Category Archives: sports

Rahm shoots 62, takes CareerBuilder Challenge lead

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Jon Rahm shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday in perfect conditions at La Quinta Country Club to take the first-round lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm eagled the par-5 fifth – hitting a 5-iron from 215 yards to 5 feet – and played the first six holes in 6 under. The 23-year-old Spaniard had the lowest score of his PGA Tour career, topping a 64 two years ago at Congressional in his first round as a professional.

Austin Cook, Jason Kokrak and Andrew Landry were a stroke back. Cook played PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Kokrak and Landry opened at La Quinta. Nick Watney and Grayson Murray each shot 65 to top the players at PGA West’s Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson had a 70 at La Quinta in his first tournament round since late October.

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PGA picks: Rahm set to continue hot stretch with win at CareerBuilder Challenge

The PGA Tour heads back to the mainland this week with the CareerBuilder Challenge at the Stadium Course at PGA West.

With many of the top players in the world teeing it up in Abu Dhabi, it’s a wide open event with Jon Rahm the only golfer listed in the top-10 of the world golf rankings making the start.

Here’s who to target this week in California.

Favorite to watch (odds less than 20-1)

Jon Rahm

Rahm’s last two tournaments feature a win in the European Tour season finale and a second-place showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He closed in Hawaii by shooting 11-under par on the weekend and will look to keep that going in California this week. He finished 34th in the event last season, and that experience, combined with his red-hot form should see the 23-year-old to victory.

Odds to win: 8-1
Top-5 odds: 2-1

Second tier (odds 20-1 or greater)

Bud Cauley

With two top-10 finishes in his last two starts in the United States, Cauley is rolling heading in to the CareerBuilder Challenge. Expect his fine form to continue at PGA West as the 27-year-old posted a third-place finish at the venue last year. Cauley has yet to win an event on the PGA Tour, but don’t be shocked if this weekend is his first.

Odds to win: 33-1
Top-5 odds: 7-1

Long shot (odds 50-1 or greater)

Peter Uihlein

Technically, Uihlein is considered a rookie on the PGA Tour, but the 28-year-old American has been a star on the European Tour for a few years. Uihlein missed the cut in Hawaii last week but posted fifth- and 10th-place place showings at the WGC-HSBC Champions and CIMB Classic, respectively, in his previous two starts. Those fields featured more star power than this week, and Uihlein could notch his first PGA Tour win as a result.

Odds to win: 50-1
Top-5 odds: 10-1

Super long shot (odds 80-1 or greater)

Aaron Wise

Wise is technically also a PGA Tour rookie, but the former Oregon star actually played in the CareerBuilder Challenge last year. After opening with back-to-back 68s in the event, Wise faded on the weekend but still finished 34th. The 21-year-old is off to a decent start this year, with a 13th-place showing in the RSM Classic two starts ago.

Odds to win: 150-1
Top-5 odds: 25-1

Hit this bet, buy a car (odds 125-1 or greater)

Maverick McNealy

The prolific McNealy won 11 college tournaments in his career at Stanford, a record shared with Patrick Rodgers and some guy named Tiger Woods. He’s playing this week on a sponsor exemption, but is no stranger to PGA Tour events having made six of 10 cuts on the big circuit. He’s familiar with California golf and should feel right at home this week at PGA West.

Odds to win: 200-1
Top-5 odds: 33-1

Last week’s results

Jordan Spieth: T-18
Brian Harman: T-4
J.J. Spaun: T-47
William McGirt: T-65
Ryan Palmer: T-58

Record for year (2 events)

Wins: 1 (Dustin Johnson 15-2)
Top 5: 2

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
(Odds courtesy: Bodog)

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Rory McIlroy set to begin comeback in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

”Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn’t. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,” McIlroy said. ”But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.”

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

”After that 3+ months of a re-set, I’m very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I’ve been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.”

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

”I’ve only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he’s had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is … he’s a totally different person,” McIlroy said. ”Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It’s just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.”

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

”I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I’m at,” McIlroy said. ”I’m obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I’ll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.”

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Kizzire beats Hahn on 6th playoff hole to win Sony Open

HONOLULU (AP) Patton Kizzire outlasted James Hahn in six extra holes to win the Sony Open to become the first multiple winner on the PGA Tour this season.

Kizzire, who won the OHL Classic in Mexico last fall, closed with a 2-under 68.

That turned out to be the easy part.

