Mahan Leads Travelers After Round 1

By Associated PressJune 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
Travelers ChampionshipCROMWELL, Conn. -- The scoreboard at Travelers Championship made the U.S. Open seem like a distant memory.
 
A week after only eight sub-par rounds were carded at the U.S. Open, 60 players broke par in the first round.
 
Hunter Mahan, who finished second a year ago, shot an 8-under 62, one shot off the course record, to take the first-round lead. It was his sixth consecutive round in the 60s at the TPC at River Highlands.
 
'It's one of the courses that you look at it and you feel comfortable,' he said. 'There's not really a shot here that I worry about.'
 
Rain suspended play Thursday night and 39 golfers wrapped up their first round Friday morning, including Olin Browne, who won this tournament in 1998. He finished with a 67, then eagled early in his second round to trail the leader by three.
 
'This is what golf should be,' said Chris DiMarco, whose 64 was good for only second place. 'It shouldn't be about plus 20s and plus 25s. I think the fans, if we started doing that every week, I think we would lose our fans. I think they want to see us make birdies.'
 
Mahan shot a 31 on his first nine holes. He parred No. 10, then birdied his next four holes. A rain delay of more than an hour didn't seem to faze him, as he came back out and birdied No. 17.
 
'I hit my driver great, put the ball in play,' he said. 'I hit a lot of good irons and wedges.'
 
That run allowed him to overtake DiMarco, who shot a strong round despite an ailing shoulder.
 
'I hit a ton of good golf shots today,' Mahan said. 'But it's just the first round. We've got a long way to go.'
 
Mahan tied his best round, which came during the third round of the 2003 Valero Texas Open. His previous best this year was a second-round 65 at the Buick Invitational. He's had two top-10 finishes this year but has never won on tour.
 
'If I can build on my score from today, I feel I have a pretty good shot,' he said.
 
The course record is 61, held by four players, including two-time champion Phil Mickelson, who withdrew from this year's tournament because of an ailing left wrist.
 
DiMarco, who hasn't won on the PGA TOUR since 2002, has been playing with arthritis, tendinitis and a bone spur in his left shoulder for about three months. Two recent cortisone shots and a slight adjustment to his swing seemed to ease his pain. The 64 was his best round of the season.
 
'It felt a lot better out there today,' he said. 'Three weeks ago, every shot I hit, whether it was a 70-yard lob wedge or whatever, it would pop.'
 
Five golfers finished at 65, including TOUR rookie Michael Sim of Australia, who shot 29 on his closing nine.
 
'Once you get on a roll, you just make birdies,' Sim said.
 
DiMarco said he tinkered with his putting grip, which seemed to help his short game. He needed just 26 putts.
 
'I made a bunch of good little putts today,' he said. 'When you make those, confidence breeds and you make longer ones.'
 
The best shot Thursday came from Craig Perks of New Zealand, who used a 6 iron to ace the 202-yard par-3 eighth hole. His blind tee shot went over the water and rolled into the cup.
 
Perks, who shot a 74 in the first round, took home a gold Rolex watch for his effort. Defending champion J.J. Henry, from nearby Fairfield, shot a 68.
 
Masters champion Zach Johnson shot a 71 and Vijay Singh a 68. Singh entered the tournament in third place in the race for the Fedex Cup. He has a chance to make up ground on Tiger Woods and Mickelson.
 
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    Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday

    By Will GrayOctober 21, 2021, 3:52 pm

    Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.

    European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.

    Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.


    Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


    Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.

    Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.

    Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.

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    Paul Azinger Joins NBC Sports Group, Succeeding Johnny Miller as Lead Golf Analyst

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsOctober 22, 2018, 12:15 pm

    Azinger Will Be Lead Golf Analyst on Golf Channel and NBC Tournament Coverage, Contribute to Golf Central’s Live From the Masters,

    Golf Channel’s Instructional Platforms and Future Golf Films Projects

    Paul Azinger will become NBC Sports’ lead golf analyst in 2019, following Johnny Miller’s retirement at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Jan. 31-Feb. 3). The announcement was made by Molly Solomon, executive vice president, content, Golf Channel.

