Montys Momentum Wave

By Tom AbbottSeptember 14, 2010, 9:16 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie must be pretty happy. For the past five tournaments on the European Tour schedule, the winners have all been members of his team, a stretch which dates back to Martin Kaymer at the PGA Championship and includes Peter Hanson, Edoardo Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Kaymer again last week in Holland. Furthermore, Monty managed to dodge an embarrassing bullet when Paul Casey faltered to Dustin Johnson at the BMW Championship on the PGA Tour. Casey was a glaring omission from Montgomerie’s wild-card selections. Add to this the silencing of some potentially embarrassing allegations surfacing in the British papers, and Monty is going full speed ahead to Celtic Manor.

Surely it won’t be that easy, and I’m not buying the fact that Europe is such a huge favorite. On paper, yes the European team is stronger, but when the first tee shots are struck, scrunch-up that paper and throw it in the rubbish bin. All 24 of these players are tournament tested, and for that matter potential major winners on any given week. The things the Europeans have on their side:  all of them have been to Celtic Manor at least once in their lives and most have experienced some good, old-fashioned, nasty British weather. I am not a fan of the matches being played so late in the year, and I’m a little disappointed in the choice of venues. The decision these days seems to rest with money and logistics rather than quality of golf course. I just hope the European Tour and the British PGA, the two organizers of the matches on European soil, don’t get caught with their pants down, so to speak, if the heavens open, the wind blows and the players are left trudging around a saturated golf course in wooly hats and drab waterproofs.

The home side may have an advantage, but it's not really doing much to attract you, the potential golfing tourist, to visit Wales. It is a beautiful country. Drive north from Celtic Manor into the Brecon Beacons, through some of the old mining valleys, and you’ll see breath-taking views coupled with interesting historical sights. There are quite a few more authentic golf courses to experience as well. Take Royal Porthcawl, Southerndown and the Rolls of Monmouth, to name a few. We still have a few weeks left before Ryder Cup week begins, and, at present, the sun is shining for captain Monty. In South Wales, at least the for the next week or so, many people across the pond will be keeping their toes and fingers crossed that it stays that way.
On his way to the Walker Cup in 1995, there was a very good possibility Tiger Woods drove down the M4 motorway right past the entrance to Celtic Manor. It was during that event that England’s Gary Wolstenholme pulled off one of the biggest moments in his career. Short- and straight-hitting Gary beat the man that would ultimately become the most famous sportsman in the world, 1-up, in the Saturday singles. It's easily forgotten Woods recovered the day day, winning 4 and 3.

Sneak ahead 15 years, and we find that both are now professionals. Wolstenholme joined the paid ranks late in life having put together one of the best amateur careers in the history of the game. Professional life hasn’t been as easy. A satellite tour win is his only highlight. But in August, life took a turn for the better. His 50th birthday signaled new opportunity, and two weeks ago in his European Senior Tour debut, Wolstenholme placed T-3 at the Travis Perkins Senior Masters. This finish catapulted him to 64th on the money list and gave him a chance of gaining full privileges for the 2011 season without having to go through the dreaded senior Q-School. Wolstenholme is back in action this week at the Casa Serena Open in the Czech Republic. He is seeking another top-10 finish to give him a spot in the Cannes tournament in October to creep into the magical top 30 on the money list and gain a full card for next season. The week of the Ryder Cup, the seniors have the week off, but chances are he’ll be watching Woods, thinking more about his future than one of the great moments of his past.
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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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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.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''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.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.