Toms Trails Tour Rookie by One

By Sports NetworkMay 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- PGA Tour rookie Vaughn Taylor posted a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the St. Jude Classic at the TPC at Southwind.
Defending champion David Toms and Paul Stankowski carded matching rounds of 4-under-par 67. Heritage winner Stewart Cink, Lian-wei Zhang and Hirofumi Miyase are tied for fourth place at minus-3.
'I hit a lot of good shots under tough conditions today, drove the ball in play for the most part,' said Toms. 'I missed a few fairways but never was really in any trouble. I holed some putts early today, a couple of nice putts, which I haven't been doing, so it was just a good, solid day, a good start for me.'
The course played differently than years past as the greens were fast and firm. Normally players go flag hunting at this tournament but only 20 golfers broke par on Thursday.
Taylor started on the back nine Thursday at the TPC at Southwind and promptly broke into red figures. He sank a 15-foot birdie putt at the 10th, but dropped a shot at the 14th. Taylor hit his approach long and right and missed the 15-footer for the par save.
Taylor rebounded at the next hole when his wedge stopped 10 feet from the hole and he rolled home the birdie putt. He closed out his opening nine with a 30-foot chip-in at No. 18.
The 28-year-old moved up the leaderboard with his play after the turn. Taylor holed a 40-foot birdie putt at the first and made it two in a row with a 30-footer at No. 2.
He drained a 20-footer for birdie at the fifth, then made an 8-footer for birdie at the par-3 eighth to reach 6 under par. At the ninth, Taylor drove into the water off the tee and after his penalty stroke, missed the green with his third. Taylor chipped to 4 feet and ran home the par-saving putt to take the first-round lead for the first time in his brief PGA Tour career.
'I'm looking forward to tomorrow,' said Taylor. 'There's three more days left and a lot of golf to be played. I'm just going to enjoy it and hopefully keep it up.'
Toms, who won by three over Nick Price last year, tallied three birdies over his opening nine holes, the back nine at Southwind. He got to 5 under par after a 20-foot eagle putt at the third, but things briefly fell apart for the 2001 PGA Champion.
He split the fairway at the par-5 fifth, but his 3-iron approach went over the green and he made bogey. Toms came back with an 8-foot birdie at the sixth, but a wedge in the water at the ninth cost him a stroke and a share of first.
Stankowski, who is battling a wrist injury, recorded four birdies in his first 10 holes. He found the water with a 5-iron at the par-3 14th, but chipped to a foot and saved bogey.
Stankowski looked to be in trouble at No. 15 when his drive landed in a divot. He muscled a sand-wedge 6 feet and made the birdie putt to get within one of Taylor.
'I'm pleased with how I finished,' said Stankowski. 'I hit the ball very solid off the tee and I hit the irons pretty good, made a couple putts. That's something lately I have not done well, so it's nice to putt well and give myself a shot.'
Brent Geiberger and Patrick Sheehan are knotted in seventh place at 2-under-par 69.
Tom Lehman, returning to the tour after knee surgery, shot a 1-under 70 and is tied for ninth place with Greg Chalmers, Todd Fischer, Ben Crane, Charles Howell III, J.J. Henry, Tripp Isenhour, Rich Barcelo, Michael Bradley, Steve Allan, J.P. Hayes and last week's Henrico County Open winner on the Nationwide Tour Daniel Chopra.
Related Links:
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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.

    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.


    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."