    “For nearly three decades fans tuning into NBC Sports’ golf coverage have been accustomed to a lead analyst that told it like it was, and that mantra will continue with Paul Azinger calling the action from our 18th tower,” Solomon said. “Following Johnny Miller is a tall order. However, we’re confident in Paul’s ability to serve our viewers with candor and sharp insight, pulling from his decorated professional golf career and extensive broadcast experience.”

    “I have great admiration for both the quality of NBC Sports’ coverage and commitment to great storytelling, as well as the network’s deep commitment to the game I love,” Azinger said. “It is a great honor to cover a tremendous slate of PGA TOUR and marquee events, including THE PLAYERS, The Open, Ryder Cup and Tokyo Olympics. Additional opportunities to contribute to instructional and historical projects, as well as Golf Channel’s top-notch news platforms, makes this the role of a lifetime.”

    “Paul is one of the most perceptive minds in golf,” said Tommy Roy, lead golf producer, NBC Sports. “His innate ability to dissect the action in front of him and convey it to the viewer in such a concise, assured manner is what we value most across our tournament broadcast team.”

    Additionally, Azinger will contribute to Golf Channel’s portfolio of platforms, ranging from Golf Central’s Live From the Masters alongside former colleague Mike Tirico; develop instructional content for both on-air and via Revolution Golf; and develop documentary projects for Golf Channel’s Emmy-nominated and critically-acclaimed Golf Films.

    Azinger’s NBC Sports schedule in 2019, which will regularly include all four days of tournament coverage on Golf Channel and NBC, will kick off at the WGC-Mexico Championship (Feb. 21-24). NBC Sports will allow Azinger to continue to call The Masters for the BBC, as well as the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open on FOX.

    Paul Azinger Bio:

    After playing for Florida State University, Azinger’s professional career highlights include 17 worldwide wins, including 12 PGA TOUR wins and the 1993 PGA Championship, as well as captaining the victorious 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team. Following his breakthrough major championship victory at the PGA Championship at Inverness, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After battling the disease for months with intensive chemotherapy and radiation, he was able to return to golf and received the Golf Writer’s Association of America Ben Hogan Award in 1995, which recognizes a professional golfer who remains active in the sport despite serious illness or physical handicap. Azinger’s comeback was fully realized in 2000, when at the age of forty, he won the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    From 2006-2015 he served as the lead golf analyst for ABC and subsequently ESPN. In 2016, he joined Fox Sports' team for its slate of USGA Championships. Paul enjoys many hobbies off the course, including an affinity for poker and foosball, as well as maintaining a consistent schedule of all types of fishing. Azinger and his wife Toni reside in Bradenton, Fla., near their daughters Josie (son-in-law Sebastian) and Sarah Jean (son-in-law Tim). They are proud grandparents of Campbell and Houston.

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    CJ Cup purse payout: Koepka gets PAID

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 22, 2018, 11:52 am

    Brooks Koepka vaulted to world No. 1 with his victory at the CJ Cup. He also earned a lot of money. Here's how the purse was paid out in South Korea.

