Donald tied atop Disney in pursuit of money title

By Associated PressOctober 20, 2011, 6:45 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Luke Donald figured he might have to win at Disney to have his best shot at capturing the PGA Tour money title. He took a good step Thursday in the Children's Miracle Network Classic with a 6-under 66 for a seven-way share of the lead.

Donald is playing the opening two rounds with Webb Simpson, whose runner-up finish last week at Sea Island gave him a $363,029 lead in the money list. Simpson also played bogey-free on the easier Palm course for a 68.

'Would have loved to have made a couple more at the end,' Donald said of his six birdies. 'I didn't hit the ball great the last few holes. I think you want to capitalize on the slightly easier course, and six birdies and no bogeys was a great start. It wasn't that easy out there. The wind was strong enough to make club selection a little tricky.'

The wind began blowing in the morning as a front came through, giving Disney surprisingly cool conditions.

Donald, who just returned from Europe, immediately put his name in the mix to stay near the top of the leaderboard throughout the morning. Simpson made a late surge and also was satisfied with his start.

'It's a good start,' Simpson said. 'That's all you can ask for on day one. Looking forward to trying to improve tomorrow, just keep trying to climb the leaderboard.'

It's a crowded leaderboard, typical of this season-ending tournament.

With so much attention at the top, it's even more critical at the bottom as players try to finish in the top 125 on the money list to keep full status for next year. James Driscoll is at No. 125, and he was among those who opened with a 66 to tie for the lead.

The others were Arjun Atwal, Nathan Green, Scott Stallings, Derek Lamely and Gary Woodland, who won in Tampa earlier this year and is getting ready for a trip to China for the World Cup.

William McGirt, who knows a thing or two about playing his best when he has to, was in the large group at 67. McGirt narrowly got into the FedEx Cup playoffs, then advanced to the second stage. He now is No. 138 on the money list, and could challenge to get into the top 125 if he can stay in the top 10.

Donald is trying to become the first player to win the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles in the same year. He also is trying to become the first player since Tom Lehman in 1996 to win the PGA Tour money title in the final tournament.

The format is for two pros to play with two amateurs, and with Nos. 1 and 2 on the money list at Disney, it was natural for the tour to put Donald and Simpson in the same group. They had a few light-hearted moments.

'He asked when I was having my offseason,' Donald said. 'I said, `Well, it was going to be this week. Thanks for playing the last two weeks.' But yeah, just some light-hearted banter out there.'

Donald went ahead on the money list with a final birdie at The Tour Championship last month, but then Simpson lost in a playoff at The McGladrey Classic a week ago in his bid to win the money title, which comes with a five-year exemption.

Donald wasn't planning to play Disney until then. The Englishman is missing out on a 10-year reunion at Northwestern, where he was an NCAA champion and loved the Chicago area so much that he now lives there for most of the year.

Northwestern plays Penn State at homecoming, and Donald said he was to be the honorary captain.

His duties?

'Motivational speech, you know, that kind of stuff. Work out with `em every day,' Donald said sarcastically. 'I think I get to be in the locker room and see what they do.'

Instead, he's working at Disney, and trying to make it pay off in a big way.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."