Toms Halfway Home to Title Defense

By Sports NetworkMay 28, 2004, 4:00 pm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Defending champion David Toms fired an 8-under 63 on Friday to take the lead midway through the St. Jude Classic. He stands at 12-under-par 130 and leads by one over first-round leader Vaughn Taylor.
Ben Crane is alone in third place at 7-under-par 135 after a second-round 65.
John Daly (65), Paul Stankowski (69), Tim Herron (64) and Ted Purdy (64) are knotted in fourth at minus-6.
Heavy wind and difficult course conditions at the TPC at Southwind greeted the players in Thursday's opening round. Friday was a different story as overnight rain softened the course and the wind was down considerably.
Toms took advantage of the benign conditions quickly with a 6-footer for birdie at the second. He followed that with a spectacular eagle at three when the defending champion hit a 3-wood to 3 feet.
The 2001 PGA Champion missed the green with his second shot at the par-5 fifth, but chipped his third to 10 feet. Toms rolled home that birdie putt then drained a 12-foot birdie putt at the sixth.
Toms was in first place when he made the turn and got to 10 under par when he wedged his approach to 10 feet at the 12th. After that birdie, Toms parred the next three before a 6-footer for birdie at No. 16.
The defending champion's 7-iron approach at 18 looked to be right of the green, but the ball took a great hop and stopped 6 feet from the stick. Toms holed that putt to polish off his amazing 63.
'I wouldn't say I ever really struggled any during the round, but I lost my momentum during the round,' said Toms. 'It was a great day. We had a lot of birdies in our group. Bob Estes birdied the last seven holes after a triple bogey on 11. We fed off each other the whole time and had a good day.'
Toms posted his 10th consecutive round in the 60s at Southwind and appears to have recovered from early-season wrist surgery.
'Earlier in my career I didn't play here very well, but it seems like the more I've played the better I've played,' said Toms, whose last victory after holding the 36-hole lead came in Atlanta at the 2001 PGA Championship. 'I just never found the form that I had the last few years. I've been working hard on my game, maybe at times a little too hard.'
Toms has the history here, is a major winner and a top-20 player in the world, so it's no surprise he is succeeding here. His closest competitor is a different story.
Taylor, a tour rookie whose best finish this season was a tie for 25th at the Buick Invitational, shocked the golf world taking the first-round lead on Thursday. His play on Friday might have been a bigger surprise.
He reached the green in two at the par-5 third and had a good look at eagle from 12 feet. Taylor missed his eagle try, but tapped in for birdie. He made it back-to-back birdies with a 4-footer at the fourth.
Taylor tallied his third birdie in four holes at No. 6 when he chipped in from off the green. He parred the next six holes around the turn, but returned to his birdie ways at No. 13.
Taylor knocked a 9-iron to 12 feet to set up birdie and he recorded two birdies in a row from the 15th to get within one of Toms' lead.
'I played really well today,' said Taylor, who shot a 6-under 65 on Friday. 'I try to not think about what's going on, what's happening, just that it's me and the ball, and I'm just out there playing golf.'
Rich Beem, who followed Toms as the PGA Champion in 2002, posted a 7-under 64 and is tied for eighth place with Steve Allan (67), Hirofumi Miyase (69), Brian Gay (66) and Tripp Isenhour (67). That group stands at 5-under-par 137.
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-over-par 143 and among the notable player who will miss the weekend are: Paul Azinger (145), reigning PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel (150) and this year's Doral champion Craig Parry (150).
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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.