Toms Wins in a Cakewalk

By Sports NetworkMay 30, 2004, 4:00 pm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Defending champion David Toms only managed a 2-over 73 on Sunday, but that was all that was required to repeat as champion at the St. Jude Classic. He finished at 16-under-par 268 and won by six over 2001 champion Bob Estes.
The win was Toms' first of the 2004 season, a campaign that has been marred by a wrist injury. After surgery, Toms collected two top-10 finishes in the winter, but had one top-25 since the Honda Classic in the second week of March.
'This does a lot for me, makes me feel a lot better about my golf game, about myself,' said Toms, who pocketed $846,000 for his 10th PGA Tour victory. 'When you're struggling in golf it's not a whole lot of fun being on the road, but I've been grinding it out hoping that it would come around, and it has.'
But on Sunday, Toms matched Chad Campbell for largest margin of victory on tour this season. Campbell set the pace with his six-shot win at Bay Hill Invitational, but Toms joined Ernie Els (Sony Open in Hawaii), Mike Weir (Nissan Open) and Tiger Woods (WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship) as the four players who have successfully defended a title in 2004.
Toms also became the third repeat winner of the St. Jude Classic and the first since Lee Trevino who won at Colonial Club in 1971 and 1972. Dave Hill won back-to-back titles in 1969 and 1970.
Estes, who recorded seven consecutive birdies to close out his second round, posted a 2-under 69 on Sunday and came in at 10-under-par 274. Steve Lowery carded a 4-under 67 and tied for third with Tim Herron, who shot a 1-under 70 in the final round. The pair finished at minus-9.
Toms took a seven-shot margin, the largest 54-hole lead on tour this season, into Sunday's final round and the conditions were much different than on Saturday. With storms forecasted for the afternoon, final-round tee times were moved up, but wind gusts that reached 30 miles per hour greeted the players.
The 2001 PGA Champion felt the toughness of the course at the first when he bogeyed the hole, but back-to-back birdies at five and six erased anyone's chances of a final-round comeback.
Toms took a nine-shot lead on to the back nine at the TPC at Southwind, but things did not go smoothly. At the 11th, Toms knocked his 7-iron tee ball into the right bunker. He had an impossible lie and blasted his second through the green. Toms got up-and-down for bogey, but his drive at the next went into the water and it was back-to-back bogeys.
None of Toms' closest competitors made a move up the leaderboard to catch Toms. Toms hit a safe shot into the par-3 14th green that came up 40 feet short of the hole. He left his birdie try 5 feet short, then missed his par putt on the right side. Toms' lead was cut to five, but he birdied the 16th to stop the bleeding.
Toms bogeyed No. 17, but it did not matter. The conditions made it almost impossible for anyone to come near Tom's spot atop the leaderboard.
'Even though I was a couple over par today, I felt like I was still pretty much in control of what I was doing,' said Toms. 'I was just trying to make par on every hole. If I made birdie on any particular hole, that was a bonus. That's the way I tried to play the golf course, because I knew that there weren't going to be any low scores as far as people coming from way back.'
Estes may have come closest, but he was never a factor on Sunday. He chipped in three times, twice for birdie and once for an eagle at the 16th. Estes birdied the final hole to go past Lowery and Herron and take second place, his highest finish since he lost a playoff last year in New Orleans.
'I knew I just needed to just keep hitting quality shots and hopefully make a pitch shot or a putt like I did at the end to give myself that opportunity,' said Estes.
Vaughn Taylor, the tour rookie who took the first-round lead, carded a 3-over 74 on Sunday and tied for fifth place with Stewart Cink (69), Fredrik Jacobson (69) and Brian Gay (73). That group finished the tournament at 8-under-par 276.
Charles Howell III (69), Paul Stankowski (70), Craig Bowden (71) and Hirofumi Miyase (73) shared ninth place at minus-7.
John Daly will be missing the U.S. Open in three weeks. He needed to crack the top-10 on the tour's money list or top-50 in the World Rankings after this week.
The two-time major winner struggled to a 4-over 75 on Sunday and tied for 42nd place. Daly only made $16,450 and finished more the $286,000 behind Cink, who moved to 10th.
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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.