Flesch Red Hot at Reno-Tahoe

By Associated PressAugust 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
Reno-Tahoe OpenRENO, Nev. -- Steve Flesch overcame windy conditions Saturday with five birdies for his second straight 69 and a five-stroke lead after the third round of the Reno-Tahoe Open.
Flesch, who birdied the last two holes to finish at 15-under 201, also had two bogeys in winds that gusted up to 30 mph and swirled through towering pines on the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf & Country Club on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.
He opened the $3 million tournament with a 9-under 63 in search of his third career victory on the PGA TOUR.
'Anytime you can birdie the last two holes I think you'll be hard to beat,' said Flesch, whose five-stroke lead is the biggest through 54 holes at any PGA event this year. The biggest previous lead was Tiger Woods' four-stroke advantage at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship.
'It was a lot like playing yesterday afternoon to be honest with you,' said Flesch, a 40-year-old left-hander from Kentucky who has earned more than $13 million in 11 years on tour. 'I think today I was a little more conservative because of the wind. I picked my spots out there where I tried to be aggressive.'
PGA TOUR rookie John Merrick had six birdies and two bogeys in a round of 68 to get to 10-under 206 and a tie for second with Australian Steve Allan (69) and Todd Fischer (69), who has a home on the golf course.
Charles Warren, who shot a 63 on Friday and opened the day at 10-under, double bogeyed the second hole en route to a 73 to fall back to 9-under 207.
Kevin Stadler (67), Steve Elkington (69) and Jose Conceres (72) were next at 9-under 208. Jeff Maggert (67) and Shaun Micheel (71) were in a group another stroke back at 8-under par.
Merrick, a former all-Pac 10 golfer at UCLA who is 141st on the money list with $362,000, had three top-25 finishes in the middle of the season but has missed the cut five of his last seven outings.
'It's nice to see your name on the leaderboard. Mine hasn't been up there much this year,' he said. 'I've been trying a little bit too hard I think. This week I've been trying not to put too much pressure on myself.'
Merrick said the winds added to the difficulty of deciding which clubs to use given the nearly 10 percent farther the ball travels at the high elevation.
'I hit 6-iron into No. 9 today and it's a 615-yard, par 5,' Merrick said. 'The winds all over the place. ... One second it's downwind. The next second it's into the wind.'
Allan agreed.
'There's an element of luck out there because the way the wind swirls it's impossible to pick (clubs) sometimes,' he said. 'You can be penalized for some shots that aren't bad shots.'
Fischer, who missed the cut in his only two PGA outings this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach and the U.S. Open, is playing on a sponsor's exemption. He said he treats this tournament as his 'No. 1 major.'
'It was the only one I was looking forward to all year because I knew I was in it,' he said.
Flesch said his wedge play has kept him out of trouble all week. He missed the par-3 second hole long Saturday but chipped up to 4 feet and made the putt to save par. He missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the next hole, then made one from 9 feet for a birdie on the par-4 fifth.
Flesch gave the stroke back on the 220-yard seventh when he hit 3 feet past the green into the rough, chipped to 9 feet and missed his par putt. He had a chance for a birdie on the ninth, but his 3-footer went 180 degrees around the cup before lipping out.
'Whenever you are putting and the wind is blowing that hard it's hard to keep a good rhythm. I hit it hard and spun it around. Those things happen,' he said.
Flesch opened the back nine with consecutive birdies from 3 feet and 9 feet, but had a 3-putt bogey on the par-3 12th before closing with 5-foot birdie putts on each of the last two holes.
Two years ago at Reno, Allan led by two heading to the final hole but missed a 4-foot bogey putt for the victory. He said it will be difficult to catch the leader on Sunday.
'For him, I think a par round would be pretty good and make it tough on us,' Allan said.
Flesch, for one, hopes the wind blows just as hard.
'If I go out there tomorrow and the wind doesn't blow, it brings a whole lot more guys back into it,' he said.
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  • 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."