Veteran Mackenzie Aims for First European Tour Win
'What amazes me is that I have had three weeks off and not hit a ball and have come out and played really well,' said Mackenzie, who recently returned from a vacation in Florida. 'It comes to show it is not all down to practice and hard work sometimes. Sometimes a layoff does you good.'
Mackenzie was five shots off the lead to start the day but made an early surge with a pair of birdies over the first three holes at Le Golf National. A poor tee shot led to just his fourth bogey of the week, but he put the mistake behind him with a birdie at the eighth hole and a long chip-in eagle at the par-five ninth.
Three more birdies on the inward nine allowed Mackenzie to top a leaderboard heading into the final round for the first time since the 1990 Murphy's Cup. He wound up finishing second in that event, his best showing since he joined the European Tour in 1981.
'I haven't won in all those years and you keep hoping. I don't give up. You just hope your day will come,' he said. 'But you need to be there after three rounds to have a chance and I have a chance now. Hopefully I will play tomorrow like I did today. But I am not going to get too excited because I know what this game is like.'
Mackenzie did win the Zimbabwe Open in 1985. Among his 33 career top-10 finishes on the European Tour was a tie for fifth in the 1992 British Open at Muirfield and a 10th-place showing in the 1994 Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth.
The British journeyman will have to fight off a challenge from Olazabal, one of the hottest players on the planet with two victories and seven top-five finishes worldwide in the last five months.
The two-time Masters champion from Spain got off a sensational start Saturday when used a four-iron to ace the 202-yard, par-three second, a hole he bogeyed on Friday and double-bogeyed in the opening round.
After adding a birdie at the third hole, Olazabal reeled off nine straight pars but finally broke the chain with a birdie set up by an approach inside four feet at the 13th. He dropped a shot at the par-three 16th before closing with two birdies for his second straight round of five-under 67.
'It will be interesting tomorrow,' said Olazabal, who captured this event a year ago at Lyon Golf Club. 'There is a big pack of players who can win the tournament, anyone within five or six shots of the lead. It will be tough but at least I am giving myself a chance.'
Immelman, who jumped out to a four-shot lead with scores of 68-64 over the first two days, came back to the pack after a one-under 71 made up of four birdies and three bogeys.
'I felt I played nicely but just couldn't get going,' said the 22-year-old South African. 'It was just one of those days. I felt I hit some good shots and they didn't quite work out and made some good saves other times.
'All in all it was a pretty good day. I haven't shot myself in the foot and I am right where I want to be. I am within striking distance.'
Denmark's Anders Hansen matched Mackenzie for low round of the day with a 65 to finish alone in fourth place at 12-under. England's Gary Evans (67) and France's Jean-Francois Remesy (69) were next at minus-11.
Remesy is looking to become the first Frenchman to win the Open de France since Jean Garaialde in 1969.
Ian Woosnam of Wales carded eight birdies in a 66 and was four shots back.
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry
Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile
Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.
The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.
"The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."
He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).
Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.
“Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."
Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.
Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.
Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.
The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.