What we learned

By Mercer BaggsJune 25, 2012, 12:08 am

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week we learned about a 'hangover' myth, the state of American women's pro golf and the emotional strength of Melissa Reid.

I learned Melissa Reid has incredible strength. Her triumph on the Ladies European Tour, in her first start since the death of her mother in a car accident four weeks ago, deserves applause and a moment of reverence. Congratulations to Melissa, and a prayer that this helps her family heal. – Mercer Baggs

I learned that sometimes dreams can vanish into thin air – literally. Trailing by one on the final hole of the Travelers Championship, Roland Thatcher hit an approach shot into the par 4 that looked like it was going to catch the front portion of the green, only to catch a breath of hurting wind instead. The result: It landed on the lip of the greenside bunker, helplessly dropping into the hazard. Imagine that. All of the preparation, all of the balls struck on the range, all of the practice putts rapped, all of the previous 264 strokes taken during the week – and it all comes down to an untimely breeze, just a few miles per hour of wind blowing in an unfortunate direction. That’s not to single out Thatcher’s demise, of course. It happens to every player, every week. But it’s exacerbated on the 72nd hole with a chance to win the tournament. In this case, it left a player muttering, “That was the perfect club,” as he walked off the green. And it was – until Mother Nature decided otherwise. – Jason Sobel

I learned that there is no such thing as a major championship hangover. Webb Simpson had every reason to play poorly at the Travelers Championship but shot 66 in the opening round. Perhaps he ran out of gas a little over the weekend (tied for 29th) but that could happen any week. As the champion, Simpson clearly had more commitments than any other player after the last putt dropped last week at The Olympic Club. But players like Fredrik Jacobson and Padraig Harrington both were in contention late Sunday at the U.S. Open too and they finished tied for seventh and tied for 11th respectively in Hartford. Major championship hangover is a myth. You're either playing well or playing poorly. It's that simple. – Jay Coffin

I learned no lead is safe on the PGA Tour. Marc Leishman came back from six shots down to start Sunday to win the Travelers Championship and claim his first PGA Tour title. The 2009 Rookie of the Year was the fifth player to win on Tour this season when trailing by at least six shots entering the last round. With 28 events in the books already for 2012, about 18 percent of events this season have involved what would be termed a massive comeback. If 2011 was the Year of the Playoff with 18 tournaments going to overtime, this is the Year of the Rally. – Ryan Ballengee

I learned that the state of American women's golf may not be quite as dire as some fear. Yes, in terms of sheer numbers, foreigners, especially Asians, rule the LPGA. But U.S. flag wavers have reason to be encouraged about Brittany Lang's playoff win on Sunday. If she could interject herself into the discussion of top players along with Yani Tseng and Stacy Lewis, it would be a major boost to the red, white and blue. – Al Tays

I learned that Casey Wittenberg took a gamble and it paid off on the Nationwide Tour. Wittenberg tied for 10th at last week's U.S. Open and could have played this week's Travelers Championship but instead played the Wichita Open on the secondary circuit, which he won. With his second victory of 2012 he secured his place on the PGA Tour in 2012. Who needs Hartford? – Rex Hoggard

John Hancock Pivotal Moments

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.