Notes Gore a Surprise So Too Campbell

By Associated PressJune 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- This isn't the first time Jason Gore has led at the U.S. Open.
 
Seven years ago at Olympic, he holed out from about 60 yards for a birdie on the first hole, and since he was in the first group, his name went to the top of the leaderboard.
 
This time, though, it's a little sweeter: He's there after 36 holes.
 
The 31-year-old veteran of the Nationwide Tour shot a 3-under 67 Friday in the second to tie defending champ Retief Goosen and Olin Browne. They have a one-shot advantage over K.J. Choi and Mark Hensby.
 
'This is old hat for me,' Gore quipped.
 
He eventually missed the cut in 1998, his only previous Open. During two brief stints on the PGA Tour, Gore has a best finish of 18th in the 2001 Las Vegas Classic.
 
But most of his success has been one level down. He has three career victories on the Nationwide Tour - none since the 2002 Boise Open - and wouldn't mind leaving that tour for good.
 
'It's a great place, and don't get me wrong, I don't want to be there next week, but really, your golf game does your talking,' he said. 'That's really all there is. I haven't played well enough to keep my card. I've become a stronger person for that, and maybe that's all just starting to pan out.'
 
He started his round Friday on the back with a birdie at No. 10, lost a stroke to par on the next hole, then got two birdies in a row. After turning in 34, he closed with a 33 on the front, highlighted by a 2 at the difficult par-3 sixth.
 
'You know, I'll watch TV tonight and I'll get beat up by the press, but I really have nothing to do,' Gore said. 'This is really just an opportunity for me to play well. I'm the underdog and it's going to be kind of fun.'
 
CAMPBELL'S BEST:
Michael Campbell's season started terribly in Europe. He got back on form in time for a trip to the U.S. Open.
 
The 36-year-old New Zealander put together a morning round of 1-under 69 in the second round to move to even par for the tournament, tied for sixth and just two strokes off the lead.
 
'I teed off at 7:30 in the morning and it was very benign conditions and not much wind around, and the greens were pretty receptive out there, so you could attack them a little bit more,' Campbell said. 'Two shots easier today, definitely.'
 
After missing the cut in his first five European Tour events, he has four top-15 finishes in his past seven, including a tie for third at the Johnnie Walker Classic. This is Campbell's best showing in the Open since 2000, when he tied for 12th at Pebble Beach.
 
Of course, that's the year Tiger Woods blitzed the field by 15 shots. Now Campbell is challenging for the lead of a major for the first time since 1995, when he was the third-round leader at the British Open.
 
'Seems like a century ago,' he said. 'I know what it takes to win a major championship. It's nice to be up there amongst the best in the world now.'
 
FORE!:
Nick Jones' first trip to the U.S. Open was sure to be memorable - even before he made a strange triple bogey at the 18th hole.
 
On his approach shot, he and caddie Andrew Pfannkuche miscalculated the yardage a bit - OK, a lot - and the ball flew well over the green, struck the grandstands and bounced onto the roof of the stately clubhouse.
 
'We had no idea the ball was going to fly like that,' Pfannkuche said.
 
Jones thought he might still be in decent shape, since players who wind up behind the green have a drop area near the cart path, with no penalty stroke. But because his ball caught the metal stands first, he was forced to play from the other side of the green in the heavy rough, with very little green to work with.
 
'I dropped it in a bad spot,' Jones said.
 
It only got worse. He hit a decent flop shot that just trickled past the pin and continued to roll until it found its way into one of the many collection areas surrounding the greens at No. 2. This time, he played a bump-and-run with a mid-iron that appeared to be perfect.
 
Only this shot again kept going, ending up on the other side of the green. Jones finally reached the putting surface and took two more strokes to find the hole, ending with a 7.
 
'It's just an unfortunate break,' he said.
 
Jones did manage to steady himself after the debacle at 18 and finished with an even-par 35 on his final nine holes, completing a 75.
 
GOVERNOR'S VISIT:
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley never had much luck driving a race car, and he wanted no part during a visit to Pinehurst on Friday.
 
During a celebration of motorsports earlier this year near the Capitol, he lost control of a race car and slid over a curb. He crashed at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2003 when driving one about 120 mph.
 
'I've only had one wreck, and that wasn't my fault,' Easley said. 'The car was loose and it spun out a little bit. But that driving is very similar to my golf driving. The best part of my game is hitting out of sand traps because I do it a lot.'
 
DIVOTS:
Jay Haas made quite an improvement in the second round, finishing with a 70 after an 82 on Thursday. He still missed the cut by four shots. ... Peter Jacobsen, like Haas another 50-something player, hung around for the weekend after rounds of 72-73. Playing in his first Open since 1996, he got in via his victory in the U.S. Senior Open last year. ... After winning The Memorial last week, Bart Bryant never got comfortable on the tricky greens at No. 2 and wound up with a 13-over total of 153.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

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    Day finishes strong, leads Aussie Open by one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 6:12 am

    Jason Day birdied three of his final five holes to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand in Sydney:

    Leaderboard: Day (-10), Lucas Herbert (-9), Jonas Blixt (-7), Matt Jones (-7), Cameron Smith (-6), Rhein Gibson (-5), Anthony Quayle (-5)

    What it means: Day has a great shot at his first victory – in his final start – in 2017. It’s been a frustrating campaign for Day, who has dropped to 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. A win this week, in his native Open, would be a huge boost as he embarks on the 2018 season.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Day’s 2-under 69 wasn’t the lowest of the day, but it was the most important. Day parred his first 13 holes before birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He bogeyed the 17th, but finished with a birdie at the par-5 18th for the outright lead.

    Best of the rest: Blixt’s 66 put him in position to win. Meanwhile, Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya shot the low round of the day, a 6-under 65, to reach 4 under for the tournament.

    Biggest disappointment: No one really blew it on Saturday, but Jordan Spieth was unable to make a move. His 1-under 70 has him eight shots off the lead. Herbert managed an even-par 71 but he had a two-stroke lead until an errant tee shot at the par-3 11th. Speaking of which …

    Shot of the day: Not every Shot of the Day is a great shot. Herbert made a long birdie putt on the eighth and was two clear of the field through 10 holes. But he hit his tee shot long at the 11th and was not able to find it. He had to re-tee, made double bogey and lost his advantage. He’s now chasing a major champion in the final round.

    Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 4:30 am

    Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.

    Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

    “I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.

    Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.

    “Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.

    Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.

    “Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”

    South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “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.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.