Scott Leads Suspended St Jude Classic

By Associated PressJune 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
Stanford St. Jude ChampionshipMEMPHIS, Tenn. -- John Daly's messy personal life overshadowed golf once again Friday, this time when he accused his wife of waking him up by attacking him with a steak knife.
 
Daly was the talk at the TPC Southwind on a day when thunderstorms forced a three-hour delay, and Adam Scott's 4-under 66 gave him a one-stroke clubhouse lead when darkness suspended play Friday night.
 
A total of 26 players were unable to complete the round. They will return Saturday morning to finish play, with the third round expected to start by midday with players going off both the first and 10th tees.
 
Daly, playing on a sponsor's exemption, was 4 over after following his opening 70 with a 74. The projected cut Saturday morning was 4 or 5 over.
 
Scott topped the leaderboard at 7-under 133, a total he didn't think would stand up after a cold front stilled the gusty wind and softened the tricky greens on the 7,239-yard course.
 
Fellow Australian Andrew Buckle had a chance to pass Scott with what could be the best round here so far. He started the day at even and was 6 under with three holes left after seven birdies and a bogey.
 
Scott had a chance for his second straight 36-hole lead. The world's fourth-ranked player led by a stroke last week in the Memorial en route to a fifth-place tie.
 
'Nice to be leading now or at the end of the day or whenever this round finishes,' Scott said as he finished up with a par on No. 9, his 18th. 'Conditions are perfect. If it stays like this, birdies to be had out there.'
 
Brian Gay, who waited out the delay after putting his second shot on the green at No. 18, holed out from 45 feet for birdie and a 66 that left him a stroke back at 6 under. Fredrik Jacobson, who shared the first-round lead with Scott, was 3 under after a 70.
 
Two-time Memphis winner David Toms (68) was 2 under along with Duffy Waldorf (69), Brian Davis (68), Scott Verplank (69), Woody Austin (66). Jose Maria Olazabal and Brandt Snedeker also were 2 under. Olazabal had a hole to play, and Snedeker had two to finish.
 
Anyone hoping the wind that kept all but seven golfers at par or higher in the first round would die down on Friday were wrong early. Conditions remained just as windy Friday morning as on Thursday when only seven players broke par.
 
They adapted better with 13 of the 75 with morning tee times breaking par.
 
'It's been blowing pretty steady all day,' Gay said during the delay. 'It actually seemed to be blowing harder the last few holes.'
 
Then came the thunderstorms that stopped play just before noon locally. Golfers ran out of time to catch Scott before play was stopped at 9:13 p.m. EDT. Play was scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. EDT Saturday.
 
Gay wasn't that happy about having to wait to finish up.
 
'I don't have to hit balls again, just go out and putt on the last green, get some lunch and hang out and can't control what the weather does you know. Hopefully, it won't be too easy for them later,' he said.
 
Scott had two holes left to finish up a smooth round that featured two birdies on each side thanks to his putter. He holed out from nearly 14 feet on No. 13 and sunk a 40-footer on No. 7 to drop to 7 under with the weather moving in.
 
Not that he minded the delay.
 
'I was playing quite nicely at the time. It's never ideal, but it's something you have to get used to because we seem to do it a lot on tour. And you just have to learn to relax and take it for what it is and try to come out with a fresh mind,' Scott said.
 
Daly started grabbing attention as he prepared to start his round on the No. 1 tee before the delay, with both cheeks looking as if he'd been clawed. News of the fight between the couple, who each sued for divorce last October, surfaced during the delay.
 
He released a statement and accused his wife of attacking him as he woke up in his home near the course. Sheriff's deputies were called, and Daly said he had made a complaint with the sheriff's department and would have no further comment during an investigation by police.
 
No charges had been filed as of late Friday afternoon.
 
He had plenty of supporters through a round he started tied for eighth. He had two double bogeys, five bogeys and five birdies.
 
Daly splashed a flyer from the rough into the water left of the 18th green, tapped in a 4-footer for bogey and still had fans cheering him as he walked away from the scoring trailer with a pair of bodyguards who spent the day with him.
 
He walked off without talking, then rode a cart to the locker room to escape reporters.
 
DIVOTS
Jeff Maggert became the first defending champion to miss the cut since Jim Gallagher Jr. in 1996. Maggert was 12 over after rounds of 73 and 79. ... Brent Geiberger withdrew Friday morning. He had opened with a 76. Tom Johnson (82) and Tripp Isenhour (81) also withdrew before the second round. Mark Calcavecchia withdrew after playing the front nine with a back injury. He was 9 over at the time. Chris Couch, who had a 79 in the first round and had a 35 on the front nine, withdrew with a bad back after 17 holes.
 
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    Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

    By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

    The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

    "The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

    He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).


    Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


    Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

    “Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

    Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

    Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

    Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

    The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.