Taylor Climbs to the Top at Wild Bay Hill

By Sports NetworkMarch 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. -- With players around him giving away shots at an ugly pace, Vaughn Taylor found a happy place and made some birdies.
 
'I was just trying to imagine I was in Reno,' said Taylor, whose only two PGA TOUR wins came at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
 
Arnold Palmer
Tournament host Arnold Palmer watches Saturday's action. (WireImage)
Taylor shot a 3-under 67 Saturday to take the lead heading into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He stands at 8-under-par 202, two shots better than Ben Curtis.
 
Among a star-packed field of players beginning their tune-up for the Masters next month, Taylor's 67 tied for the best round of the day.
 
A blustery Bay Hill chewed up and spit out almost everybody else, leaving only nine of the 79 players to break par in round three.
 
Overnight leader Rocco Mediate and playing partner Paul Casey exemplified Saturday's string of surprising meltdowns. The duo combined to go 12 over par in their last 11 holes, hitting hazards and the long rough and missing makable putts on just about every hole during that stretch.
 
It left many wondering if Mediate, 44, was experiencing back problems again. He said he was not, and even smiled after earning some measure of salvation with a birdie at No. 18.
 
Curtis avoided too many mistakes and shot a 1-under 69 to move into second place at 6-under 204.
 
Vijay Singh had a quiet 67 to match Taylor and climbed from 19th place overnight into a share of third. He was joined at 5-under 205 by Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, who had a 69.
 
'As the round went along, the wind died a little bit and gave us more chances for birdies,' said Singh.
 
Sergio Garcia remained in the hunt despite a 71 and is tied for fifth place with Trevor Immelman (70), Jerry Kelly (70), Shaun Micheel (71) and John Rollins (72) at 4-under 206.
 
Tiger Woods, who won four straight Bay Hill Invitationals from 2000-2003, parred each of his last nine holes and still made up ground on the leader. He shot a 70 -- three strokes better than Friday's 73 -- to share 10th place with six other players, including Retief Goosen (70).
 
'At least I know I played better today,' said Woods. 'I had a chance to shoot under par, I just didn't do it.'
 
Woods' group is five shots back at 3-under 207. Among them are Mediate, who finished with a 76, and Casey, who had a 73. All in all, not a bad deficit considering the kind of day it was.
 
'I'm surprised. I thought the (leading) score would be 10 under,' Woods said.
 
Beyond the wind, players also had to deal with the half-foot rough Arnold Palmer had waiting for them this week. It dealt blows to everyone Saturday, eating up countless shots, especially among the early leaders.
 
Casey gave away strokes to the rough at Nos. 8, 12, 13 and 14, and it gobbled up shots from Mediate at Nos. 6 and 14. Mediate also found water at the 16th.
 
At different times during the day, Mediate held a three-shot lead and Casey owned a two-shot advantage.
 
The day's best shot came from the same shin-deep rough that was giving everyone fits. Woods, stuck in the high grass at the 16th, knocked his approach over a tree and within 9 feet. Still, he missed the putt and settled for par.
 
'On this golf course, if you miss a fairway it's almost automatic bogey,' Woods said.
 
Taylor had a pair of early bogeys at Nos. 3 and 4, then made the first of five birdies at No. 6 before adding back-to-back birdies to finish the front nine. He made another birdie at No. 12, then took a one-shot lead with a 10-foot birdie at 15.
 
He saved par from 12 feet at the 18th to retain his two-shot lead on Curtis.
 
Taylor has some recent history to reverse if he has any shot at winning his third tour title on Sunday. So far this season, he ranks 166th in final-round scoring with a 74.2 average.
 
'I'm just going to play like I've been playing the last few days and hope things go my way,' he said.
 
Looking ahead, Taylor offered his Ryder Cup experience as a crutch.
 
'That was the greatest pressure I've ever played under,' he said. 'Once you have done that, everything else is easier.'
 
Chris Couch (69) and Bo Van Pelt (70) share 10th place alongside Woods, Goosen, Mediate and Casey; while Chad Campbell (68), Stewart Cink (69), Bart Bryant (70) and Sean O'Hair are a shot further back at 208.
 
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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 Web.com 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.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    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.