Verplank Rose Share Lead in the Desert

By Sports NetworkJanuary 18, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Scott Verplank found water with his second shot on his final hole Thursday and that led to a closing bogey. With that bogey, Verplank dropped into a share of the lead with Justin Rose after two rounds of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
 
Verplank fired a 7-under 65 at La Quinta, while Rose was one worse with a 6-under 66 in round two on The Classic Club.
 
This is the only five-round tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule. The format sees each player grouped with amateurs over the first four rounds before the cut is made.
 
The golfers compete on all four courses -- Bermuda Dunes Country Club, the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West, La Quinta Country Club and The Classic Club, which will host the final round on Sunday.
 
First-round leader Robert Allenby managed a 2-under 70 and is tied for third place at minus-11. He was joined there Johnson Wagner (67), a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour last year. Matt Kuchar and John Rollins are one stroke further back at 10-under-par 134.
 
Reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson is playing this week for the first time since the Ryder Cup. He struggled to a 2-under 70 Thursday and is tied for 51st at 4-under-par 140. Mickelson carded three birdies, three bogeys and an eagle in the second round.
 
Verplank, who shared second here last year, started on the back nine at The Classic Club. He birdied his first hole, then collected his second birdie by sinking a 12-foot putt on the par-4 13th.
 
The 42-year-old dropped in back-to-back birdies from the 15th to move to 10 under. Around the turn, Verplank birdied the first from 30 feet out to move into share of the lead.
 
Verplank moved out in front with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 fourth. He came right back with a birdie at the fifth to move to minus-13. After three straight pars, he headed to the 18th with a one-stroke cushion.
 
After finding the right rough off the tee, Verplank's second shot landed in the water. That led to a closing bogey which dropped him into a share of the lead with Rose.
 
'I actually had a pretty good second shot at the green. I just hit a bad shot,' admitted Verplank. 'The only thing that made me mad was how I left that 30-foot putt for par about 5 feet short. I was not happy about that.'
 
Rose got off to a slow start as he was 1 over through four holes. He got on track by holing out from a bunker for eagle at the par-5 fifth.
 
The Englishman got up and down for birdie on the sixth to get to 7 under. Rose picked up his second birdie on the eighth.
 
Around the turn, he caught fire. Rose birdied the 10th. After draining a birdie on 11, Rose holed out again from a bunker for birdie on the par-3 12th to get to 11 under.
 
Rose capped his round with a birdie on the par-4 18th to gain his share of the lead.
 
'I was obviously very pleased to get in there with a 65,' Rose commented. 'The greens at La Quinta are rolling really well and they are also very fast. So you have to be sort of very careful around the cup today. You could leave yourself 3- or 4-footers which I managed to hole today which kept the score going.
 
'I was obviously very pleased with the way I played. I holed two bunker shots. Really my short game today was the reason I played so well and scored so well.'
 
Ted Purdy matched Rose's 65 as the low round of the day. Purdy stands at 9- under-par 135 and it tied for seventh place with Shane Bertsch and Mark Calcavecchia.
 
Kenny Perry, Tripp Isenhour, Ryan Armour, Daniel Chopra, Joe Durant, Dudley Hart, Charley Hoffman and Heath Slocum are one stroke further back at minus- 8. The cut will occur after the fourth round.
 

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    Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

    Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

    Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

    Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

    Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


    FALLING

    Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

    Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

    Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

    Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

    Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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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.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    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.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “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.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    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.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    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.