Englands hopes riding on a somewhat unknown

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
Follow the 137th Open Championship all week on GOLF CHANNEL. Click for our TV schedule!
Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- The English had high hopes of a first British Open triumph since Nick Faldo in 1992, looking to the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Paul Casey to provide it.
Few thought that the Englishman just behind the leaders in fourth place at Royal Birkdale would be Simon Wakefield'and even he wasnt really expecting it.
I was very nervous this morning over breakfast, said Wakefield, who began the day tied for 22nd. I might not sleep tonight. Its a very unfamiliar territory for me. I am going to try and relax tonight and try not to think about it.
Without a tournament victory apart from a pro-am in South Africa, the 34-year-old Wakefield is something of a journeyman. Hes missed 10 cuts in 22 events this year, yet his even-par 70 on Saturday gave him a 5-over total of 215. Only leader Greg Norman at 2 over and defending champion Padraig Harrington and K.J. Choi at 4 over are ahead of Wakefield.
Asked how it would sound if he were handed the famous claret jug as Open winner on Sunday, Wakefield paused and replied: Bizarre, to be honest. Its a long way off my mind at the moment.
Theres a lot of golf to be played. Its a world class field and Im not even going to be thinking of that tonight. Its a fairytale situation.
Wakefields lofty position on the leaderboard didnt look possible when he bogeyed the fourth and sixth holes and went to the turn 2-over for the round. But he birdied three on the homeward nine, holing a putt from the back of the green at the par-3 12th, chipping in from the back of the 14th green for another, and taking four at the par-5 17th.
Im going to go out tomorrow obviously in the same frame of mind as Ive done today, be patient, Wakefield said. I appreciate that everybody else is going to be making bogeys and double-bogeys and others and I thought that would be the key.
Although Wakefield has been to Royal Birkdale twice as a fan, watching Ian Baker-Finch win in 1991 and Mark OMeara triumph 10 years ago, he had never played the course.
His only real inconvenience Saturday was a 10-minute holdup when the wind blew his stationary ball a few inches onto the green at the 457-yard eighth.
I was obviously able to mark it, but then I was not comfortable with playing the putt because we were getting gusts of 30 mph, Wakefield said.
I spoke to one of the referees who called in and they had the same situation on the 10th. So we just hung on and basically waited for the wind to die down. It didnt seem to die down, but we got on with it anyway. I made a good two-putt and we moved on.
Despite a runner-up finish behind Jeev Milkha Singh at last months Austria Open, Wakefields only real claim to fame even in his homeland is that his uncle is a former cricket star, wicketkeeper Bob Taylor.
He seems to get a mention everywhere I go. Hes my moms brother. Theres not much else I can tell you about that, he told reporters anxious to find out something about the leading Englishman at the Open. I dont see him that much, to be honest.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Open Championship
  • Full Coverage - Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.

    Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

    Getty Images

    Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

    The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.