Furyk shakes off rust at Chevron Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 18, 2008, 5:00 pm
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. ' In what amounts to a one-week break from his four-month vacation, Jim Furyk surprised himself Thursday with a 4-under 68 that gave him a two-shot lead after the first round of the Chevron World Challenge.
 
Furyk has not played a competitive round since winning the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda on Oct. 15. After this week, he wont play again until beginning his 2009 season at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
 
The goal was obviously to come in and play well and try to win the golf tournament, Furyk said, but as little as Ive been playing, I wanted to just kind of get my feet wet and little by little, chip away and try to put a good round together.
 
The entire 16-man field got its feet wet at Sherwood Country Club, which was soggy from a week of cold rain.
 
Furyk was the only player to break 70 in the opening round, and stranger still was that he failed to birdie any of the five par 5s. But he was the only player to birdie the tough 18th, giving him a two-shot lead over Boo Weekley and K.J. Choi.
 
Tiger Woods was reduced to his role as tournament host, tucked away in the Sherwood clubhouse in meetings as his guests tried to keep mud off the ball and navigate their way around canyons and creeks in chilly temperatures.
 
Weekley was walking up the 11th fairway when he pulled up the bottom of his rain pants to reveal camouflage thermals to keep warm. He was heating up nicely until running into trouble on the par-5 16th, where he hit a fairway metal for his fourth shot and escaped with bogey.
 
Choi was flawless on the greens while working with a new caddie'Michael Sponge Waite, who worked for Michael Campbell when he won the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Choi plans to use two caddies next year as his regular looper, Andy Prodger, takes time off.
 
The bizarre round belonged to Mike Weir, who offset his lone bogey with an eagle on the par-5 13th. It was a solid round of golf over 16 holes, but it was the two at the turn that sent him to the bottom of the pack'a triple bogey on the par-3 eighth hole, followed by a quadruple-bogey 8 on the next hole. He wound up with a 78, tied for last with fellow Canadian Stephen Ames.
 
Ryder Cup teammates Steve Stricker, Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan were among those at 71, with Kim the most thrilled. He hasnt played since he was disqualified from the second round of the HSBC Champions in China in early November.
 
It was all rust, he said. I hit two shots that Ive never hit in my life on 16 and 18. My go-to shot is a cut'the ball would not go right when I was setting up to the left.
 
One of them was left of the bunkers on the par-5 16th, going into the hazard and leading to a bogey. The other tee shot on the closing hole was so far off that it landed between generators.
 
Im very happy to break 80 today, Kim said. I told a couple of my buddies that breaking 80 was the goal today. So even though I bogeyed the 18th, Im pretty happy.
 
Furyk was pleased, no doubt, but also wary.
 
Most players arrived at Sherwood with a fair amount of rust, and the scores tend to get better as the week goes on.
 
I think I see more 64s and 65s in this tournament probably in the second, third and fourth rounds than you do the first round, Furyk said. That being said, my best round is always in the first round.
 
Furyk didnt play golf for six weeks except for the odd corporate outing, spending most of his time going to Ohio State and Pittsburgh Steelers football games, and coaching his 5-year-old sons basketball team.
 
He tried to work in shape for this tournament, even with another big break on the other side.
 
I felt like I needed to bridge the gap'play here and then take another seven weeks or so off, he said. I just felt like the longer you wait, the more time its going to take to get back. I also have pride. To just come out here and slap it around and shoot 78 every day and collect a check isnt fair to the sponsor and its not fair to the tournament.
 
DIVOTS:
 
In what could be his final appearance at Sherwood, Fred Couples opened with a 73. In exchange for awarding world ranking points next year, the tournament cannot offer exemptions to any player outside the top 50 in the world. Hunter Mahan will be playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and he already knows his amateur partner'PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. I want to be part of this tour for a long time, Mahan 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."