Choi Leads in Hawaii after Day 1

By Associated PressJanuary 10, 2008, 5:00 pm
HONOLULU, Hawaii - K.J. K.J. Choi is accustomed to starting strong at the Sony Open, closing with a birdie for a 6-under 64 that gave him a one-shot lead Thursday and his sixth consecutive opening round in the 60s at Waialae Country Club.
 
Jimmy Walker usually expects the worst when he comes to these shores.
 
The former Nationwide Tour player of the year suffered a serious neck injury at the Sony Open in his rookie debut three years ago. Walker returned the next year and shot 80. A reluctant return to Waialae helped erase some bad vibes, as Walker was among three players at 65 on a day of low scoring and no wind.
 
It was reflected on the scoreboard, with more than half of the 144-man finishing under par.
 
That Choi was atop the leaderboard was no surprise. He also opened with a 64 last year and wound up in a tie for fourth. It was a continuation from last week at the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship, where Choi was in last place until closing 69-69.

'I'm getting back to my rhythm,' he said.
 
Heath Slocum, who teamed with Boo Weekley for a runner-up finish at the World Cup in China over Thanksgiving, and Stephen Marino joined Walker at 65. The group at 66 included Mercedes winner Daniel Chopra, Chad Campbell and Rory Sabbatini.
 
Tadd Fujikawa, who turned 17 on Tuesday, was headed for a short week.
 
One year after he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour, Fujikawa never recovered from a double bogey on the second hole. He didn't make birdie until No. 12 and wound up with a 74, leaving him a long shot to earn his first paycheck since turning pro last summer. This is eighth event as a pro.
 
'I had a rough day,' Fujikawa said. 'I've got to shoot a good round tomorrow to make the cut. I think I can do it. Anything is possible.'
 
The other teenager in the field, 17-year-old amateur Alex Ching, fared slightly better with a 72. Missing from the teen brigade was Michelle Wie, who is not playing the Sony Open for the first time since 2003. That was noticeable only by a sign in the backyard of a house along the first fairway, which was changed from 'Wie Why?' last year to 'Wie Where?'
 
Marino was a rookie last year and played the first two rounds with Wie.
 
'It was a lot different than last year,' Marino said, a reference to a quiet afternoon. 'I told my caddie on the first tee, this time last year I was standing on the first tee with Michelle Wie with about 3,000 people right behind us. It was a little bit different, but it was nice.'
 
Choi also noticed a difference in the gallery. The more he wins, the more support he seems to get. It helps that Honolulu has a large Korean population, but he said winning the Memorial and the AT&T National at Congressional didn't hurt.
 
'The way they look at me, it's all changed for the better,' Choi said.
 
He is giving them something to cheer.
 
It began with a 20-foot birdie on the opening hole, one of only five birdies on Waialae's toughest holes, and an 18-footer on the sixth. Choi also handled the par 5s, but he was most pleased with keeping bogeys off his card.
 
'What's meaningful is that I had a bogey-free round,' he said. 'My score reflected it.'
 
Walker, who turns 29 next week, is trying to forget about his first trip to Hawaii. He was the Nationwide Tour player of the year, a rookie in the big leagues, but he never made it to the first tee. While hitting balls on the range, he felt stiffness in his back and was taken to the emergency room, where tests revealed a bulging disk in his neck.
 
That set the tone for a year in which he played only nine times. The following year wasn't much better, but Walker made it back to the PGA TOUR by finishing 25th on the Nationwide, earning the final card.
 
'When I saw I was getting in, I was like, 'Oh, good. I get to go back to Hawaii.' I've got some good memories,' he said, smiling wryly. 'My wife stayed home; it hasn't been a great couple of trips for us. When you get in, you've got to play.'
 
The blessing was playing well, starting with a birdie on No. 10, his first hole of a new season. He kept moving right along, using short irons from fairway and thick rough to get it close enough to make some putts, then finishing on the easy par-5 ninth with a 322-yard drive that left him a 7-iron for his second shot, and putt that put him atop the leaderboard.
 
Poetic justice?
 
'Too early for that,' Walker said. 'I just want to keep playing well. You'd love for the fairy-tale ending, but there's a lot of golf left. I feel good, and I hit it well, and I'm putting well. Just keep all that going, and it'll be good.'
 
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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the early 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots out of the lead among those who played Friday morning. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, might have a long stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and was outside the cut. He was in jeopardy of missing his second straight cut, depending on afternoon scoring.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.

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    Football coach hates golf: Don't need practice swearing

    By Jason CrookApril 20, 2018, 10:15 pm

    Some football coaches are a little more talkative than others. On one side of the spectrum, there's Bill Belichick. On the other sits Washington State football coach Mike Leach.

    Leach always delivers the goods, and when asked recently if he liked golf, he didn't hold back:

    As wrong as the 57-year-old is on the topic (golf is awesome), the man makes some hilarious points:

    • “It’s boring. I don’t care where that ball goes.”

    • "Golfers are always practicing their swing. But you know what I never did? I never practice fishing in my living room.”

    • "They'll line up over the ball and they'll say they're going to do something that you can't do with a sniper rifle and a scope, but they're going to do it with a stick and a ball."

    • “Golf’s pretty much for people that don’t swear effectively enough or need practice. And so there are people that need golf, and I don’t think I do.”

    So in conclusion, it's confirmed: Mike Leach - not a golf guy.

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    Quiros takes 1-shot lead in Morocco

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 8:22 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - Alvaro Quiros shot a solid 2-under 70 in windy conditions to push into a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Friday.

    Quiros fought the elements, carding seven birdies and five bogeys to move to 7 under overall and take the outright lead at the halfway point of the European Tour event.

    The Spaniard was one clear of Andrew Dodt, who moved into contention with a 4-under 68 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course. Dodt dropped two shots in his first six holes but the Australian recovered from that shaky start to collect four birdies and an eagle.


    Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II


    Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was another shot back in third on 5 under after his 71.

    Bradley Dredge of Wales, who shared the first-round lead with Quiros, slipped off the pace with a 1-over 73. He's tied for fourth with Austin Connelly of Canada (71), 4 under par and three shots behind Quiros.