Sean OHair leads Bay Hill Tiger Woods five back

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Bay Hill was so penal Friday that most players figured it would be difficult for anyone to shoot a low number and separate themselves from the pack. Sean OHair apparently didnt get the memo.
 
OHair opened with three straight birdies and didnt drop a shot until his final hole, which gave him a 5-under 65 for a three-shot lead over Jason Gore heading into the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reacts after chipping in for birdie on Friday. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods remained in the mix for a sixth title at Bay Hill, courtesy of a short game that turned a mediocre round into a 69.
 
Woods chipped in for birdie on his opening hole for the second straight day, holed another birdie chip on No. 8, and kept his round together with two head-turning chips to save par. He was in fifth place, five shots behind.
 
You can make bogeys in a heartbeat out there today because the greens are not accepting shots very well, Woods said.
 
OHair was at 8-under 132 and will be in the final group Saturday with Gore, who had four birdies and four bogeys for a 70.
 
Robert Allenby had a bogey-free round of 65 and was at 4-under 136, along with Ryuji Imada, who had a 66.
 
OHairs round was set up by his tee shots, and he figured if he was driving it well, he probably would swing the irons the same way. His first three birdies were all within 8 feet, and he had a putt at birdie on all but three holes.
 
It all sounded simple enough.
 
The rough is very penal, but if youre in the fairway all day, you dont have to worry about it, OHair said. The greens are absolutely perfect. You just give yourself some nice opportunities, and all of a sudden youre 8- or 9-under par.
 
Even so, OHair could relate with the grind that it became for Woods, and at times for double major winner Padraig Harrington, who shot a 68 and was at 2-under 138. And he could appreciate what happened to Davis Love III, who had a 74 and missed the cut, seriously damaging his bid to get to the Masters.
 
It doesnt take much to get going the wrong direction.
 
You dont really even need to hit it sideways, OHair said. Just a little bit off here and there, and youre giving yourself some pretty tough par opportunities.
 
Consider his final hole, the par-5 ninth. He hit what appeared to be a good drive, just a little to the left, and found a lie so deep that he felt his best option was to hack out short of the green. It went according to plan until he hit his wedge a little heavy and missed a 10-foot par putt to come one shot back to the field.
 
Those are the kind of shots that spared Woods.
 
He opened with two birdies in three holes to get his name on the leaderboard, then went 13 holes without another. He was in trouble on the par-5 sixth, with a plugged lie in the bunker that forced him to play sideways for his third shot, but he recovered with a skip-and-stop pitch to 4 feet for a par.
 
On the next hole, Woods was on the matted grass of the walkway, facing a 30-foot shot to a green running away from him. He hit a full flop that landed on the fringe and stopped 4 feet away for another par that was easier than expected.
 
After getting fooled by the wind on the next hole, Woods chipped in for birdie.
 
Today was just kind of a grind-it-out day, he said. The golf course is getting fast. The greens are really getting fast.
 
Vaughn Taylor was in the group at 138 thanks to a remarkable three-hole stretch. He hit 6-iron for an ace on the seventh hole, then followed that with consecutive birdies to reach 4 under. Taylor wound up with a 68.
 
Bogeys are there to be made, Gore said. The golf course is playing tough.
 
That much was evident not by the 21 players who remained under par, but the 13-shot differential between OHair at 132 and those who made the cut on the number at 5-over 145.
 
A week ago at Innisbrook, the differential was only seven shots.
 
Love could face an uphill road to Augusta National. He is No. 47 in the world ranking ' the top 50 after this week are invited ' and missing the cut will cause him to fall. Four of the next seven players behind him made the cut, including Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.
 
Oosthuizen had a triple bogey and double bogey in a four-hole stretch Thursday and rallied with three birdies. On Friday, he fell to the cut line by trying to play a shot out of the water on No. 11 and leaving it in the hazard.
 
I learned Im not a fish, Oosthuizen said, although he had his rain suit, meaning he didnt have to pull a Henrik Stenson and strip down to his underwear.
 
He rallied with three more birdies and could be well on his way to Magnolia Lane.
 
OHair is more interested in Victory Lane at Bay Hill, which comes with a firm handshake from the tournament host, a silver sword and a blazer. But there is much work left, and plenty of players lurking ' including Woods, the defending champion.
 
DIVOTS: Webb Simpson made a hole-in-one on the 17th hole. Ryo Ishikawa, the 17-year-old from Japan, had a 71 but still missed the cut by two shots. The Japanese sensation has missed two cuts in his three PGA Tour events this year. Brad Faxon shot a 72 and was at 2-over 142. It was the first time this year he has made the cut.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • Full Coverage - Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    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.