Traffic Jam at Buick Championship

By Sports NetworkJune 29, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Buick ChampionshipCROMWELL, Conn. -- Scott Verplank, Heath Slocum, Peter Lonard and Harrison Frazar all posted rounds of 5-under-par 65 on Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the Buick Championship at the TPC at River Highlands.
Former U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin, Darron Stiles, Memorial winner Carl Pettersson, Camilo Villegas, Todd Fischer and Ron Whittaker are knotted in fifth place at minus-4.
Heath Slocum
Heath Slocum reacts to a birdie during Thursday's opening-round 5-under 65.
Verplank wasted little time in breaking into red figures with a birdie at the first hole. He added another at the fourth and closed his front nine with a birdie at the ninth.
On the back nine, Verplank recorded his first birdie at the par-4 12th. He drained an 11-foot birdie putt on the last to become the lone co-leader from the afternoon tee times.
'I only missed one fairway and I hit a lot of greens,' said Verplank. 'I like this golf course okay. I haven't played here that often, but it seems to fit my game.'
Verplank is finally returning to form as he has been hampered by a shoulder injury. A couple of high finishes could vault him up from 16th on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list.
'If I play like I'm used to playing here in the next couple of months, I'll have a legitimate shot to make it,' admitted Verplank. 'I'm just turning the corner now.'
Slocum, who has won in each of the last two seasons, started on the back nine on Thursday and parred his first three holes. At the par-5 13th, Slocum tried to get home in two, but blocked his second right. He knocked his third to 35 feet, but rolled in the birdie try.
At the reachable, par-4 15th, Slocum missed the green left, then chipped to 6 feet, where he canned the putt. He closed his opening-nine holes with a 25-foot chip-in birdie from the fringe at 17.
On his second nine, Slocum ran home a 5-foot birdie putt at the first. He hit a 5-wood to 8 feet at the par-3 fifth to set up birdie then parred out for his share of the lead.
'Today I started off with quality good shots, then made some putts and got a little bit of confidence,' said Slocum, who owns only one top-10 this season. 'Overall it was just a good day.'
Lonard three-putted the 13th green for a bogey, but caught fire after that. At the 14th, Lonard hit a 6-iron to 3 feet to set up birdie, then kicked in another birdie putt from the same length at 15. The Australian converted a 30- footer for birdie from the fringe at 16, then polished off his fourth birdie in a row from 20 feet at the 17th.
At the second, Lonard hit a wedge to 4 feet and holed the birdie putt. He reached 5 under par with a 20-footer with a birdie at the par-3 eighth hole.
'It was one of those rounds where I hit a lot of greens, a lot of fairways and holed a couple of long putts and maybe missed one I probably should have got,' acknowledged Lonard. 'All in all, it was pretty safe.'
Frazar started on the back nine Thursday and birdied two in a row from the 13th. He bogeyed No. 15, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a birdie at the 17th.
Frazar tallied three birdies in a four-hole span in the middle of his second nine to reach minus-5.
Justin Leonard, Kenny Perry and Zach Johnson headline a group of players tied for 11th place at 3-under-par 67.
Defending champion Brad Faxon struggled mightily on Thursday. He shot a 4-over-par 74 and is part of group tied for 137th place.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

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    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

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    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

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    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

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    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

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