Fact Pack: Memorial Tournament

By Will GrayMay 29, 2012, 8:30 pm

This week Jack Nicklaus plays host to an elite field at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. Steve Stricker defends his title against Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald among others. The list of former champions at Muirfield Village is a storied one, and many of the world's best players look to add this championship to their credentials as the U.S. Open looms only two weeks away. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title(s) and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

After a mediocre finish at the BMW PGA Championship, Ben Curtis returns to the U.S. where he has been among the best players on Tour over the last 4-6 weeks. Curtis currently leads the Tour in strokes gained putting and ranks in the top 10 in both scoring average and greens in regulation percentage. The Columbus, OH native and Kent State alum will look for a home-field advantage this week at Muirfield Village.

• Long driver Dustin Johnson will be back in action for the first time in nearly three months. Johnson has not played since Doral, sidelined with a back injury that forced him to withdraw from the Masters before play began. He will look to build off of good memories from last year's Memorial, where he finished fourth.

• Outside of Tiger Woods, few can match the Memorial resume of Jim Furyk. The 2002 champion has six career top-10s in this event, and finished runner-up as recently as 2009. Furyk has been remarkably consistent this season, finishing T-26 or better in eight of 10 events this year, including the last seven in a row. 

• While longer hitters have often thrived in this event, the key to victory seems to be play on the greens. Seven of the last eight champions here have averaged 27.25 putts per round or fewer en route to victory, including defending champion Steve Stricker who averaged only 26.5 putter per round in 2011.

Carl Pettersson continues to have a strong 2012 season in relative anonymity. The Swede already has a win and a pair of runner-up finishes to his credit this year, and now returns to a venue where he won in 2006. Pettersson ranks in the top 20 on Tour this year in strokes gained putting, scoring average, par-4 performance and the all-around ranking.

Rickie Fowler will go for a fifth consecutive top-10 finish this week at Muirfield Village, where he finished runner-up in his 2010 debut. Two of the keys to his recent play has been the ability to reach the fairway off the tee and the green in regulation; he ranked 157th in driving accuracy and 120th in GIR percentage in 2011, but currently sits 31st on Tour in driving accuracy and 16th in GIR percentage for 2012.

Robert Garrigus is back after a week off, looking for his fourth top-15 finish in his last four starts dating back to Harbour Town. He boasts an impressive combination of statistics - Garrigus is currently second on Tour in driving distance and fifth in greens in regulation percentage. Should he improve on the greens, where he currently ranks 186th in total putting, he could contend this weekend.

**Don't forget to join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com** 


Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 3-6PM ET for live coverage of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

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: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: 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.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


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.