Appleby Back in Familiar Spot in Houston

By Associated PressMarch 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Shell Houston OpenHUMBLE, Texas -- Stuart Appleby was back on top of the leaderboard at the Houston Open on Thursday with the same first-round score that propelled him to a six-shot victory last year.
 
He wasn't as excited about his 6-under 66 this time, because he knows he isn't playing as well as he was a year ago.
 
Kevin Sutherland and rookie Johnson Wagner, who was born in Amarillo, also shot 66s to share the first-round lead. Like Appleby, they teed off in the morning, before gusty wind kicked up and made the 7,457-yard Tournament Course at Redstone more challenging.
 
'The course is there to be had,' Appleby said. 'It's not a difficult course in no wind.'
 
Texans Justin Leonard, Jeff Maggert and Bob Estes were in a group of six players one shot back after 67s. Estes had the lowest round of the afternoon starters.
 
Appleby hasn't won since Houston last year and has only one top-30 finish in seven starts in 2007. The Australian birdied three of his first four holes in the early morning, when conditions were calm and the course was most vulnerable.
 
'That really set the theme for the day,' he said.
 
Appleby added three birdies on his back nine, but said the round was rougher than his score revealed. He missed seven of 14 fairways, finding a bunker with his tee shot on the par-5 fourth hole that led to a bogey.
 
Appleby still easily broke 70 for the first time this year, scoring well despite playing what he called his 'C' game.
 
'I'm not really worried about trying to just play good every week and win,' he said. 'I'm more worried about playing poorer golf better. That's probably what today was. It wasn't quite right, but it was a lot better golf.'
 
Leonard, who lives in Dallas, shot in the 60s for the first time since last October, playing what he thought was his best round since 2005.
 
The 1997 British Open champion finished 109th on the money list last year and hasn't had a top-10 finish since last February.
 
Leonard missed the cut in his first six starts this year and finally ran out of patience. He fired swing coach Butch Harmon and caddie Brent Everson and reunited with Randy Smith, the pro at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas, who was Leonard's first instructor.
 
The moment Leonard started working with his old teacher, his outlook improved.
 
'It's probably 10 percent swing and it's probably 90 percent just the surroundings, being at Royal Oaks on the back of the range,' Leonard said. 'When you make changes, it's easier to go back to what you know, because there's a familiarity there. I think that breeds confidence.'
 
Leonard has also started seeing a sports psychologist, trying to rediscover the mind-set that helped him win 10 tournaments between 1996-2005.
 
Two weeks ago at Bay Hill, Leonard tied for 75th with his childhood coach at his side and new caddie Brian Smith (no relation) on his bag. It was nothing spectacular, but Leonard saw encouraging progress.
 
Leonard spent the last two weeks working with Randy Smith in Dallas and arrived in Houston feeling good about his game for the first time in months.
 
'After the work that I've put in the last 10 days, I kind of expected to play well,' he said. 'It's a nice change of pace.'
 
Leonard kick-started his round by chipping in from behind the green at No. 2. He holed a 10-foot putt on the next hole and added birdie putts on Nos. 7, 12 and 13.
 
'It's a round that I can build on,' he said. 'I don't feel like I'm over any hump. But I got a whole lot closer today.'
 
DIVOTS
Sutherland has traditionally played well in Houston, losing a playoff to Phil Blackmar in 1997 and finishing in the top 20 three times since 2000. 'I just have a lot of success here for whatever reason,' Sutherland said. 'Sometimes trying not to figure it out is the best way to go.' ... Wagner took off his shoes and socks and rolled up his pant legs to save par on No. 18 after his approach trickled to the edge of a pond. Ankle-deep in the water, Wagner pitched his third shot to six feet, put his footwear back on and sank the putt. Fans gave Wagner some good-natured heckling during his ordeal. '(They said) 'Your legs are white, put them back on, get your shoes wet,'' Wagner said. 'It was pretty ugly.' ... Tripp Isenhour and Jeff Sluman withdrew because of back injuries.
 
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    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.