Hahn shot 62 in the final round Sunday and got into a playoff with Kizzire at 17-under 263.

They matched two pars and two birdies on the par-5 18th. They matched pars when they went to the par-3 17th. It ended on the par 3 along the Pacific Ocean when Hahn putted from right of the green to about 8 feet, and his par putt caught the lip.

”It wasn’t pretty,” Kizzire said. ”I’ll take it any way I can get it.”

Hahn, who won both his PGA Tour events in playoffs at Riviera and Quail Hollow, had birdie putts from 10 feet and 6 feet on the par-5 18th hole at Waialae Country Club that would have won it. He made a 6-foot birdie another time to extend the playoff.

Kizzire had to get up-and-down from a bunker for par on the first extra hole, making a 7-footer to stay alive. It was the longest playoff on the PGA Tour since Bryce Molder won the Open in 2012 in eight extra holes.

It nearly was the most exciting tournament of the year (it’s only the second week) that no one saw. Union workers for video and audio production at Golf Channel events walked out Sunday over a labor dispute, and the network had to scramble to provide limited coverage. They had enough cameras to at least cover the final three holes and the entire playoff, with commentary coming from headquarters in Florida.

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Hoge's 64 gives him narrow Sony Open lead heading to Sunday

HONOLULU (AP) A false missile alert didn’t bother Tom Hoge, and he was just as steady on the golf course Saturday in his round of 6-under 64 to take a one-shot lead at the Sony Open.

Hoge got up-and-down from 40 yards away for birdie on the par-5 18th to take his first 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

If there was uncertainty about the push alert in Hawaii about an incoming ballistic missile, a different variety awaits on Sunday. No one can be sure what to expect in a final round with so many players in contention.

Hoge was at 16-under 194 and was one shot ahead of Mayakoba winner Patton Kizzire (64) and Brian Harman (68).

Kyle Stanley shot 65 and was another shot back.

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Harman posts 63 to lead Sony Open, Thomas 7 back

Brian Harman is enjoying his time in Hawaii.

After finishing third last week at Kapalua, the 30-year-old American grabbed the 36-hole lead in Honolulu at the Sony Open on Friday, making an eagle, six birdies, and one bogey en route to a second-round 63.

“I’m making putts, but I’m also putting myself in position to make those putts,” Harman told the Golf Channel after his round. “I’m getting a bunch of looks. I’m not making everything that I’m looking at, but I’m hitting a lot of good putts and made a few today.”

Harman sits at 13-under par for the tournament, three strokes ahead of Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, John Peterson, and Tom Hoge heading into the weekend at Waialae Country Club.

Patton Kizzire, Ollie Schniederjans, Talor Gooch, and Kyle Stanley are tied for sixth place at 9-under par.

Defending champion Justin Thomas was 1-over on his round through 15 holes Friday, but fought back with a birdie-birdie-eagle finish to post a second straight 67. He’s now seven shots back.

Jordan Spieth birdied two of his last five holes to get to 3-under par for the week, assuring he’ll make the 36-hole cut and play the weekend.

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Johnson, Kirk share Sony Open lead after Spieth stumbles late

Zach Johnson birdied three of his final six holes Thursday to fire a 7-under-par 63, giving him a share of the opening-round lead with Chris Kirk at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Vaughn Taylor, Kyle Stanley, Talor Gooch, and Brian Harman sit one back of the co-leaders at 6-under par, while Peter Malnati, Daisuke Kataoka, and Matt Every are tied for seventh at 5-under.

Jordan Spieth was cruising through 16 holes at 4-under par on his round, but made a mess of the par-4 eighth – his 17th hole – with a quadruple-bogey eight. Spieth, however, rebounded with a birdie on the final hole to post a 1-under-par 69.

Defending champion Justin Thomas was steady all day, carding three birdies and no bogeys for a 3-under-par 67.

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PGA picks: Spieth to continue strong ball-striking with win at Sony Open

Dustin Johnson got things off to a roaring start in 2018 with a runaway victory at Kapalua, obliterating the field with an incredible performance.

Luckily for the field at the Sony Open this week, Johnson isn’t participating, while Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are the only top-10 players in the world teeing it up.

The longtime host of the event, Waialae Country Club, is a par-70 that requires supreme accuracy on both tee shots and approaches to the green.

