Watson Slips Furyk Rises to the Top

By Mercer BaggsJune 13, 2003, 4:00 pm
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- A bit of magic evaporated into the Chicago gloaming Thursday. Just 13 hours after an enchanting opening round 65, Tom Watson returned to the Olympia Fields course Friday morning.
He said he didnt care if he shot 90. That Thursdays memories were enough to conquer any ill results thereafter. He didnt come close to that number, rather shooting 2-over 72.
The lead was lost, as were a bit of emotion and some momentum, but not his chance of winning 21 years after conquering Pebble Beach.
Yes, I can, Watson replied when asked if he could still win this event. A lot of things have to go my waybut I have a chance.
Watson now stands at 3-under par, four strokes behind current clubhouse leader Jim Furyk. Furyk shot 66 in round two, and had a couple of great opportunities to shave even more from that score.
As it is, he is three clear, at 7-under-par 133, of Swedens Fredrik Jacobson, who shot 67, 46-year-old Nick Price and 48-year-old Argentine Eduardo Romero. Fellow overnight co-leader Brett Quigley shot 74 and dipped to 1-under.
Like wine, more older, more better, said Romero, an eight-time winner on the European Tour.
El Gato ' The Cat, in Spanish; nicknamed by his grandmother who said he was always climbing in trees and on houses ' shot 66 Friday for his first sub-70 posting in 16 career Open rounds. Price shot 65, his lowest number in 57 career rounds in this event.
Price said he found a couple of flaws in his game on the back nine in round one, and was able to work them out with David Leadbetter. It showed in the form of five birdies and no bogeys in round two.
Youve got to do everything well to shoot 65 at the Open, and I did today, said Price, who hit 11 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and took 27 putts.
Sometimes it just takes a key to get everything going. And if he can keep it going, he can add this title to his Hall of Fame resume that includes two PGA Championship titles and one British Open crown.
Ive felt like this is my championship, that I could win, he said of the event.
Price has three top-10s in 16 prior starts, including a tie for eighth a year ago, despite being quite critical of the way the USGA set up a few of the holes on the Black Course at Bethpage.
If they had set Bethpage up like this, they probably would have had one of the best U.S. Opens of all time, he said.
Furyk missed the cut a year ago ' a bit of a surprise for a man who hits it fairly long, drives it unusually straight, and putts like he knows what he is doing.
But Bethpage proved a bit too much of a test for most. Olympia Fields is different. The soft conditions have led to lower numbers, and no one at the moment is lower than Furyk.
The course is pretty straight-forward, Furyk said. Your game tends to lend itself well to certain courses than others. This course probably tends to lend itself to me a little better than Bethpage did last year.
Like Price, Furyk toured Olympia Fields in a bogey-free manner Friday. And like Price, he also established a new career best in this championship. It could have been lower. He had a 15-footer for birdie at 17 that he missed, as well as one from seven feet at the last.
Im very happy with my position, obviously, he said. I just need to knock in a couple of more putts.
Though it wasnt the follow-up he would have scripted, Watson is also pleased with his standing. He had two birdies, two bogeys and a double in the sequel. The double bogey came at the par-4 12th, where he holed his approach shot for eagle a day ago.
Played it even par for two days, cant complain, he said of No. 12.
Much has been made of the 53-year-olds relationship with his caddie, Bruce Edwards, who is suffering from ALS. Friday wasnt as emotional as the day before; no tears were shed this go-around. But both couldnt help but appreciate the massive gallerys support.
We heard, Cmon, Bruce, Were pulling for you, Bruce, relayed Watson.
This may turn out to be the last time the 30-year partners team in an event ' let alone Watsons favorite. It may also turn out to be the eight-time major winners final burst of steam up to the mountain top.
Id like my last big run to be in the next 36 holes, he said. Then I might say, See ya, boys and girls.
Related Links:
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

    2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

    Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

    Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

    Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

    Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

    Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

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    Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

    Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

    Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

    Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

    Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

    Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

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    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.