Open Championship tracker: Day 5 at St. Andrews

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2015, 8:49 am

The 144th Open Championship takes place this week at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. is tracking the men's third major of the season through on-site reporting and social media. For additional Open coverage, click here for full-field scores and click here for our Tiger Tracker. If you want to view the action we tracked from the first three days, you can find Thursday's action here, Friday's action here, Saturday content here and Sunday here. All-times for the Open Championship tracker are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

3:00PM: Two-time major champion Zach Johnson at a loss for words and crying: "I'm grateful, humbled. i'm thankful. i'm honored. this is the birthplace of the game."

2:57PM: Touches the lip of the cup but doesn't fall. Ladies and gentleman, your Champion Golfer of the Year is Zach Johnson.

2:56PM: Slides by right. Now Louis with the putt to send it in to sudden death.

2:52PM: And he responds. ZJ now putting for the win.

2:49PM: Pressure's on Louis on 18. Again.

2:42PM: Leishman essentially done after three-putting for bogey. Louis misses par putt from even closer. Johnson saves his bogey. Huge missed opportunity there for Oosthuizen. Here's where we stand going into 18:

2:35PM: ZJ flies it over the green. Still faces a tough up and down, but now for bogey.

2:32PM: Louis (-1) and Leishman (+1) reach the very front of the green. Will have very long putts for birdie. Johnson (-2) looking at a very tough up and down from in front of the greenside bunker.

2:25PM: Par. Par ... Birdie. Zach Johnson takes the lead. On to the Road Hole.

2:25PM: Par. Par ... Birdie. Zach Johnson takes the lead. On to the Road Hole.

2:20PM: All three on the green with their approaches.

2:10PM: Oosthuizen with the hot hand, drains a long birdie putt on No. 1. ZJ, who hit the best approach of the group, follows with one of his own. Leishman misses short par putt and starts with bogey.

2:05PM: A clearly disappointed Jordan Spieth talking after his round, "We gave it a good run."

2:00PM: After being re-introduced on the first tee, all three find the fairway on hole No. 1, because you know ... they're still playing the Old Course.

1:56PM: And ... 72 holes over five days was not enough. We're headed to a three-man playoff between Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen and Zach Johnson.

1:50PM: He made it! This is what it sounds like at the Old Course right now.

1:47PM: Louis! Throws a dart on his approach to a few feet. Birdie putt to get in the playoff coming up.

1:43PM: Day's putt to tie the lead comes up short. Pressure's on Louis as he tees off on 18.

1:41PM: And that will do it. Spieth nearly holes putt from off the green but it was not meant to be.

1:36PM: Spieth gets interrupted during his backswing by fan, steps off, regroups, hits his approach on the green but spins back off the front. Day on the green, but long putt to tie the lead.

1:32PM: Spieth and Day both walk off their approach distances to the green. Well ... we're waiting.

1:27PM: Spieth misses. Day makes. Both one off lead. Bummer.

1:23PM: Spieth facing a 7-footer for par after a nice wedge shot. Day putts one from 30 feet off the green to about five feet.

1:18PM: Spieth now facing a tough up and down on 17. Louis saves par on 16 to stay one back. Leishman makes par at the last and is also in the clubhouse at 15 under. Tied with ZJ.

1:05PM: Was there any doubt? Spieth drains his birdie on 16. Heads to the Road Hole tied for the lead.

1:07PM: Leishman nearly makes a long birdie putt on 17, settles for par.

1:04PM: Louis comes an inch from rolling in his birdie putt on 15. Still one back.

12:57PM: Think Leishman is feeling the nerves?

12:54PM: Spieth and Day make their pars on 15 to stay one back. Oosthuizen on 15 down one shot as well.

12:48PM: Leishman with the one-handed follow through after approach shot on 16. Finds the greenside bunker. Misses 4-footer for par. Just like that he's tied with ZJ with two holes to play.

12:37PM: Huge birdie on 18 for Zach Johnson. His caddie celebrates with a dance on the green. In the clubhouse with a 66 at 15 under. Only Leishman ahead of him.

12:33PM: Live look at the leaderboard, which will probably be irrelevant in a few minutes.

12:23PM: Spieth alert! Jordan's chip clangs off the flagstick on 13. Somehow doesn't drop for birdie. Settles for par.

12:23PM: Spieth alert! Jordan's chip clangs off the flagstick on 13. Somehow doesn't drop for birdie. Settles for par.

12:18PM: And ... Louis birdies to get back to within one of Leishman.

12:15PM: Zach Johnson (-15) slips on approach shot on 17. Should be noted that he is wearing soft spikes, in the rain, at St. Andrews, on Sunday of the Open.

12:07PM: Adam Scott also doing his best Sergio Garcia impression with back-to-back bogeys. All the cool kids are doing it.

