Watson Up to Old Tricks

By Sports NetworkJuly 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Tom Watson fired an 8-under-par 64 Friday under windy conditions to surge into the lead after the second round of the Senior Players Championship. Watson's 36-hole total of 10-under-par 134 gave him a two-shot edge over Andy North.
'It makes you focus a lot better, I think,' Watson said of playing under difficult conditions. 'I think at times when you don't have the wind you don't focus quite as well. When there's wind, a lot of times you are just happy to get on the green. And then when you hit the ball close, you really feel like you have accomplished something.'
While only five players were able to break 70 at the TPC of Michigan on Friday, Watson did so with virtual ease. After an opening-round 70 that put him six back of overnight leader Gil Morgan, Watson jumped out of the gate on Friday and never looked back.
He hit a 7-iron into the wind to 12 feet for a birdie at the par-4 second. Watson then birdied the par-3 fourth and drained a 30-footer at the par-4 fifth to make it two in a row.
At the par-5 seventh, Watson nearly holed out from the fairway and ended up two-putting for another birdie. He kept plugging along and dropped a 9-iron inside 20 feet for a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at 7-under.
Watson continued his fine play on the inward half and hit a 9-iron out of a fairway bunker at the par-4 11th to set up another birdie. His tee shot at the par-3 12th landed three feet from the cup for a second straight birdie.
At the par-4 16th, Watson hit a pitching-wedge within six feet and ran home the putt for his eighth birdie of the day. He had a chance to match the course record at the 18th but his three-foot birdie try failed to find the bottom of the cup.
'If I had to be critical about the round, I didn't drive the ball in the fairway quite enough but my iron-play and my recovery was good,' said Watson. 'I think this is a very difficult golf course.'
The 53-year-old is still searching for his first victory of the season, while also devoting his time and effort to help his caddie Bruce Edwards.
'I said when he was diagnosed with ALS that I wanted to win for him, and came close at the U.S. Senior Open,' said Watson. 'I haven't had a history of winning very many times on the Champions Tour, and I really do want to win for Bruce. Have another hug on the 18th green like we have had many times before.'
North had an up-and-down start to his round with three birdies and two bogeys over is first five holes. He birdied the par-5 seventh to reach 7-under but found trouble with a bogey at the 11th.
North responded with a birdie at the par-5 13th and added a birdie at the par-5 17th to move into second place alone at 8-under-par 136 after a round of 69.
Morgan, who won this event in 1998, collected two birdies and one bogey over his first nine holes to make the turn at minus-9.
He added a birdie at the 10th to reach 10-under, but Morgan's round fell apart down the stretch.
He bogeyed three of his last five holes en route to a round of 73.
Morgan was joined by Bob Murphy, Terry Mauney and Mike McCullough in a tie for third at 7-under-par 137.
Tom Kite was one shot further back at 6-under-par 138.
Dave Stockton, who is a two-time winner of this event, carded a 1-under 71 to finish at 4-under-par 140 along with Jim Thorpe, Tom Jenkins, Larry Nelson, Mike Hill, Fuzzy Zoeller and Craig Stadler.
Defending champion Stewart Ginn responded from an opening-round 73 with a 3-under 70 on Friday. The Australian finished nine shots off the lead in a group at 1-under-par 143 that includes Hale Irwin.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.