Munoz extends lead at Greenbrier; Love 4 back

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2017, 11:20 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – PGA Tour rookie Sebastian Munoz has found a comfortable routine at The Greenbrier Classic - go play golf, then watch a movie at night.

After catching ''Ferris Bueller's Day Off'' following an opening-round 61, Munoz kept it going Friday, shooting a 3-under 67 for a three-stroke lead over Ben Martin and Hudson Swafford heading into the weekend on the Old White TPC.

On Friday night, his plans were the same.

''I'm here with one of my best buddies, so we're just going to hang out and watch a movie and be ready for tomorrow,'' Munoz said.

Munoz has been in this situation before. At the St. Jude Classic last month, Munoz was tied for the lead through 36 holed, but he played the final two rounds in 11 over and finished tied for 60th.

''I feel like Memphis taught me that maybe I was caring too much, trying to hit too many perfect shots all the time,'' Munoz said. ''(I'll) just take those past experiences and use them this week.''


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The 24-year-old Colombian played his college golf at North Texas and said he got a wake-up call when his coach threatened to take away his scholarship for his senior year. Then, former college teammate Carlos Ortiz won three times in his first season on the Web.com Tour in 2014.

''I talked to him and was like, 'Hey, man, I know you're good, but come on. Like, I can get you sometimes,''' Munoz said. ''So that really helped me kind of push through and realize I was good as well.''

Munoz won the Conference USA individual title in 2015 and earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour last year. He's still looking for his first top-10 finish.

Starting his second round on the back nine, Munoz birdied four of his first seven holes, making three putts of over 20 feet. After two bogeys on the front nine, he made a 13-footer for birdie from the fringe on the par-4 seventh. He was at 12-under 128.

No first-round leader has won at Old White TPC since the tournament debuted in 2010. Munoz's closest challengers all have victories on tour.

Swafford, who hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation Friday, won the CareerBuilder Challenge in January and has two other top 10 finishes this season.

Martin, who won in Las Vegas in 2014, is coming off his first top 10 finish of the year last week at the Quicken Loans National.

Martin shot 67 and Swafford had a 66. Both were at 9 under.

Davis Love III, seeking to become the oldest-ever winner on the PGA Tour, followed up his first-round 63 with a 69. He was at 8 under, along with defending champion Danny Lee (68) and Russell Henley (64).

Phil Mickelson accomplished one thing he never managed with longtime caddie Jim ''Bones'' Mackay on the bag - he made the cut at The Greenbrier Classic. He did not play the weekend in three previous starts.

Mickelson had five bogeys and three birdies to shoot 72 and make the cut on the number at 1 under.

''This has been probably the two worst putting days I've had this year,'' Mickelson said. ''The greens are perfect. I just haven't putted well.''

Mickelson and Mackay announced after the U.S. Open they were parting ways. Tim Mickelson is carrying his brother's bag for the rest of the year. Mackay has signed to do on-course commentary for NBC and Golf Channel.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x