12:05PM: Meanwhile ... Sergio Garcia doing his best Sergio Garcia impression.

12:00PM: As this day of craziness rolls past noon on the East Coast, Marc Leishman is your outright leader.

11:57AM: Say what you will about Steve Williams, but he certainly makes Adam Scott a better player on the biggest stages.

11:55AM: We'll get this out of the way now, but probably remind you later. In the event of a tie at the end of regulation, the Open moves to a four-hole aggregate playoff on Nos. 1, 2, 17 and 18.

11:51AM: Just as soon as you got excited about Sergio, he found a fairway bunker at 12 and made bogey. Two back.

11:47AM: Maybe we motivated Louis Oosthuizen? Just after we said he wasn't making a move, he birdied No. 9, and now he's driven the ball in front of the par-4 10th green, eyeing a birdie that could tie him for the lead.

11:45AM: Jordan Spieth needed two holes to erase his double bogey. Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 9 and 10 return him to 14 under. That's the good news. Here's the bad news - had he just two-putted at No. 8, he'd be leading by himself right now.

11:35AM: The final group is hanging around but doing little to move forward. Dunne back to even par today after his disastrous start. Louis at minus-1 and 13 under after a bogey at eight.

11:32AM: That's a bounce-back birdie at No. 9 for Spieth, who has a habit of doing that. That's a 2-under 34 on the front. He's two back of the lead held by ZJ, Scott and Marc Leishman. Double bogey hasn't left him out of it, but he can ill-afford any more dropped shots.

11:30AM: Still got it:

11:28AM: If anyone's wondering what happened to Dustin Johnson:

11:26AM: If we want to get technical, his second putt was actually from off the green, so it wasn't really a four-putt. But yeah ... yeah:

11:24AM: It's official. We're all going to do this again. Sergio Garcia is one shot off the lead on the back nine in the final round of the British Open.

11:21AM: Spieth's bid for the Slam just took a big hit. That's a double bogey at the par-3 eighth after he hit his first putt off the green and needed three more shots. Spieth now three back. Can he win on a day like this with a double?

11:18AM: Zach Johnson's first bogey of the day comes at 13 and drops him back to 15 under. That's only his second bogey in his last 34 holes.

11:13AM: Update:

11:12AM: Regarding Jordan Spieth's putting prowess:

11:08AM: Don't want to jinx anybody, but Zach Johnson (now leading at -16) is 7 under through 12. Adam Scott is 6 under through 11. In fairness, this isn't Oakmont, nor is it 1973.

11:05AM: Nice summation of just what we're dealing with here.

11:01AM: Adam Scott has joined Zach Johnson at 15 under, but ZJ just flagged one at No. 12.

10:52AM: Meanwhile, that Jordan Spieth guy, maybe you've heard of him, has moved to 14 under and just one back. Spieth is 3 under through six holes and coming off back-to-back birdies.

10:51AM: He's not Dunne yet! (Sorry.) Paul Dunne gets it back to even par today with a birdie at No. 5.

10:47AM: Sergio Garcia is 4 under through seven holes and two shots back:

10:45AM: And Zach Johnson has no interest in sharing. Pushes the lead to 15 under with a birdie on No. 10. He's 6 under today through 10 holes.

10:42AM: Come on, Aussies, 2.0? Adam Scott, like Zach Johnson, gets to 14 under thanks a front-nine 31.

10:36AM: Paul Azinger, as fans look for Padraig Harrington's ball in the bushes on No. 6: "You could draw blood in there."

10:30AM: An eagle try for Spieth at No. 5 comes up short but the short birdie putt drops. Spieth one back of the lead, but only one up in this unusual race:

10:30AM: And forget that altogether now that Zach Johnson leads by himself (for the next 45 seconds, at this rate) at 14 under par thanks to a front-nine 31.

10:27AM: Add Marc Leishman and Padraig Harrington to the now-five-way tie at 13 under.

10:21AM: This is going to be a bit of a busy afternoon. Adam Scott joins the tie for the lead with Oosthuizen and Johnson at 13 under. Then there's this crowded list at minus-12: Anthony Wall, Sergio Garcia, Marc Leishman, Padraig Harrington, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day.

10:17AM: After some - a lot? - of nerves on his first two holes, Dunne rights the ship with a birdie at No. 3. Gets it back to 11 under, sitting two shots off the lead.

10:14AM: Zach Johnson now tied for the lead with Oosthuizen at 13 under thanks to a birdie at No. 6. ZJ off to a red-hot start, with four birdies in his first six holes. (Maybe more guys should play the John Deere?) Johnson has two previous top-10 finishes in an Open, a T-9 in 2012 and T-6 in 2013.

