Toms Among Honda Leaders

By Sports NetworkMarch 9, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- David Toms posted a 5-under-par 67 Thursday in breezy conditions and shares the lead with three other players as the first round of The Honda Classic was suspended due to darkness.
Toms was joined atop the leaderboard by WGC-Accenture Match Play champion Geoff Ogilvy, Ryuji Imada and former Q-school medalist Mathias Gronberg.
Padraig Harrington
Defending champion Padraig Harrington carded a 1-under 71 Thursday.
The first round was suspended with three players remaining on the course. Those three players will complete their final hole starting at 7:00 a.m. ET Friday. The second round will start as scheduled at 6:45 a.m.
Billy Mayfair, Brian Gay, Jeff Gove and Jason Schultz are one stroke further back at minus-4, as 14 players are within three strokes of the lead.
Toms began his round on the back nine of the Sunrise Course at Country Club of Mirasol. He stumbled to a bogey on his opening hole, but got up and down for birdie on the 12th.
The 2001 PGA Champion missed the green at the 13th and faltered to another bogey. Toms got that stroke back with a 25-foot birdie putt on the 15th. He made it two straight birdies as he ran home a 50-foot birdie effort on 16.
Toms three-putted for bogey on the 18th from the back of the green to make the turn at even-par. Around the turn, Toms ran home three straight 12-foot birdie putts from the third to jump to minus-3.
The 39-year-old pitched his third to the par-5 fifth to 18 feet. Toms rolled that putt in for his fourth birdie. He two-putted for birdie at the next to close a run of five straight birdies. Toms closed with three pars in a row.
'I started off kind of slow, but came back and ended up making a lot of birdies,' Toms said. 'I putted well and capitalized every time I hit a good shot.'
Imada, whose best tour finish is a tie for fifth at last year's Booz Allen Classic, opened with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 10th, his first. He sank a 15-footer for birdie at 12, but gave a stroke back with a bogey on No. 14.
The 29-year-old found a hazard on the 16th and that led to his second bogey. Imada quickly got back to minus-2 with an eagle on the 17th. He came right back with a 12-foot birdie putt on 18 to make the turn at minus-3.
Imada got to 4 under with a 12-foot birdie putt at the second. He missed a 12-foot par putt on four, but got that stroke back with a 6-foot birdie effort at the sixth. Imada birdied the seventh to grab a share of the lead and parred his final two holes to remain there.
'Conditions were very difficult,' Imada said. 'I heard Bob Estes talking about it. He said 'It was British Open conditions with a PGA Tour setup.' I thought that was kind of true. It's only Thursday, I just wanted to shoot somewhere in red numbers today.'
Ogilvy also played the back nine first on Thursday. He was 1 under for those nine holes with an eagle, a double-bogey and a birdie. Ogilvy parred the first four holes of the front nine before sinking a birdie on the fifth.
The Australian then hit the shot of the day at the par-five sixth. Ogilvy holed his 8-iron second shot from 180 yards out for a double-eagle that jumped him into a share of the lead.
Ogilvy looked like he was going to finish one back after a bogey on the eighth, but he birdied nine from 22 feet out to end at minus-5.
'I got a big bonus on six with the double-eagle,' said Ogilvy. 'I made a couple of nice up and downs on the front nine. All in all, an eagle and a double-eagle in one round is a real bonus.'
Gronberg got off to a good start as he birdied the first from inside 8 feet. He got up and down for birdie on the fifth from in front of the green, then was able to birdie the par-5 sixth from over the green to get to minus-3.
The Swede knocked a 7-iron to 4 feet at the eighth to setup his fourth birdie. Gronberg blasted out of a greenside bunker at the 12th and nearly holed the shot for eagle. He settled for a tap-in birdie that gave him a share of the lead.
Gronberg, who turns 36 on Sunday, three-putted for bogey on the 16th, but atoned for that error with a two-putt birdie on 17.
Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Champion, posted a 3-under-par 69 Thursday. He shares ninth place with Dudley Hart, Scott Hend and John Cook. Davis Love III leads a group of six players one shot further back at minus-2.
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.