Stadler Tops Top-Notch Leaderboard

By Sports NetworkJuly 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. Senior OpenKETTERING, Ohio -- Craig Stadler fired a 7-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab the first-round lead of the U.S. Senior Open at NCR Country Club.
 
Tom Purtzer is alone in second place after a 6-under-par 65. Loren Roberts, who made his Champions Tour debut last week at the Senior British Open, carded a 5-under-par 67 and has third, one shot better than 2001 U.S. Senior Open champion Bruce Fleisher.
 
Greg Norman
Greg Norman needed 33 putts, but still made his way to the top of the leaderboard early Thursday.
`Greg Norman, who also made his debut on the elder circuit last week at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, opened with a 3-under-par 68 and is tied for fifth place with Senior British Open winner Tom Watson, Dick Mast, Wayne Levi and Bruce Summerhays.
 
'I knew yesterday I was playing very, very well, and it was just a matter of keeping it going,' said Norman, a two-time British Open winner. 'Not that I felt I putted poorly, I just felt like I didn't have the right speed of the greens. That was probably the only downfall or the weakest part of the game today. All in all I felt extremely comfortable.'
 
'I played a pretty solid round of golf,' said Watson. 'I made a pretty solid run on the back nine and a 68 is a good start in this Senior Open.'
 
All of these top players will be looking up at last year's leading money winner.
 
Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, wasted little time in breaking into red figures. He started on the back nine Thursday at NCR and two-putted the par-5 10th green for a birdie. He made it two in a row with a 20-footer at No. 11, then the eight-time winner on the Champions Tour parred his next three holes.
 
At the difficult, par-3 15th, Stadler hit a 3-iron to 5 feet and converted the birdie try. Things briefly fell apart for Stadler at the par-4 18th when his 5-iron approach landed 40 feet right. He three-putted for a bogey to make the turn at 2-under-par 33.
 
Stadler holed a 20-foot birdie putt at the first after his drive landed in the rough. He two-putted for regular pars at two, three and four, but the 52-year-old caught fire late in his round.
 
At the par-5 fifth, Stadler reached the green in two and landed 25 feet from the hole. He missed that, but once again knocked a 3-wood to 25 feet with his second at the par-5 sixth. Stadler made that eagle try to reach 6 under par.
 
Stadler found the fairway with a driver at seven then hit a soft 8-iron to 6 feet. He drained that birdie putt, but never gave himself a good look at birdie the rest of the way. Stadler parred out for the first-round lead.
 
'I just put it in the fairway all day and hit some good iron shots, but the greens are so soft as you see, you just fire at the hole and it stays right there,' said Stadler, who is winless thus far in 2005. 'It's a playable golf course and obviously very scorable this afternoon.'
 
Stadler finished alone in fourth place at last week's Senior British Open, but the former Masters winner does not necessarily believe that this round has much to do with last week.
 
'I'm not a believer or disbeliever in momentum. I think it's just kind of a fact when you play well you tend to feed off that at times,' said Stadler. 'Carry-over from last week - with the positive attitude and the confidence, probably, with the golf game, I don't think so at all. It's completely different golf last week.'
 
Purtzer also began on the back nine and was 3 under through two holes with an eagle at 10 and a birdie at 11. He traded a birdie and a bogey the rest of the way on his first nine, but reached 5 under par thanks to a 4-foot birdie putt at one and a 12-footer at No. 2.
 
Things got a little hairy for Purtzer from there. He drove against a tree at the third, but hit his approach over the green. Purtzer chipped to 2 feet and he made the unlikely par save.
 
At the fourth, Purtzer drove into a bunker, then sailed 40 yards over the green with his second. He pitched his third from deep rough, 10 feet past the hole and once again saved an unbelievable par.
 
'You figure out how far you want to hit it and then make a swing and hopefully it comes off as you envision it, as you want it to,' said Purtzer, referring to his pitch at four. 'Not too many times do they come off like you want in that long of grass.'
 
He ran home a 12-foot eagle putt at No. 6, but pulled his drive at the seventh en route to a bogey.
 
'I really didn't know what to expect, and when you get off to a start like that, it kind of helps get your momentum, get some positive thoughts flowing,' said Purtzer, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour. 'So that definitely helped.'
 
Raymond Floyd, who won the 1969 PGA Championship at NCR, shot a 2-under-par 69 and headlines a group tied for 10th place. Jay Sigel, Rodger Davis and Morris Hatalsky are some of the players tied five shots behind Stadler.
 
Defending champion Peter Jacobsen was 2 under par with three holes to play, but tallied a bogey and a double bogey. He shot a 1-over-par 72 and is part of a group tied for 44th.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Senior Open
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.