Rollins rolls by Villegas leads Buick - COPIED

By Associated PressFebruary 7, 2009, 5:00 pm
2006 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO ' John Rollins caught up to Camilo Villegas again, and this time kept right on going until he finished off a 2-under 70 that gave him a three-shot lead Saturday in the Buick Invitational.
 
Rollins, who lost a share of the lead with a bogey on the final hole of the second round, made up for that quickly with two birdies in the first four holes to take the lead, then surged farther ahead when the Colombian struggled from the sand and on the greens.
 
The margin could have been even wider if not for three three-putt bogeys by Rollins over the final seven holes, including the par-5 18th that raised hopes of Villegas and a few others who still need some help on Sunday.
 
Rollins was at 12-under 204, his first outright lead going into the last round in his nine years on the PGA Tour.
 
Villegas capped off an ugly front nine with a double bogey when his bunker shot sailed over the green, leaving him five shots behind. He steadied himself for a 2-over 74, at least leaving him in range.
 
Nick Watney had a 71 and was at 7-under 209, putting him in the final group.
 
Paul Goydos nearly holed out a wedge on the final hole and tapped in for birdie for a 72, putting him at 210 with Luke Donald (71).
 
The group another shot behind included Charley Hoffman, who grew up in San Diego and provided his hometown fans with the wrong kind of treat when they were able to watch him tee off twice on the opening hole.
 
Hoffmans first tee shot went into a pine tree and never came out. He spotted one ball with a pair of binoculars, tossed an umbrella to dislodge it from the tree, but it wasnt hit. After five minutes, he had to trudge back to the tee box and reload, opening with a triple bogey. He made up those shots five holes later, but ultimately settled for a 74.
 
The only disappointment for Rollins came from his three-putts, none stinging as much as the last one.
 
He only had a sand wedge for his third shot on the par-5 18th, but with the pin on the top ridge and a bunker behind the green, he left his shot on the bottom shelf, then rammed his first putt some 4 feet by the hole. The par putt dipped into the cup and spun back at him.
 
Rollins has won twice on tour, both times coming from behind on the last day. He has had a share of the 54-hole lead three times without winning, but it helps to have a three-shot margin.
 
Even so, Rollins knows how quickly that can disappear.
 
This course can grab you if you dont pay attention to what youre doing, he said.
 
He watched that happen to Villegas on the par-5 ninth, when he ran into trouble off the tee and was in the bunker after three shots. Villegas tried to get his bunker shot to the top shelf at the pin, switching from a 53-degree to a 58-degree sand wedge. But he was too aggressive, caught it think and watched it fly into the gallery, leaving him no hope of getting it close.
 
The 27-year-old Colombian kept from going south, however, with a 3-iron into 8 feet for a birdie on the par-3 11th, followed by a solid par on the 12th hole, where Rollins three-putted down the hill.
 
That stretch is among the toughest on the South Course, and it enabled Villegas to stay in the game.
 
Golf tournaments are four days, Villegas said.
 
Phil Mickelsons hopes ended on Saturday when he failed to get going and shot a 73, leaving him 11 shots behind.
 
Not what I was hoping for, Mickelson said. I thought a good round would get me back in it, and I didnt get off to the best start, but it was playing tough today, and I just didnt quite put it together.
 
British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington had another 74 and was at 3-over 219.
 
Charles Warren and Lucas Glover, teammates at Clemson were at 5-under 211, and only one of them expected to be in the hunt when the week began. Warren, who lost his full card last year, began his season on the easier North Course and opened with a 74.
 
But he stayed alive with a 69 on the South on Friday, then followed that with a 68.
 
If you play well, you can shoot a good score, Warren said.
 
Rollins didnt get much notice from a gallery torn between Hoffmans hometown fans and Villegas with his magazine-cover looks.
 
But they began paying attention when his 6-iron from a bunker stopped 10 feet away from a dangerous hole location on the fourth for a birdie that gave him the lead, and he never gave it back.
 
Divots: Jason Gore winced over most of his shots because of severe back pain that he first felt on the opening hole. Starting the round at 5 under, he wound up with an 80. Because 85 players made the cut, there was a 54-hole cut to low 70 and ties, eliminating 14 players Saturday. That group included Chris Stroud, who was tied for 12th until shooting an 82.
 
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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."