Englishman Fosters Lead at Johnnie Walker

By Associated PressAugust 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourGLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Mark Foster posted a 4-under-par 68 in difficult conditions Thursday to take the opening-round lead of the Johnnie Walker Championship.
Twelve players are knotted in second place at 2-under-par 70 as heavy wind and showers greeted the players on Thursday at the PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel.
The tournament was dealt a blow early in the first round when Colin Montgomerie, who finished second to Tiger Woods at the British Open, had to withdraw during play because of a hand injury.
Montgomerie hurt his right hand when he hit his second at the 18th, his ninth hole of the round. He did more damage on the same hole when he struck his third from the heavy rough.
The Scotsman gutted it out for another four holes before withdrawing.
'It is particularly disappointing as this is a tournament I have been looking forward to all year,' said Montgomerie, who may have to pull out of next week's PGA Championship. 'The crowds were fantastic. Unfortunately for them and for the tournament I am sorry. Hopefully everyone understands I cannot play if I am not physically fit.'
Foster was certainly fit on Thursday as he opened on the back nine with back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11. He dropped a shot at the par-5 12th, but Foster parred his next five before closing his front nine with a birdie at the 18th.
Foster, who won the English Amateur Championship in 1994 and 1995, parred his first two on the second nine, then birdied No. 3. He bogeyed the fourth and birdied No. 5 to get back to 3 under par.
The 30-year-old Englishman birdied the ninth to move two clear of the field.
Foster, who earned his first European Tour victory at the 2003 dunhill championship, has struggled thus far in the 2005 season. His best finish of the campaign came at the season-opening China Open, a tie for 11th, and since then he's only posted two top-20s.
'I have been too down and too hard on myself,' said Foster. 'I have not been good enough mentally all year. Being hard on yourself can be both good and bad. When you are doing well and you are hard on yourself you do a bit more, but when you are down and are hard on yourself, I just kept pushing myself down. I need to be more upbeat and enjoy myself out on the course. It is easier said than done, but I did manage to do that today.'
Bradley Dredge, who tied for third place last week at the Scandinavian Masters, was one of the players who shot a 70 on Thursday.
Gregory Bourdy, Emanuele Canonica, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ross Drummond, Darren Fichardt, Robert Karlsson, Michael Kirk, Jonathan Lomas, David Lynn, Damien McGrane and Mark Roe joined Dredge in second place.
Paul Casey, a European Ryder Cupper, carded a 1-under 71 on Thursday and is part of a group tied for 14th. Casey, who captured this year's TCL Classic, won this title in 2001 for his first European Tour victory,
Estoril Open de Portugal winner Paul Broadhurst and Telecom Italia Open champion Steve Webster are among the large group tied with Casey three shots off the lead.
Defending champion Miles Tunnicliff opened with a 3-over 75 and is tied for 72nd place.
Related Links:
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.