, the course architect of TwinEagles, shot a 2-over 74 and is part of a logjam tied for 15th at minus-2.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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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 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.