    1 Brooks Koepka -21 $1,710,000
    2 Gary Woodland -17 $1,026,000
    T3 Ryan Palmer -15 $551,000
    T3 Rafael Cabrera Bello -15 $551,000
    T5 Jason Day -12 $361,000
    T5 Scott Piercy -12 $361,000
    T7 Pat Perez -11 $296,083
    T7 Chez Reavie -11 $296,083
    T7 Cameron Smith -11 $296,083
    T10 Adam Hadwin -10 $228,000
    T10 Adam Scott -10 $228,000
    T10 J.J. Spaun -10 $228,000
    T10 Ian Poulter -10 $228,000
    T14 Tyrrell Hatton -9 $164,730
    T14 Keith Mitchell -9 $164,730
    T14 Brendan Steele -9 $164,730
    T14 Ted Potter Jr. -9 $164,730
    T18 Marc Leishman -8 $121,600
    T18 Beau Hossler -8 $121,600
    T18 Alexander Noren -8 $121,600
    T18 Hideki Matsuyama -8 $121,600
    T18 Paul Casey -8 $121,600
    T23 Patton Kizzire -7 $79,895
    T23 C.T. Pan -7 $79,895
    T23 Danny Willett -7 $79,895
    T23 J.B. Holmes -7 $79,895
    T23 Si Woo Kim -7 $79,895
    T23 Jamie Lovemark -7 $79,895
    T29 Joel Dahmen -6 $56,824
    T29 Andrew Putnam -6 $56,824
    T29 Louis Oosthuizen -6 $56,824
    T29 Sung Kang -6 $56,824
    T29 Kevin Chappell -6 $56,824
    T29 Jimmy Walker -6 $56,824
    T29 Ryan Armour -6 $56,824
    T36 Joaquin Niemann -5 $42,465
    T36 Ernie Els -5 $42,465
    T36 Justin Thomas -5 $42,465
    T36 Brian Harman -5 $42,465
    T36 Brandt Snedeker -5 $42,465
    T41 Sung-jae Im -4 $30,970
    T41 Dong Seop Maeng -4 $30,970
    T41 Brice Garnett -4 $30,970
    T41 Rod Pampling -4 $30,970
    T41 Graeme McDowell -4 $30,970
    T41 Austin Cook -4 $30,970
    T41 Byeong Hun An -4 $30,970
    T48 Charley Hoffman -3 $22,230
    T48 Nick Watney -3 $22,230
    T48 Branden Grace -3 $22,230
    T48 Xander Schauffele -3 $22,230
    T52 Kevin Tway -2 $20,140
    T52 Kevin Na -2 $20,140
    T52 Brian Stuard -2 $20,140
    T55 Emiliano Grillo -1 $19,095
    T55 Jason Dufner -1 $19,095
    T55 Shubhankar Sharma -1 $19,095
    T55 Peter Uihlein -1 $19,095
    T55 Tae hee Lee -1 $19,095
    T55 James Hahn -1 $19,095
    T61 Brian Gay E $18,050
    T61 Ryan Moore E $18,050
    T61 Kyoung-Hoon Lee E $18,050
    T61 Charles Howell III E $18,050
    T61 Doyeob Mun E $18,050
    66 Kyle Stanley 1 $17,480
    T67 Billy Horschel 2 $17,100
    T67 Sanghyun Park 2 $17,100
    T67 Jason Kokrak 2 $17,100
    T70 Charl Schwartzel 4 $16,625
    T70 Stewart Cink 4 $16,625
    72 Whee Kim 5 $16,340
    T73 Abraham Ancer 6 $15,960
    T73 Chesson Hadley 6 $15,960
    T73 Hyungjoon Lee 6 $15,960
    76 Michael Kim 9 $15,580
    T77 Hyun-woo Ryu 13 $15,295
    T77 Minchel Choi 13 $15,295
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    Don't expect Azinger to try to be another MIller

    By Rex HoggardOctober 22, 2018, 11:40 am

    Acting-school teachers call it "using the space," and there are few in golf who can so effortlessly fill a room like Paul Azinger.

    The subject is irrelevant. 'Zinger can cover a lot of ground without a lot of prompting, from fishing to leadership management, but it’s not so much his insight and analysis as much as it is his passion.

    “My wife told me, ‘You’re good at two things, golf and talking,’” Azinger laughed.

    The former lifted Azinger to a dozen PGA Tour victories, including the 1993 PGA Championship, during a playing career that spanned three decades, while the latter has now led him to the pinnacle in golf broadcasting.

    Azinger, 58, reluctantly concedes that although he’s technically succeeding Johnny Miller as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst beginning next year, he will never “replace” the legend.

