McIlroy grabs early Open lead with 66

By Will GrayJuly 17, 2014, 6:28 pm

Amid sunny skies and benign conditions, several of the game's best players went low Thursday at Royal Liverpool. None were better than Rory McIlroy, though, as the Ulsterman leads after the first round of the Open Championship for the second time in the last five years:

Leaderboard: Rory McIlroy (-6), Matteo Manassero (-5), Brooks Koepka (-4), Adam Scott (-4), Jim Furyk (-4), Sergio Garcia (-4), Francesco Molinari (-4), Edoardo Molinari (-4), Tiger Woods (-3)

What it means: Conditions were ideal for scoring in the opening round, as the main defenses at Hoylake - wind and rain - were nowhere to be found. McIlroy was out early and took the lead with a 66, as most of the low scores came from the early half of the tee times. One exception was world No. 1 Scott, who carded a 68 to remain in the hunt. This marks the second time McIlroy has held an early lead at the Open, following a first-round 63 at St. Andrews in 2010.

Round of the day: McIlroy got off to a quick start, with three birdies across his first six holes, and completed his opening round without dropping a shot. He birdied two of the three par-5s on the inward half, Nos. 10 and 16, and found 14 of 18 greens in regulation while averaging more than 340 yards off the tee. It's the second straight week that he has broken away from the pack on a links course, having shot an opening 63 last week at Royal Aberdeen.

Best of the rest: Manassero burst onto the scene with his win at the BMW PGA Championship last year, and the 21-year-old put his name on a major championship leaderboard after an opening 67 at Royal Liverpool. The Italian birdied two of his first three holes and then added five birdies on the back nine, more than enough to counter dropped shots at Nos. 9 and 12, while hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation.

Biggest disappointment: Ernie Els is just two years removed from lifting the claret jug, but the South African is destined for an early exit after an opening 79. Els was visibly shaken after hitting a fan with his opening tee shot and then had a nearly-inexplicable three-putt from inside 2 feet that led to a triple bogey on No. 1. He went on to play his first seven holes in 7 over and recorded his first - and only - birdie of the day at the par-5 16th to keep it out of the 80s.

Main storyline heading into Friday: McIlroy's second-round struggles have been well documented, so it remains to be seen if he can buck the recent trend and remain in front. No shortage of elite players are close behind, though, including Woods who shook off a pair of opening bogeys to card a 69. The weather forecast is a bit more pessimistic for the second round, so Mother Nature could make her influence known during parts of the day Friday.

Quote of the day: "I feel like I’m well-prepared this week for whatever the conditions. I’ve practiced in windy conditions the last few weeks. I’ve practiced the shots that I might need for a bad day like (Friday) might be." - McIlroy

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.