Walker leads WGC; McIlroy, Spieth, Day lurking

By Doug FergusonAugust 4, 2017, 11:35 pm

AKRON, Ohio - The sun finally came out, and Jimmy Walker saw a glimpse of what he hopes are brighter days ahead.

In a year marked by coping with Lyme disease and bouts of fatigue, Walker endured rain delays of nearly five hours Friday and posted a 5-under 65 for a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.

The timing couldn't be better for Walker, who goes to Quail Hollow next week to defend his title in the PGA Championship.

''It hadn't been a lot of fun this year,'' Walker said. ''But it's nice to see some putts go in and make some solid swings and keep rounds going, make par putts, just the stuff I haven't been doing.''

He was at 7-under 133, two shots ahead of Thomas Pieters of Belgium, who had a 70.

Walker didn't have a lot going last year until he finished well in the Canadian Open, and then went wire to wire at Baltusrol the next week to win the PGA Championship. So maybe there's another spark he can find at Firestone Country Club.

''There's still a lot of golf on a hard course, but I know it's there,'' he said.

He also has a slew of players not far behind him in this World Golf Championship. Rory McIlroy put together a steady round of 69 and was three shots back, along with Zach Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, who each shot 67.

The large group at 3-under 137 included Jordan Spieth, going after his third straight victory. Spieth missed a short par putt on the 15th and was slipping behind when he faced an awkward lie from the edge of a bunker . Stumbling out of the sand backward, he nearly holed the shot and made birdie, and then he stuffed his approach to 3 feet for birdie on the 18th hole to salvage a 70.


WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Jason Day, winless in nearly 15 months, also got back into the picture despite some mild back pain. He opened with three straight birdies and shot 30 on the front nine to get back near the leaders, though two bogeys on the back nine slowed him and he shot 66. He was in the group at 137.

''The front side definitely felt like 2015, 2016,'' Day said, alluding to his best stretch of golf when he rose to No. 1 in the world. ''I was just pouring in everything. I know that it's still in there. I've just got to keep practicing hard. I know it will eventually happen.''

Day felt he was slowed by the last - and longest - of the rain delays. He returned to three-putt the 10th for a bogey and never got back any momentum.

It was like that for everyone who slogged through a 10-hour day.

The second round was delayed 45 minutes at the start, and then another 45 minutes when a small band of storms rolled through. A delay of some 3 1/2 hours followed, making it feel like two separate rounds and one long day.

Walker still isn't out of the woods just yet. He first thought he had mononucleosis around the Masters, and it eventually was diagnosed as Lyme disease. He has tried to muddle through the year when his energy allowed, though there hasn't been a lot of practice.

And even a 65, which matched his low score of the year, wasn't smooth sailing.

''It's day to day,'' he said. ''I felt pretty good all week physically, and I wake up this morning and I've just got this overall flu feeling in my body. So I take some Advil, it goes away. And then during the last break, it came back, so I took some more. Now it's gone. You just never know when it's going to spike up.''

But he felt good enough to make birdie on both par 3s on the back nine, and drop only one shot on the round.

The scoring has been good with the rain and softer greens, and a South course that was in pristine condition to start the tournament. A strong wind arrived after the storm cleared, which kept everyone's attention.

Only two dozen players from the 76-man field remained under par.

Among those who fell back was Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1 player still trying to find his form from a back injury that knocked him out of the Masters. He hit only one green in regulation on the front nine - 60 feet from the hole - and shot 40. Johnson didn't make a single birdie in his round of 75 that knocked him 10 shots out of the lead heading into the final major of the year.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm