On a serious Orlando golf outing play 36

By November 9, 2010, 9:24 pm


Grand Cypress New Course
Pot bunkers found on the New Course closely resemble those of the Old Course at St. Andrews.

When the Children's Miracle Network Classic returns to central Florida, vacationers should consider the Sunshine State for their next golf destination.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Most golfers who take an Orlando vacation aren't going just for golf. When you consider Disney, Universal, Sea World and all the other attractions Central Florida has to offer, golf can sometimes get squeezed. If you need to cram 36 holes into one day, here are your best options for multi-course facilities that will satisfy your double-looping desire.

Grand Cypress Golf Club

Grand Cypress Golf Club features 45 Jack Nicklaus-designed holes comprised of three 9-hole courses and the 18-hole New Course that pays tribute to the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Situated in an open meadow, you'll appreciate the generous fairways and lack of water at the New Course. The tee shot at No. 1 looks like an airport runway, with out-of-bounds bordering each side of an extremely wide fairway. If you can avoid the narrow burn short of the green, it can be a simple beginning to your 36-hole journey.

The first hole, along with 17 and 18, are meant to be exact copies of the same holes at the Old Course.

The nine-hole courses are named simply North, South and East, with the North-South combination being the original 18-hole course. It's relatively wide open, but sharply ledged fairways and tall mounds place a premium on accuracy. Like a lot of Florida golf courses, just because there aren't a lot of trees doesn't necessarily mean you can hit it anywhere.

The East nine is more wooded but is more forgiving around the greens.

ChampionsGate Golf Club

Located in the southwest Orlando area, ChampionsGate is home to two 18-hole courses, National and International. Both are designed by Greg Norman, and each has a different style and difficulty.

With a mind-numbing course rating of 76.2 from the tips, ChampionsGate's International course is the tougher of the two tracks, but it's not the 7,300 yards that make this links-style course so difficult. The hard, fast conditions mean longer tee shots, but control into the greens is paramount.

The National course is slightly easier – but not much. Built amid a former orange grove, this 18 is more Americanized, evidenced by more trees and distinct sight lines to each hole.

Orange County National

Orange County National is isolated enough that you feel like you're away from the theme park madness, yet close enough that you could make it back in time for dinner with the kids at Downtown Disney.

Like Grand Cypress OCN features 45 holes, lead by the 18-hole Panther Lake and 18-hole Crooked Cat courses, which have similar design characteristics to one another.

Crooked Cat has more of a links feel to it, with wider landing areas and different shot options into each green. The Panther Lake course is where Tiger Woods was told by Frank, his talking headcover, to 'get more forgiving irons – the Nike Pro-Combos' during a Nike commercial. (The driving range at OCN is where Tiger filmed his amazing golf ball juggling commercial, also for Nike Golf.)

If you're visiting in the winter months, be advised that Orange County National is the periodic host of PGA Tour Q-School, and the course shuts down around that time. That being said, you stand a good chance of being paired with an aspiring pro, as the Professional Golfers Career College is also on site.

Palm and Magnolia at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World boasts four 18-hole golf courses and are an easy drive in between, especially given the resort's free taxi service for golfers between resorts and the golf courses. That said, the Palm and Magnolia, the two participating courses in the Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart, both play at the same original club side-by-side and next to the Magic Kingdom if you're looking for the utmost convenience. Disney's Magnolia course is a long-bombers delight, playing up to nearly 7,500 yards and is filled with long par 4s and 5s, while the Palm course takes a page from south Florida, featuring thousands of palm trees and ponds lining its fairways.

If you've got the kids with you, this facility also features the 9-hole Oak Trail course, a walking-only course that plays a kid-friendly 2,913 yards.

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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.