Reed, Mickelson highlight Humana Challenge field

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2015, 10:18 pm

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Patrick Reed left everyone behind last year in the Humana Challenge. This year, he's trying not to get too far ahead of himself.

''That's one thing I'm going to do, hopefully, different this time than I did last time defending,'' said Reed, set to begin his title defense Thursday.

In his first career defense, Reed tied for 24th in the Wyndham Championship in August.

Last year in the desert, Reed shot three 63s to open a seven-shot lead and closed with a 71 for a two-stroke victory. He admitted he was too conservative in the final round after breaking the PGA Tour record for relation to par for the first 54 holes at 27 under, and becoming the first player to open with three rounds of 63 or better.

''Instead of attacking flags like I did the first three days, I started to play to the middle of greens,'' Reed said. ''You need to stick to your game plan and keep firing hard.''

The 24-year-old Reed is coming off a playoff victory over Jimmy Walker two weeks ago in Hawaii in the Tournament of Champions. Reed has four victories in his last 35 Tour starts.

''The confidence is growing and growing,'' Reed said. ''If I have a bad round or if I'm struggling, I still have that confidence level to keep going and turn a 75 into a 72 or a 71.''

He and wife Justine stayed at Kapalua last week for a vacation.

''Worked on my forehead tan,'' Reed joked. ''Seemed like that got more attention than the actual golf game. ... Played like 13 holes, that's it – through the whole week.''

Phil Mickelson is back, too, after skipping the event last year.

Making his first start since the Ryder Cup in September, Lefty stayed away from the three tournament courses before the first round and wasn't available for comment. He played in Ben Crane's charity event Tuesday at the nearby Madison Club and practiced there Wednesday.

Mickelson worked with trainer Sean Cochran during his long offseason.

''I'm getting lighter, developing more core strength and speed and increasing my ball speed,'' Mickelson said on his website.

The 44-year-old Mickelson, the 2002 and 2004 champion, is winless in 27 PGA Tour starts since the 2013 British Open.

''Not winning made it the worst year of my career,'' Mickelson said on his website. ''It was a bad year statistically in all areas.''

The tournament, long known as the Bob Hope Classic, is in the midst of more sweeping changes. Humana is in its final year as the title sponsor and PGA West's Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus private layouts also are dropping out after the event.

''That's a bummer,'' Keegan Bradley said. ''There's a lot of history on those two courses.''

The tournament was shortened from 90 to 72 holes in 2012 and the celebrity portion of the pro-am field was dropped last year, with only a few ''special guests'' left.

The perfect conditions, mountain views and low scores remain, though wind could be a factor.

Temperatures are expected to reach 73 the first two days, with wind at 7-15 mph Thursday and 5-10 mph Friday. Forecasters expect a high of 80 on Saturday with wind gusts of 20 mph, and a high of 83 on Sunday with wind at 7-15 mph. Morning frost is a slight possibility Friday and Saturday.

DIVOTS: Reed and Mickelson will open Thursday at La Quinta Country Club. Reed is paired with Matt Kuchar, and Mickelson will play alongside FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel. ... Kuchar is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 11 in the world. Horschel is 14th, Reed 15th, Mickelson 16th and Zach Johnson 20th. ... Tim Clark withdrew Wednesday. He was replaced by Tyrone Van Aswegen.

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Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 6:00 am

Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.

Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).

Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.


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That was his only dropped shot of the day.

The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.

That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.

Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.

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'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 5:11 am

Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.

“Go in,” he immediately said.

“Please go in,” he added.



Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.

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Watch: Dufner makes six (!) fist pumps after birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 4:53 am

Jason Dufner makes Ben Stein seem like Jonathan Winters. Dufner often looks mighty miserable for someone who plays golf for a living.

But not on Friday at the CJ Cup!

Dufner made a 20-footer for birdie at the 16th hole and “celebrated” with one-two-three-(pause)-four-five-six fist pumps. There could have been more, but the camera cut away.



That was Dufner’s third birdie on the back nine, which offset a triple bogey at the par-3 seventh, en route to an even-par 72. Good times.

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Watch: Paul C-ace-y makes hole-in-one at CJ Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 2:35 am

Par-par-par-par-par-par. It was a boring second round over the first six holes for Paul Casey at the CJ Cup.

And then he aced the par-3 seventh.



Casey's tee shot from 176 tracked straight towards the hole and rolled in near the final revolution. That got him to 2 under par for the tournament. He was five off the lead, held by Chez Reavie, but bogeyed the ninth and 10th holes to give back those two strokes.

Hey, it's a no-cut event and a guaranteed paycheck. Drinks on Casey!