Bettencourt, Tomasulo share Valero lead

By Will GrayApril 4, 2013, 11:10 pm

Amid chilly conditions deep in the heart of Texas, two relatively unknown players were able to separate themselves from a field that largely struggled Thursday at TPC San Antonio. Here's the skinny heading into the second round of the Valero Texas Open, where Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo sit atop the leaderboard:

The leaderboard: Matt Bettencourt (-5), Peter Tomasulo (-5), Padraig Harrington (-4), Billy Horschel (-4), Bryce Molder (-4), Harris English (-4).

What it means: Many expected the AT&T Oaks Course to play more easily with an earlier date this year, but the first round still saw plenty of high scores Thursday. Harrington and Horschel set the pace among the morning wave, but they were eclipsed by late surges from Bettencourt and Tomasulo.

Round of the day: One of the last players to finish his round Thursday, Tomasulo birdied each of his final two holes to grab a share of the lead. Despite hitting only 13 of 18 greens in regulation, Tomasulo made it around TPC San Antonio without a single bogey, still in search of his first career top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.

Best of the rest: Beginning with birdies on three of his first five holes, Bettencourt got off to a hot start in the afternoon wave Thursday. He rose up the leaderboard with consecutive birdies on 12 and 13, then grabbed sole possession of the lead with a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 17. After a par on the home hole, Bettencourt completed the co-low round of the day that included just one bogey.

Biggest disappointment: Playing alongside Rory McIlroy (72) and Jordan Spieth (71), Matt Kuchar dealt with some unexpected struggles in the opening round. Mustering just one birdie, Kuchar stumbled to a 2-over 74 Thursday and will begin the second round seven shots off the pace, now in danger of missing the 36-hole cut.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Having been mired in obscurity on both the PGA and tours recently, can Bettencourt and Tomasulo build upon Thursday's momentum? The leaderboard remains crowded after one round, with high-caliber players like Jim Furyk and Ian Poulter looming just a couple strokes off the pace.

Shot of the day: Though he struggled the rest of his round, Shawn Stefani had quite the adventure at the par-5 18th. After driving in the fairway, he appeared to catch a terrible break when his second shot struck a sprinkler head in the middle of the fairway and catapaulted into an adjacent water hazard. The ball stayed up in the hazard, though, allowing Stefani to gouge it out from a muddy lie while standing on nearby rocks. The shot from just under 60 yards landed 10 feet from the hole, and Stefani went on to save par to close out an opening 78.

Quote of the day: 'It really didn't hit me that I was still good at this game until I absolutely just hit it like a 14 handicap.' – Gore, making just his second PGA Tour start of the year.

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 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 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.