Woods three-peats at the Memorial

By Sports NetworkJune 3, 2001, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods fired a six-under 66 on Sunday to come from one shot down and win his third straight Memorial title. His total of 17-under-par 271 was seven shots better than Sergio Garcia and third-round leader Paul Azinger.
 
Woods captured the same tournament three times in row for the first time in his already historic career, and became the first player to accomplish the feat since Tom Watson won consecutive Byron Nelson Classics from 1978-80.
 
The victory also marked Woods' fourth win in his last five starts on the PGA Tour. He posted his 28th career victory to pass Lee Trevino on the all-time win list.
Stewart Cink finished alone in fourth at nine-under par, one shot ahead of Toru Taniguchi and Vijay Singh.
 
Woods began Sunday's final round one shot behind Azinger after they and 23 others finished their third rounds Sunday morning due to a six-hour weather delay on Saturday. Azinger extended the lead to two strokes with a birdie at the first hole but Woods cut the lead to one after a birdie of his own at the next.
 
The par-five fifth hole proved to be the turning point in the tournament. Azinger missed his approach left and landed in water. Woods had 240 yards and nailed a three-iron six feet right of the hole. Azinger missed a 15- foot par save and Woods ran home the eagle for a three-shot swing that translated into a two-shot lead for the World No. 1.
 
'With Paul hitting the water I needed to get the ball on dry land anywhere,' said Woods, who added to $738,000 to his tour-leading earnings. 'I was able to do that and just luckily made three.'
 
Azinger carded his second bogey in a row at six. Woods then took advantage of the next par-five, the seventh, when he hit his second on the right fringe and chipped to three feet to set up a birdie that padded his cushion to a commanding four strokes.
Woods committed his only mistake of the round at the eighth when his tee shot landed in a bunker. He blasted out to 12 feet but could not save par.
 
At the par-three 12th, Woods knocked a seven-iron to 25 feet and drained the birdie putt for a five-shot lead. Woods added back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15, the latter after roping a two-iron 15 feet short of the stick.
 
Woods narrowly missed birdie on 17 as his 15-foot try stopped one revolution short of the cup. He went on to par the final hole after his ball popped out of a greenside bunker.
 
'I feel like I'm playing well,' said Woods. 'I drove the ball pretty decent this week but I really hit my long irons well. When you get greens with this much undulation and this speed, to roll hit it the way you want to how you want to, that's what it's all about.'
 
Woods, who will be taking this coming week off before defending his U.S. Open title at Southern Hills, offered his philosophy on how he can come out on top again.
 
'Hit it straight,' said Woods. 'If you get the ball in the fairway in any U.S. Open consistently, I think you're going to have a wonderful chance of winning.'
Garcia recovered from back-to-back bogeys at five and six with a pair of birdies at the next two holes. He posted a one-under 71 for his second runner-up finish to Woods, the last coming in the 1999 PGA Championship.
 
Azinger, who won this event in 1993, could not recover from the pair of early bogeys. He added bogeys at 11 and 14 but matched Garcia for second place with a birdie at 15. Azinger had a chance to take sole possession of second but could not convert a birdie putt at the last.
 
Stuart Appleby, who played with Woods and Azinger in the final threesome, was in the mix until the 12th. He chipped his second with a three-wood into the water and then whiffed on his fourth shot. After finally chipping on to the putting surface, Appleby two-putted for quadruple-bogey seven.
 
Appleby posted a two-over 74 to finish tied for seventh with close friend and fellow Australian Robert Allenby and Kenny Perry at minus-seven.
 
Scott Hoch posted his fourth consecutive finish in the top-11, taking 10th place at six-under 282.
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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

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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.


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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."

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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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."