10:09AM: A look at Paul Dunne on No. 2 tee:

10:05AM: After playing what could have been his fifth shot off the tee, Paul Dunne ends up making only bogey at No. 2. A bogey-bogey start for the amateur and overnight leader. Louis taps in for par and keeps his lead at 13 under.

9:55AM: Dunne's first tee shot at No. 2 is on a practice chipping green. He will be able to play it after a drop.

9:50AM: More problems for Dunne. He blasts his tee shot at No. 2 way right. Has to hit provisional. Hits that shot right and hits a second provisional.

9:45AM: Dunne, meanwhile, bogeys the first. After chunking his approach shot short of the Swilcan Burn, he can't get up and down for par.

9:44AM: We've got a solo leader! Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion at St. Andrews, birdies the first to become the first player to reach 13 under.

9:41AM: Sergio Garcia is in the group at 11 under. As is Hideki Matsuyama.

9:38AM: Nerves for amateur Dunne?

9:36AM: Make it five tied at the top. Padraig Harrington rolls in a birdie at No. 2 to reach 12 under.

9:34AM: Jordan Spieth birdies the first. He's tied for the lead at 12 under.

9:31AM: Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Dunne are announced off No. 1. That's the end of the Open career for legendary first-tee announcer Ivor Robson.

9:29AM: Fast and furious scoring..

9:26AM: Paul Dunne may be co-leading the Open at the moment. But he still might not finish low amateur. Ashley Chesters is on a birdie bonanza today. He's 5 under through 10 to reach 11 under.

9:22AM: Jordan Spieth and Jason Day have started their final rounds.

9:16AM: Padraig Harrington birdies the first. He's at 11 under, along with Spieth and Anthony Wall. Wall is 4 under through seven today.

9:16AM: And in case you were wondering ...

9:14AM: Ten players are currently tied at 10 under, to go along with Spieth at 11 under and the trio of leaders at 12 under. That's not to mention the 13 players at 9 under.

9:08AM: Speaking of Scott, he makes an early birdie to get within two at 10 under.

9:06AM: A note regarding Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson and Adam Scott.

9:01AM: Schniederjans birdies the last to shoot 67 and finish at 9 under. Currently at T-12, it's unlikely he'll finish among the top 10.

8:54AM: Like Mickelson before him, Ollie Schniederjans butchers the 17th. A terrible smother-hook off the tee eventually leads to double bogey. He drops from T-5 to T-29, with one hole to play. That likely costs him a chance to automatically qualify for next year's Open, with the top 10 in '15 getting an exemption into '16.

8:48AM: Mickelson pars the last for a 69 and a 7-under 281.

8:40AM: How far is too far back? The players at 9 under, three back to start the day, are now teeing off.

8:32AM: That's a triple bogey for Phil Mickelson on the 17th. He drops from 10 under to 7 under, from T-5 to T-32 in one hole.

8:24AM: Oh, dear. Phil Mickelson just hit his tee shot on the 17th hole onto a balcony at the Old Course Hotel.

8:20AM: Remember Dustin Johnson? Going back to Sunday, he's bogeyed six of his last seven holes. The one-time co-leader is now seven off the pace.

8:16AM: Luke Donald joins the mix at 10 under with three consecutive birdies to begin his back nine. A third-round, 1-over 73 set him back.

8:13AM: This from Ryan Lavner:

8:06AM: Phil Mickelson makes another birdie. That's six birdies in 15 holes. He's at 10 under, two back.

8:02AM: Branden Grace is the current cluhouse leader at 7 under. Probably not going to hold up.

7:55AM: A historical nugget to chew on. Padraig Harrington trails by two entering the final round.

7:45AM: Know thy selfie. Also, know thy Top Photos of the Week by clicking on the link below:

7:42AM: Scores on the road hole so far today:

7:39AM: Dustin Johnson's final round is underway. He opens with birdie. Where was that yesterday?

7:29AM: For those of you wondering at home what happens to the first-place prize money if an amateur wins:

7:21AM: For more on the amateur who might win the 144th Open (no, not Paul Dunne), check out Ryan Lavner's piece from earlier this year on Ollie Schniederjans:

7:15AM: Phil Mickelson wants to get in on the fun.

7:13AM: It's raining! Amateurs playing well, that is. Not actual precipitation.

7:06AM: Another amateur in the field this week who's already on the course for his final round is Oliver Schiederjans. He's 4 under through eight holes and is currently tied for sixth.

7:00AM: 'Am' you trying to tell us something, Brandel?

6:55AM: Low round of the day so far belongs to Scott Arnold - a 6-under 66.

6:52AM: Leaders are off in a little more than 2 1/2 hours. Here are the pins they'll be facing in the final round of the 144th Open Championship:

6:49AM: Soooo ... we should have seen this coming?

6:42AM: Everyone's an Adam Scott fan!