Here are some players to target on the betting board this week:

Favorite to watch (odds less than 20-1)

Jordan Spieth

Spieth finished third at Waialae last season and hasn’t finished outside the top 20 in the event in three years. He continues to showcase his brilliant iron play, while a balky putter was the only thing keeping him from the top five last week at Kapalua. It’s a safe bet that the world No. 2 will fix those issues and walk off with the victory Sunday evening.

Odds to win: 5-1
Top-5 odds: Even

Second tier (odds 20-1 or greater)

Brian Harman

Harman is among the hottest players on tour right now, as he finished third last week to post his fourth top-10 in as many starts. He’s also been a strong player at Waialae in recent years, posting three consecutive top-20s. Look for the Georgia alum to be back in contention for the second event in a row in Hawaii.

Odds to win: 20-1
Top-5 odds: 16-5

Long shot (odds 50-1 or greater)

J.J. Spaun

Spaun missed the cut in Hawaii last year, but has been in top form since the start of the wraparound season. The 27-year-old has three top-15 finishes in his last three events, including a second-place showing at The RSM Classic in late November.

Odds to win: 66-1
Top-5 odds: 11-1

Super long shot (odds 80-1 or greater)

William McGirt

McGirt has been in fine form to start the 2017-18 season, posting back-to-back top-10s at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and The RSM Classic. He’s also very familiar with the Waialae layout, having posted two top-20 showings in his career at the course. A player of McGirt’s talent – who’s both in-form and has a strong history at the event – is a must-bet at 80-1.

Odds to win: 80-1
Top-5 odds: 10-1

Hit this bet, buy a car (odds 100-1 or greater)

Ryan Palmer

A player with Palmer’s talent normally wouldn’t have such an intriguing price, but the 41-year-old is making his first start since August due to shoulder surgery. While he did miss the cut here last year, his previous history at Waialae makes him a great long shot, with three top-17 showings from 2014-16.

Odds to win: 125-1
Top-5 odds: 16-1

Last week’s results

Dustin Johnson: 1st
Patrick Cantlay: T-15
Brendan Steele: 29th
Ryan Armour: 20th
Adam Hadwin: 32nd

Record for year (1 event)

Wins: 1 (Dustin Johnson 15-2)
Top 5: 1

Odds courtesy: Bodog
Photos courtesy: Getty Images

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Spieth the favorite to win Sony Open

The PGA Tour continues its swing through Hawaii this weekend as the field heads to Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open.

World No. 2 Jordan Spieth is listed as the favorite Monday, while close friend and defending champion Justin Thomas is right behind him.

Here’s a look at the odds for all the notable competitors.

Player Odds
Jordan Spieth 5-1
Justin Thomas 7-1
Marc Leishman 15-1
Brian Harman 20-1
Kevin Kisner 20-1
Zach Johnson 25-1 
Daniel Berger 30-1
Tony Finau 30-1
Russell Henley 30-1
Gary Woodland 30-1
Cameron Smith 30-1
Xander Schauffele 40-1
Charles Howell III 40-1
Jason Dufner 40-1
Webb Simpson 40-1
Si Woo Kim 40-1
Chez Reavie 40-1
Bill Haas 50-1
Peter Uihlein 50-1
J.J. Spaun 50-1
Austin Cook 60-1
Patton Kizzire 60-1
Kyle Stanley 60-1
Keegan Bradley 60-1 
Kevin Na 60-1
Emiliano Grillo 60-1
Ollie Schniederjans 60-1
Jamie Lovemark 60-1
William McGirt 60-1
Russell Knox 60-1 
Hudson Swafford 60-1
Luke List 80-1
Chris Kirk 80-1
Brian Gay 80-1 
Jimmy Walker 100-1
Ryan Palmer 100-1
Danny Lee 100-1
Sean O’Hair 100-1
Scott Piercy 100-1
Harold Varner III 100-1

(Odds courtesy: Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

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Dustin Johnson runs away with Sentry Tournament of Champions

KAPALUA, Hawaii – A new year brought out the best in Dustin Johnson, who powered his way to an 8-under 65 and an eight-shot victory Sunday in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

In a field that featured the top five players in the world, Johnson made a strong opening statement that the No. 1 ranking he has held for nearly a year might be difficult to take away.

Johnson stretched a two-shot lead to six strokes at the turn, then delivered the biggest moment of the week with a drive on the par-4 12th hole that stopped 6 inches from the cup for a tap-in eagle.

He finished at 24-under 268 for his 17th career victory.

Jon Rahm closed with a 69 to finish second and move to No. 3 in the world.

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