Trio Tied in Texas

By Sports NetworkApril 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
HUMBLE, Texas -- Steve Stricker, Steve Lowery and BellSouth Classic winner Zach Johnson are tied atop the leaderboard during the second round of the Shell Houston Open.
Friday's second round was suspended for darkness with 36 players still on the course. There was a nearly two-hour weather delay on Friday and the players will return to Redstone Golf Club at 8:30 a.m. (et) Saturday morning to complete the second round.
The third round will begin immediately after the completion of the second round. The golfers will be in threesomes and go off both the first and 10th tees because there is more severe weather in the forecast for Saturday.
Stricker posted a 2-under 70 on Friday, while Lowery carded a 3-under 69. Johnson bogeyed his 17th hole en route to a 4-under 68. The trio is knotted at 5-under-par 139.
Vijay Singh fired a 6-under 66 on Friday and is part of a group tied for fourth at 4-under-par 140. Paul Azinger (67) and Patrick Sheehan (71) joined Singh in the clubhouse while John Riegger and Neal Lancaster are at 4-under on the course.
For the second consecutive day, heavy wind swirled around Redstone and the scores reflected it.
Stricker, who played in the morning, opened well with back-to-back birdies at the first and second holes. He started missing greens on the front nine but his scrambling kept him near the leaderboard as the 37-year-old parred out until a bogey at No. 14.
Stricker reclaimed the lost stroke at No. 15 and parred his final three holes to get into the clubhouse with the lead.
'I'm just managing my game well, I think,' said Stricker, who won the 2001 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. 'When I was in trouble, I would try to get it up around the green or shoot away from the pin and just try to get it on the green and two-putt. I just managed my whole two days very well, and I've been putting well.'
Stricker's co-leaders were in the afternoon session.
Lowery started on the back nine and vaulted up the leaderboard with an eagle at 15, then a birdie at the next hole. The momentum was short-lived as Lowery double-bogeyed the 17th and bogeyed the second hole to fall back into the pack.
Then came the delay.
When Lowery returned to the course, he birdied his final three holes, including a 30-footer at the eighth and a 5-footer at the ninth, to join Stricker in a tie for first.
'It worked to my advantage,' said Lowery, referring to the delay. 'I kind of needed a break, so it worked out for me today.'
Johnson's take on the suspension was different as last year's Nationwide Tour Player of the Year was 4 under and headed for the back nine. When he came back, Johnson drained a 57-foot birdie at the 11th to take sole possession of the lead.
He fell back into a tie with a bogey at 13. Johnson moved back into first with a tap-in birdie at 15 but fell into a share of the lead when he bogeyed No. 17.
Johnson won his first PGA Tour event three weeks ago at the BellSouth Classic and with a good weekend, he could join Masters champion Phil Mickelson as the only multiple winners on tour this season.
'I'm starting to see the results of work and it's been great,' said Johnson. 'I've definitely got higher priorities than what I'm doing, but I give 110 percent and I love to do it.'
Justin Leonard (70), Dudley Hart (72), Mark Calcavecchia (69), Chris Riley (74), Scott Hoch (68) and David Peoples (71) are tied for ninth at 3-under-par 141. Joe Ogilvie is 3 under par and will return on the 15th hole.
First-round leader Rod Pampling struggled badly on Friday. He tallied one birdie, a double-bogey and six bogeys for a round of 7-over 79. Pampling is currently tied for 48th at 1-over-par 145.
Related Links:
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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.