Tewell Shopping for Kroger Title

By Sports NetworkSeptember 11, 2004, 4:00 pm
Kroger ClassicMAINEVILLE, Ohio -- Doug Tewell fired a 7-under 65 Saturday to assume the top spot on the leaderboard at the Kroger Classic. He stands at 13-under-par 131 and leads by one over Ireland's Des Smyth at the TPC at River's Bend.
 
Smyth, a first-round co-leader, posted a 5-under 67, while Gary McCord, who shared the lead on Friday with Smyth, only managed a 3-under 69 for sole possession of third at minus-10.
 
Tewell did not get off to a great start on Saturday and he even found trouble before he teed off. His left elbow gave him problems on the putting green and he could not get any medical attention. On the first fairway, Tewell was given an air cast, but he bogeyed the hole.
 
'The first hole was not very pretty,' said Tewell. 'I got the cast in the middle of the fairway and I stuck it on my arm. It still hurts, but it's working so I'm not going to mess with it.'
 
Tewell rebounded with birdies at the second and fourth to get back it, but his play at the end of the front nine is what got him into first. Tewell made a 12-foot birdie putt at the seventh, then collected back-to-back birdies when he holed a 9-footer at the eighth. He tallied his third birdie in a row at No. 9 to make the turn at 4-under 32.
 
Things stayed hot for Tewell on the second nine. He parred the 10th, but left himself with 20 feet for eagle at the par-5 11th. Tewell missed the eagle putt, but tapped in for birdie. At the par-3 12th, Tewell stuck his tee ball inside 2 feet and kicked in his birdie putt.
 
Tewell missed the green at the par-4 15th, but got up-and-down for par. His tee ball at the par-3 16th came up 60 feet short and Tewell ran his birdie putt 8 feet past the hole. Tewell converted that par save as well to keep the lead.
 
At the 17th, Tewell knocked his second shot to 17 feet. The 55-year-old sank the birdie putt and looked to extend his lead at the TPC at River's Bend's closing hole.
 
Tewell laid up short of the putting surface with his second shot as the hole could not be reached thanks to the wind. He hit a solid wedge shot 8 feet beyond the hole and his putt did everything, but fall into the hole.
 
Tewell settled for par and his first second-round lead since the season-opening MasterCard Championship, where he tied for third.
 
'You had to keep going low,' said Tewell. 'If I get the putter working, that seems to be my Achilles heel. I felt good about the putts I hit all day. I hit a good putt at 18. I really thought I made it.'
 
Tewell picked up his first win of the season a few weeks back at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn thanks to a Sunday 64. Since the trip to the winner's circle, Tewell tied for fourth place at the Tradition and shared ninth last week at Pebble Beach.
 
'I'm very comfortable with my game right now,' said Tewell, an eight-time winner on the elder circuit. 'I feel very confident. I'm excited to get out there tomorrow and get after it.'
 
Smyth, a two-time Ryder Cupper from Ireland, recorded birdies at the fourth and sixth holes. He had a 20-foot look at eagle at the eight, but came up 3 feet short. Smyth converted the birdie putt to hang with Tewell near the top of the leaderboard.
 
Smyth made five consecutive pars around the turn before a birdie at the 14th. He was two down to Tewell when Smyth played 17, and Smyth followed Tewell in with birdie.
 
He missed his first fairway at 18 and laid up in a fairway bunker. Smyth's pitching-wedge approach from the sand hit the green, but spun back to the fringe. He two-putted for par as he looks for Champions Tour victory No. 1.
 
Fred Gibson fired a 65 on Saturday and is alone in fourth place at minus-7. Defending champion Gil Morgan (67), Hale Irwin (67), Jim Thorpe (68) and Bob Murphy (69) are knotted in fifth place at 8-under-par 136.
 
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    Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

    Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

    Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

    Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

    Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


    FALLING

    Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

    Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

    Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

    Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

    Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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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.