Thorpe Remains in Control

By Sports NetworkOctober 25, 2003, 4:00 pm
SONOMA, Calif. -- Jim Thorpe remained in control of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship after posting a 2-under 70 on Saturday. Thorpe completed 54 holes at 16-under-par 200, three strokes clear of Tom Jenkins.
Jenkins also carded a 70, as did Tom Watson, who held onto third place at 12-under-par 204. Hale Irwin (66), Tom Kite (69) and Graham Marsh (69) moved into the hunt, however, as they stand at 10-under-par 206.
Thorpe, whose lead dropped to two strokes during the third round, opened with a birdie on the par-four third at Sonoma Golf Club. He ran off five straight pars before a birdie at the ninth moved him to 16-under.
He dropped a shot at the 11th as Jenkins birdied the same hole to get to minus-13. Thorpe responded with back-to-back birdies from the 12th to get back to 17-under. He parred four holes in a row before bogeying the last when he lost his drive left for the second straight day.
'Today was a round I needed to get out of the way,' said Thorpe. 'I had a few more butterflies today and I feel like I didn't attack the course. The bogey on 18 wasn't the worst bogey in the world. It could have been a big number there.'
Thorpe could win the money title with a victory this weekend. If he wins, he needs Watson to finish worse than tied for second.
'Winning the money title would be great,' Thorpe said. 'It's something I've never done before and I've never worked as hard on my game as I have the past four or five years. I realize this is my last go-around.'
Jenkins, who aced the 17th on Friday, also opened with a birdie on No. 3. However, he stumbled to a bogey at the sixth. Jenkins erased that mistake with a birdie on the eighth.
On the back side, Jenkins climbed within two shots of Thorpe with birdies at the 11th and 13th. He stumbled to a bogey at No. 16 to finish three behind Thorpe.
'When you get closer and closer to the end, funny things happen,' said Jenkins, who won the Bruno's Memorial Classic earlier this year. 'If you're within three or four strokes going into the last nine holes, you have a good shot at it.'
Watson, who won the JELD-WEN Tradition and Senior British Open this year, birdied the third from 10 feet out. Like Jenkins, Watson bogeyed the sixth after his second sailed over the green and he was unable to get up-and-down for par.
Watson responded with consecutive birdies from the eighth to get to 12-under. He bogeyed the 15th, but came right back with a birdie at the very next hole.
'I didn't play nearly as the well today as I did the first two days,' said Watson. 'I didn't drive the ball particularly well, but I scrambled pretty well and the short game was good, because it kept me within shouting distance of Jim and I'm still in the game. If you drive the ball well you're going shoot low, if you don't, you're going to struggle, like I did today.'
Watson, who is battling for several top awards, played in all nine majors this season, five on the Champions Tour and four on the PGA Tour. He made the cut in seven of those nine events. He won two times and finished second twice, both on the Champions Tour.
'It does have a different feel (than the majors) because this is a limited field,' Watson said. 'When you play in a limited field sometimes you get a break because maybe the chances of you having to shoot your lowest score in a limited field are not as good as when you have a full field. When you have a full field, you've got to be on because there are going to be some people out there who are going to make the move every day.'
Dave Barr, Vicente Fernandez, Bruce Fleisher, Gil Morgan, Larry Nelson and Craig Stadler share seventh place at 8-under-par 208.
Isao Aoki fired a 3-under 69 to win the 54-hole Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions, which was contested by 16 players over the age of 60 and played at the same venue. Aoki finished the event at 8-under-par 208, six strokes clear of Raymond Floyd and Tom Wargo.
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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.

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    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."