    “The reality is I’m not going to fill Johnny Miller’s shoes. I’m just going to be myself. Johnny just said tell it like it is. Those shoes are not to be filled. That’s not my goal,” Azinger said.

    Azinger’s body of work in the booth is well established. Where Miller’s analysis has been defined by his blunt and sometimes cutting honesty, Azinger, since he first transitioned to the television world in 2005 – first with ABC Sports and then with ESPN and Fox Sports – has shown a unique ability to effortlessly entertain and inform.

    It wasn’t always that way. During a recent interview Azinger interrupted his normal stream of consciousness and admitted that when he arrived at Brevard [Fla.] Community College in the late 1970s his biggest challenge wasn’t playing golf or maintaining a proper grade-point average – it was speaking.

    “I dropped out of speech class my first year of college because I was so afraid to do the speech,” he admitted before inserting his own punch line. “Once my voice activation system kicked on, now you can’t shut me up.”


    Azinger to replace Miller as lead NBC golf analyst


    It’s difficult to see it now from a man who is poised to become the game’s foremost conversationalist, but there was a time when one might have described Azinger as an introvert.

    Even into his playing days on Tour Azinger was easy and airy around his fellow professionals, but he was never entirely comfortable in a crowd until 1987, which was a breakout year both competitively and personally.

    “I was forced to give a speech in 1987; I was PGA player of the year,” said Azinger, who won three times in ’87 and finished runner-up at The Open. “There were 600 people, that was my first speech. There were more people than I wanted to see. I didn’t know what to do. It was awful. I got up and cracked a joke and kept going.”

    And he’s been talking ever since.

    When Azinger first joined the Tour, he remembers, he got lessons from Byron Nelson and short-game advice from Ben Crenshaw, and he’s competed against every top player from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods.

    He once lost a memorable shoot-out to Woods at Nicklaus’ tournament and was there when Tiger introduced himself to the world in 1996 at the Greater Milwaukee Open.

    “Payne Stewart and I were on the tarmac in Milwaukee and I introduced myself,” he recalled. “I begged (Woods) to stay amateur because I knew he was going to do some damage.”

    After retiring from competition in the mid-2000s with a variety of back ailments, Azinger was the original American task force when he led the U.S. team to victory at the ’08 Ryder Cup. He’s watched with keen interest as a new generation has transformed the game over the last decade.

    Although 'Zinger’s style promises to be different from Miller’s, players shouldn’t expect kid-glove treatment.

    “I see the game of golf as broadly as I ever have. I see all the technology and try to take in the global nature of it,” he said. “I marvel that a guy can hit a golf ball 326 [yards] in the air. They can make a mockery of the hole, but they can make double bogey or triple as well.”

    He showed his fiery side at this year’s U.S. Open while he was working for Fox Sports and the conversation turned to backstopping, the controversial practice of players attempting to use an opponent’s golf ball to gain an advantage.

    “In our generation, the guy who chipped it up there, we didn’t have to tell him to mark that ball. He went up and marked it and we waited on him to mark it. That’s just how it was,” Azinger said at the time. “It’s not right and we all know it’s not right. Be friendly and all that, but do it correctly.”

    No, Azinger has no interest in shying away from difficult subjects, just don’t expect him to go to the “choke” comments as quickly as Miller. That’s not his style.

    Where Miller could be a blunt instrument at times, expect Azinger to deliver his assessments, however critical, with a smile and probably a joke.

    “I love to talk golf as much as I ever have in my life. I think I would regret it if I didn’t take this opportunity,” Azinger admitted. “To be there live for the big events is an opportunity that not many people get. I watch golf with more of a keen eye than I ever have.”

    Azinger was right, there is no replacing Miller, who will call his last event as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst at next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. 'Zinger will bring his own style to the booth complete with an easy smile, disarming Southern drawl and a unique ability to thoroughly use the space.