Mickelson grouped with Horschel at Humana

By Will GrayJanuary 20, 2015, 10:33 pm

Phil Mickelson is making his first start of the year at the Humana Challenge, and he'll play the first three rounds alongside the reigning FedEx Cup champ. With three courses in rotation this week and each pro paired with an amateur, groups will remain the same for the first 54 holes before professionals are re-paired for the final round on the Palmer Private course at PGA West.

Here are a few notable first-round groups to keep an eye on this week in southern California (all times ET):

11:40 a.m. (La Quinta C.C.): Phil Mickelson, Billy Horschel

Mickelson will look to end a winless drought that stretches back to the 2013 Open Championship, and he'll do so at an event that he has won twice, most recently in 2004. Horschel is coming off a torrid postseason run that netted him the FedEx Cup trophy, and he tied for 22nd at Kapalua in his first start of 2015.

11:40 a.m. (Nicklaus Private): Zach Johnson, Luke Donald

Two of the best wedge players will comprise this group, as Johnson is coming off a seventh-place finish at Kapalua and a T-64 at the Sony Open. Donald is making his first appearance in this event after teeing it up last week in Honolulu for the first time since 2005.

12:40 p.m. (Palmer Private): Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk

Simpson was a surprise contender last week in Hawaii with his regulation-length putter, and now he heads to an event where he has three top-25 finishes in five appearances. He'll be joined by Kirk, who finished second in the FedEx Cup standings last season and tied a course record in the final round in Maui two weeks ago.

1:10 p.m. (Palmer Private): Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker

Haas recorded his first career win in the desert in 2010, then followed up with a playoff loss in 2011 and also finished T-6 a year ago. He'll be paired with Snedeker, who will hope to rely on a hot putter to help bounce back from a 2013-14 season in which he faded down the stretch.

1:10 p.m. (La Quinta C.C.): Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley

Buddies Dufner and Bradley will have plenty of conversation during their time together - and perhaps a practical joke or two. Bradley is still getting used to his new counterbalanced putter, while Dufner - who lost 20 pounds in the offseason - will look to rebound from an injury-plagued 2014 season.

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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!