Sabbatini and Uresti share lead at Turning Stone

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2010, 4:52 am

Turning Stone 2007 Logo

VERONA, N.Y. – Rory Sabbatini doesn’t have a problem reaching greens. He just has to get his putter working.

The 34-year-old South African hit all 18 greens in regulation for the second time in two months Thursday and shot a 7-under 65 that had him tied for the lead with Omar Uresti at the rain-delayed Turning Stone Resort Championship.

Sabbatini and Uresti both had seven birdies without a bogey and were one stroke in front of Brad Faxon, Brian Davis, Steve Elkington and Alex Cejka.

Despite shooting his best round since a 63 at the season-opening SBS Championship, Sabbatini needed 30 putts, five more than Uresti.

“It’s not often you can come off the golf course and jokingly say you should have birdied them all.” said Sabbatini, who was an alternate for last month’s British Open at St. Andrews but did not play. “But I did.”

John Mallinger, Chris Couch, Jonathan Byrd, Michael Bradley, Jason Dufner and Tim Wilkinson, who had to qualify on Monday, were tied at 67.

Because of a weather delay of nearly three hours, 24 players did not complete the first round. Among those who did not finish and were to complete the opening round on Friday morning were Chris Tidland, who was at 6 under with two holes to play, and Steve Wheatcroft, who was at 5 under after 16 holes.

Fifteen-year-old Gavin Hall, of Pittsford, N.Y., finished at 6-over 78 in his PGA Tour debut. Hall is bidding to become the second-youngest player in PGA Tour history to make the cut in a tournament.

The rain softened the 7,482-yard Atunyote Golf Club layout just enough to allow the players to aim at the pins on what turned into a sunny, humid day with a steady wind between 10 and 20 mph.

Sabbatini, who started on the back nine, birdied his first three holes before lightning and rain caused a 2-hour, 43-minute delay. He came back out and made birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 to make the turn at 31.

Although he made just one birdie on the four par-5s, Sabbatini birdied three of the four par-3s in a round he’ll likely replay in his mind a few times.

“I would say I played well,” he said. “I didn’t score anywhere near what my potential was out there. I had a really good ball-striking day, had a lot of short birdie putts that I missed, a lot of good opportunities that I squandered out there, but overall, you know, going out there I made it a pretty stress-free day.

“I like the layout, and they give us quite a bit of room out there to work with,” Sabbatini said. “Obviously, that little bit of rain we had early on this morning kind of softened the conditions up, so it made it pretty easy to be aggressive, especially to some of those pins.”

Uresti has missed the cut in four of his last five PGA starts, tied for 59th last month at the Reno-Tahoe Open, and had had only one round in the 60s since mid-June.

A new putter made all the difference Thursday.

“If you look at my rounds and my stats recently, I’ve been having 32 to 34, even 35 putts a round and only shooting a couple over,” Uresti said. “So to get it down to where I did today at 25, that’s 10 strokes off the score right there, or at least nine. That’s what’s been hurting me. Today it felt really good in my hands. I felt confident, and I was trying not to take so much time over it.”

Uresti made five birdies on the back side, his best coming at the par-4 13th. He hit a 3-iron into the wind to 44 feet and made the putt, which broke nearly 8 feet. Unfortunately, he had to ask his caddie what happened.

“It stopped on the front lip, and I put my head down and didn’t see it drop,” Uresti said with a smile. “It’s just a matter of getting it in the hole. It helps just to be able to throw up a number. It feels pretty good.”

Hall, who had a gallery of around 200 – by far the largest of the day – following him, was upbeat despite a round that included two bogeys, a double-bogey, and a triple-bogey.

“It was a good day, it was all right, just a struggle from the first hole,” said Hall, who made 11 pars and two birdies. “But that’s going to happen in golf. It was just unfortunate, one of my bad days of golf happened at a PGA Tour event.

“I still have a lot of confidence,” he said. “I’ve never had a big crowd like that around the ropes. It was just a different feeling, so I was out of rhythm most of the whole day. I definitely learned a lot, and if I can improve a little more here and there I think I’ll play well (Friday). I’ve already had a 62 this year, so I think there’s one out there.”

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: