Relaxed Taylor Leads Heritage

By Associated PressApril 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Feeling less pressure the week after The Masters, Vaughn Taylor fired an 8-under-par 63 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead at the Verizon Heritage.
 
Playing in front of a home crowd, Taylor missed the cut by one shot at Augusta last week. On Thursday, he peppered the Harbor Town Golf Links with nine birdies during a 13-hole stretch on the way to the third first-round lead of his career.
 
Ernie Els
Ernie Els is eight back after an even-par 71 in the first round.
'Last week was very nerve wracking...playing in front of the home crowd,' said Taylor, who moved to Augusta as an infant and still lives there. 'I came in this week and it just feels easy. I was really looking forward to The Masters, but I'm glad it's finally over. This week I feel very relaxed.'
 
Taylor is one shot ahead of Jim Furyk, who opened with a 7-under 64.
 
Duffy Waldorf, Billy Mayfair and Tom Pernice, Jr. share third place at minus-6. Chris Riley, Brian Gay, Geoff Ogilvy and Aaron Baddeley are all one shot further back in a tie for sixth.
 
There are 79 players even-par or better after the first round, and 22 are within five shots of the lead.
 
They are all looking up at Taylor, who began his round on the back nine with five straight pars before collecting four consecutive birdies to make the turn at 4 under.
 
His first birdie came on a 3-foot putt at the par-5 15th. The next three were all from distances of 15 feet or more, including a 20-footer at the par-4 18th.
 
Taylor ranked first in putts Thursday, needing only 21 to finish his round.
 
'It was good to get on a birdie train for a while,' said Taylor, who carded rounds of 75 and 74 at The Masters. 'It was a lot of fun.'
 
After an errant drive led to a bogey at the par-4 first, Taylor moved back to minus-4 when he made birdie from a bunker at the par-5 second.
 
It was all pars and birdies for the 30 year old after that, with two of his last four birdies coming on 15-foot putts.
 
The last time Taylor held a first-round lead he parlayed it into a second straight victory at the Reno-Taho Open. Those two wins stand as his only on the PGA TOUR. He knows he will have to continue shooting low to win here.
 
'The greens are pretty soft. With no wind, if you're hitting it straight you have a lot of short irons and wedges,' Taylor said. 'You can definitely score if you're hitting the ball well.'
 
Furyk, after polishing off a bogey-free round, agreed.
 
'Conditions were good for scoring,' he said.
 
Two more players who scored well: 50-year-old Loren Roberts, a three-time winner on the Champions Tour this season, fired a 3-under 68; and five-time Heritage winner David Love III, who opened with a 2-under 69.
 
Defending champion Peter Lonard stumbled to a pair of bogeys on his second nine and ended at even-par 71.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Verizon Heritage
  • Full Coverage - Verizon Heritage
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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

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    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

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    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
    Getty Images

    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.