6:37AM: By the Grace of ... Branden. We have someone making a big move early on Monday.

6:27AM: I'm not a numbers person ... so I'll take your word for it.

6:24AM: The leaders tee off at 9:30 a.m. Meanwhile, Bernhard Langer finished up his final-round 72 just moments ago.

6:12AM: David Duval getting in some prep before his final round. The 2001 champ is 5 under through 54 holes and tees off at 6:45 a.m. Is he onto something?

6:08AM: Donaldson dropped a shot at the 12th and is now only (yes, only!) 5 under through 12.

6:05AM: If someone's going to stop the Spieth Slam, who do you think it will be? Our writers weighed in with their thoughts:

5:52AM: Guys going the lowest early on the day are: Francesco Molinari (7 under through 14), Scott Arnold (6 under through 15), Branden Grace (6 under through 12) and Jamie Donaldson (6 under through 11).

5:43AM: And those mundane weather conditions mean low numbers are possible. Branden Grace is already 6 under through 10 holes on Monday.

5:40AM: Pretty mundane weather conditions in St. Andrews today. Temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50s, winds averaging 7 mph and a few showers.

5:34AM: Just as a reminder, if you're still in St. Andrews today, you can view the final round of the Open Championship for just £10.

5:28AM: The hardest holes at St. Andrews this week? We're glad you asked...

5:15AM: Jordan Spieth is chasing history today at St. Andrews. Here's a look at some of the stats and facts:

5:05AM: Here's a look at the leaderboard at the conclusion of 54 holes:

5:00AM: Happy Monday! Round 4 (yes, you read that correctly) of the 144th Open Championship is underway from St. Andrews.

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DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

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Hot Seat: Rory jumps into the fire early

By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 2:11 pm

The world’s top tours head to desert regions this week, perfect locales for The Hot Seat, the gauge upon which we measure the level of heat the game’s top personalities are facing ...

Sahara sizzle: Rory McIlroy

McIlroy won’t have to look far to see how his form measures up to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

McIlroy will make his 2018 debut with Johnson in his face, literally.

McIlroy will be grouped with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in the first two rounds.

Players like to downplay pairings early in a tournament, but it’s hard to believe McIlroy and Johnson won’t be trying to send each other messages in this European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. That’s the alpha-dog nature of world-class players looking to protect their turf, or in the case of McIlroy, take back his turf.

“When you are at the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Trevor Immelman said about pairings during Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge last month.

And that was an offseason event.

“They want to show this guy, ‘This is what I got,’” Immelman said.

As early season matchups go, Abu Dhabi is a heavyweight pairing that ought to be fun.

So there will be no easing into the new year for McIlroy after taking off the last three months to regroup from the stubborn rib injury that plagued him last season. He is coming off a winless year, and he will be doing so alongside a guy who just won the first PGA Tour event of 2018 in an eight-shot rout. Johnson’s victory in Hawaii two weeks ago was his fifth since McIlroy last won.

“Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place, and that was because of where I was physically,” McIlroy said of 2017. “I feel prepared now. I feel ready, and I feel ready to challenge. I feel really good about where I’m at with my health. I’ve put all that behind me, which has been great.”

Sonoran Smolder: Phil Mickelson

Mickelson will turn 48 this summer.

His world ranking is sliding, down to No. 43 now, which is the lowest he has ranked in 24 years.

It’s been more than four years since he last won, making him 0 for his last 92 starts.

There’s motivation in all of that for Mickelson. He makes his 2018 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge in the Palm Springs area this week talking like a man on a renewed mission.

There’s a Ryder Cup team to make this season, which would be his 12th straight, and there’s a career Grand Slam to claim, with the U.S. Open returning to Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson finished second in ’04.

While Mickelson may not feel old, there are so many young stars standing in his way that it’s hard not to be constantly reminded that time isn’t on his side in these events anymore.

There has only been one player in the history of the game to win a major championship who was older than Mickelson is right now. Julius Boros won the PGA Championship when he was 48 back in 1968.

Campaign fever: Jordan Spieth

Spieth’s respect in the game’s ranks extends outside the ropes.

He was just selected to run for the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council’s chairman position. He is facing Billy Hurley III in an election to see who will succeed Davis Love III on the Tour’s Policy Board next year.

Spieth, just 24, has already made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” He made that back in 2016, with the magazine writing that “he exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.” Sounds like a campaign slogan.

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CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Phil Mickelson

* This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

* For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

* He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

* This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.

Jon Rahm

* Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

* In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

* Last year he finished T-34 in this event.

Adam Hadwin

* Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

* In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Brian Harman

* Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

* Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

* Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Brandt Snedeker

* Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

* This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

* Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.

Patrick Reed

* Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

* This is his first start of 2018.

* Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)