Johnson Goydos lead the way at Pebble Beach

By Doug FergusonFebruary 14, 2010, 4:17 am
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Dustin Johnson is powering his away around the Monterey Peninsula. Paul Goydos is poking along. Two golfers who couldn’t be any more different were tied for the lead Saturday in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Johnson reached the 595-yard opening hole at Spyglass Hill with a hybrid and made a 20-foot eagle from the fringe to send him on his way to an 8-under 64, despite a three-putt bogey on his final hole.

Goydos reached the 513-yard second hole with a 3-wood and made an 8-foot eagle putt, then birdied two of the final three holes for a 64 at Pebble Beach.

They were at 18-under 196 and were four shots clear of anyone else.

Johnson is leading the field this week in driving distance at 310.7 yards. Goydos, who is averaging 262.7 yards off the tee, was asked if he would just ignore Johnson’s power off the tee.

“No, I fully panic,” Goydos said. “You know, it is what it is. I don’t know if ‘ignore’ is the right word, but you appreciate. I’m going to appreciate his play, but you go out and play your game, too. I have do things differently than he does, and he’s got to do things differently than I do.”

J.B. Holmes and Bryce Molder each had a 68 at Spyglass Hill, while Matt Jones had a 66 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. They were tied for third at 14-under 200.

David Duval had a 67 and was tied for seventh. Phil Mickelson had a 69 at Pebble Beach and was eight shots out of the lead.

The biggest star Saturday was the weather, some of the most spectacular conditions this tournament has seen in years. Along the coast of Pebble Beach, huge swells crashed against the rocks and the sea wall.

“The ocean was angry today,” Goydos said. “What they’ve got here is God’s gift to golf.”

Goydos’ game isn’t always so pretty, although there is no disputing how he reached the top of the leaderboard. On the par-5 sixth hole, his second shot from the rough barely cleared the hill and nearly went into a bunker. With an awkward stance, he did well to get it on the green. And after a two-putt par, he said to his partners, “That never looked like it was going to be better than a 5.”

One hole later, with a stiff ocean breeze at his back and a downhill shot to a green 97 yards away, he hit sand wedge to 2 feet.

Over at Spyglass, traditionally the toughest course on the rotation, Johnson was wailing away. The defending champion had two eagles and played the par 5s in 6 under, and he had a chance at the course record of 62 until charging his birdie putt past the hole and missing the comeback putt for par.

“Length is not an issue,” Johnson said. “Doesn’t play very long for me. If I’m hitting it in the fairway, then it definitely plays right into my hands, because I can get to all the par 5s there.”

Asked which courses plays long for him, Johnson said with a fixed smile, “Not too many of ‘em.”

On this glorious day with a stiff breeze, Spyglass was the place to be. Pebble Beach and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula, a par 70 and newcomer to the rotation, are exposed along the ocean. Except for five holes, Spyglass is sheltered by pines and cypress.

Johnson and Goydos couldn’t recall playing with each other before, and even if they did, it’s not like they would have been together given the difference in their tee shots.

But as much as Goydos appreciates the power, Johnson appreciates how Goydos can score.

“His game is definitely a little bit different than mind, and he finds a way to get it done,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter how far you hit it or where you hit it. You’ve just got to find a way to get it in the hole. Whoever can get it in the hole tomorrow is going to come out with the victory.”

Few players are more self-deprecating than Goydos, notable among other quotes for once saying, “Tiger is trying to win 18 majors. I’m trying to play in 18 majors.”

But he did well to hold his own when asked if Johnson was a better player as they head into the final round.

“He’s won twice in two years. I’ve won twice in 18,” Goydos said. “‘Better’ is an interesting word. He’s definitely off to a much better start than I had. There’s a slight curve because I’ve been out so long. So if he’d won 10 times after 18 years, the answer is ‘yes.’ But right now? I don’t know.”

Then he paused before adding, “He’s definitely showing signs of it.”

Divots: Goydos and Hertz executive Bob Stuart had a one-shot lead in the pro-am competition. The top 25 teams advanced to the final round Sunday. … Johnson or Goydos only need to break par on Sunday to break the 72-hole scoring record of 268, first set by Mark O’Meara in 1997 and matched by Phil Mickelson in 2007.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.