Four share Travelers Championship lead

By Associated PressAugust 5, 2016, 11:19 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. - Daniel Berger says he's healthy again and hoping to regain the form that helped him to his first PGA Tour title two months ago.

Last year's rookie of the year followed his first-round 66 with a 67 on Friday for a share of the lead in the Travelers Championship.

He matched 2012 Travelers champion Marc Leishman, Russell Henley and Tyrone Van Aswegen at 7-under 133. Leishman shot 68, Henley shot 65, and Van Aswegen 66.

Berger strained his shoulder at the U.S. Open after winning in Memphis at the St. Jude Classic, his fourth top-10 finish in seven starts. The injury forced him to withdraw after hitting his opening tee shot at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and he didn't return until last week at the PGA Championship.

''I definitely played better than I thought I would,'' he said. ''This is my seventh round in six weeks and for a professional golfer that's not a lot.''

Four players, including 49-year-old University of Hartford graduate Jerry Kelly, were a shot behind. Kelly had a 70 after sharing the first-round lead with a 64.

Blayne Barber had the best round of the day with a 64 of his own to top the seven players two strokes back.

''The wind got up a little bit today, so you had to be playing good golf to shoot a really good number,'' Leishman said.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


U.S. Olympians Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar remained in contention. Kuchar shot a 67 to reach 4 under. Reed, who turned 26 on Friday, also shot a 67 and was tied with Watson at 3 under. Watson, the defending champion, had a 70.

Seventy-three players made the cut by shooting even par or better.

''If you're close to the lead, you're close to missing the cut,'' said Paul Casey, who lost last year in a playoff and was among those tied for ninth place at 5 under.

Henley, who is playing this tournament for the first time, joined the leaders by sinking a 20-foot birdie on his final hole, the par-4 ninth.

''It was just a little bit tricky,'' he said. ''I think with no wind on this course we would have seen double digits (under par) by now.''

Van Aswegen put up an early 66 and led most of the day as the wind picked up and the greens dried out.

The 34-year-old, who is looking for his first PGA Tour win, followed up on his 67 Thursday with a second straight bogey-free round. His four birdies included a 45-foot putt on the par-4 10th.

''You make a birdie on 10, you're gaining a stroke on the field there,'' he said. ''I'm hitting the ball quite well and putting really well.''

Kelly had five birdies and five bogeys. He won the last of his titles in 2009.

''I'm tired,'' he said. ''I'm going to watch a movie and see if I can rest a little bit and see if the old bones will work for two more days.''

Reed, one of six Olympians playing in the tournament, turned 26 on Friday. He was presented with a cupcake on the first tee, and blew out the birthday candle on top with a practice swing. Watson then led the crowd at several holes in rousing renditions of ''Happy Birthday.''

''Half the people were chanting 'Happy Birthday' and the other half chanting for all of us, 'USA,' so it was cool,'' he said.

Andrew Loupe, among the leaders after the first round, held a brief one-stroke lead Friday before on his fourth hole of the day, the par-4 14th. He hit his drive out of bounds left, overcompensated right on his next drive and finished with a seven on the hole and missed the cut after shooting a 76.

The most unusual play of the day came from Vaughn Taylor, who put his tee shot on the par-4 17th hole in the course's signature lake. After conferring with a rules official, he was allowed to take a drop from the opposite shore near the 16th tee, because it was no closer to the hole. That gave him a better angle at the green. After a long cart ride around the lake, he was able to make bogey, despite clipping a corporate tent with his approach shot.

Matt Jones shot a second consecutive 69, despite suffering from what officials described as nausea and dehydration during his round. He took a 15-minute break at the turn and received three Intravenous bags of fluid.

After two days of sun and temperatures in the mid-80s, the forecast for Saturday afternoon include the possibility of severe thunderstorms. Because of that, tournament officials will have the players going out early in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

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Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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