Wagner Leads Soggy Gila River

By Sports NetworkOctober 9, 2003, 4:00 pm
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Johnson Wagner fired an 8-under-par 64 Thursday before rain forced the suspension of the first round of the Gila River Golf Classic. Wagner owns a one-stroke lead over Tripp Isenhour and Ben Bates.
Play was suspended at 8:15 PM ET when a thunderstorm rolled into the area. There were 33 players remaining on the course when play was halted. Those players will return to the course at 10:00 AM to complete their rounds, with the second round beginning as scheduled at 9:45 AM.
Ken Duke, John Elliott and Jeff Gove share this place after each posting rounds of 6-under-par 66.
Wagner began his round on the Cattail Course at Whirlwind Golf Club by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt at the 10th. He two-putted for birdie on the par-5 12th and followed by dropping a sand-wedge within 12 feet to set up birdie on No. 13.
He made it three in a row when he rolled in a 30-foot birdie try at the 14th to move to 4 under. Wagner stumbled to a three-putt bogey at the 16th but came right back to birdie the next hole.
On the front side, Wagner converted a seven-footer for birdie on the first to get to 5 under. He stuck an 8-iron within eight feet for birdie at the third before dropping his second shot within two feet of the cup for birdie at the fifth.
Wagner capped his stellar round by making a six-footer for birdie at the seventh.
'This is the first round all year that I've had where I putted well,' said Wagner, whose best finish this year is an 11th place showing at the Chattanooga Classic. 'I love these greens. They are perfect.'
Bates also began on the back nine where he two-putted for birdie on the 12th to open his round. He later two-putted the par-5 17th and followed with another birdie on the 18th.
On the front side, he got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 second before bogeying the par-4 fourth. He drained back-to-back six-foot birdie putts on Nos. 6 and 7 to move to 5 under.
Bates made it three in a row by sinking a five-footer on the eighth and closed out his round by draining a 20-foot birdie putt on the ninth for a share of second place.
'I really did everything good today. I drove it well all day,' said Bates. 'You've got to play this course from the fairway, if you hit it in the rough then you've got issues.'
Isenhour had a slow start to his round. Other than his eight-foot birdie putt on the second, he parred nine of his first 10 holes. He got rolling with a six-foot birdie putt in No. 11.
He followed that with a two-putt birdie putt on the 12th. He rolled in a 25-foot birdie try on the 14th to get to minus-4.
Isenhour, the 2003 winner at the Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs, followed with a hole-in-one at the 15th when he drained a 9-iron from the tee at the 149-yard hole. He tied for second when he sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th.
Lucas Glover and Tjaart van der Walt head a group of players at 5-under-par 67. That duo is joined by James Oh, Scott Sterling, Brad Fabel, Bob Heintz, Kevin Johnson, Brian Wilson and Guy Boros at minus-5.
Related Links:
  • Full-field scores from the Gila River Open
  • Full coverage - Gila River Open
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.