Woods Fires 61 at Firestone

By Mercer BaggsAugust 25, 2000, 4:00 pm
At least there's something Tiger Woods has yet to accomplish on the PGA TOUR. For the second straight day, Woods made a run at 59. And for the second straight day he came up short.
 

 
But he's getting closer.
 

 
Woods fired a 9-under-par 61 to take a seven-shot lead over Phil Mickelson into the third round of the WGC - NEC Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
 

 
At 15-under, Woods is eight shots clear of Justin Leonard, nine shots better than Jim Furyk, and ten strokes lower than Phillip Price and Lee Westwood. The aforementioned are the only players in the 37-man field within ten shots of Woods through 36 holes.
 

 
Thursday, Tiger was 7-under through 12 holes. Friday, he was one better. Eight-under-par through 12, Woods needed just three more strokes to par over his final six holes around the par-70 Firestone course to better 60.
 

 
After eagling the par-5 2nd and birdying holes 4-6, Woods made the turn in 5-under 30. He then added three more birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th.
 

 
'To be honest, I had no clue how many under par I was,' Woods later said. 'I just tried to increase my lead.'
 

 
His run of three straight birdies ended when he left a 16-footer short at the 13th. Still, Woods needed only to play the final five holes - which included a par-5 - in three under for the fourth ever 59 on the PGA TOUR.
 

 
Al Geiberger was the first man to break 60 in TOUR competition. He did so in the second round of the 1977 Memphis Classic. Chip Beck became the sophomore member of the prestigious fraternity by matching Geiberger's 13-under-par performance in the third round of the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational. Eight years later, David Duval won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic by firing that magical score in the fifth, and final round.
 

 
The par-4 14th looked promising for Tiger. His tee shot found the center of the fairway. However, his 8-iron approach shot flew the flag and finished in the back fringe. From there, he chipped to four feet - where he pushed his par save.
 

 
Woods dropped to 13-under for the tournament. He still led Mickelson by five, but his run for 59 had just hit a wall. A par at the 15th meant Tiger had to play the final three holes in 4-under-par.
 

 
Playing the 625-yard par-5 16th, Tiger knew he needed eagle. Two-hundred-and-seventy yards from the flag, Woods hit a 2-iron (that's right, a 2-iron) about as hard as humanly possible.
 

 
'I hit it flush,' said Woods.
 

 
That's an understatement. He nearly flew the green.
 

 
Over the green in two, Woods showed his all-around game by nearly holing a delicate pitch shot. He made the 4-foot birdie putt to move to 15-under for the tournament, 9-under for the day.
 

 
Needing a par to tie the course record and a birdie to break it, Woods sank an 8-footer for the former. Woods' 61 matched Jose Maria Olazabal for the lowest 18-hole score at Firestone. Olazabal initially set the mark in 1990. He went on to win the event by 12 shots.
 

 
'A lot better off the tee today,' said Woods following his career-tying round on the PGA TOUR. 'A lot of good shots and some wonderful shots, and some good, solid iron shots. So from tee-to-green, I hit the ball very well, and on top of that, I made a few putts.
 

 
Tiger's 64-61(125) aggregate is a new PGA TOUR record over the first two opening rounds. He also set a new TOUR record by carding his 29th consecutive round of par or better. The last time Woods posted a number in the black was his first 18 holes at this year's Byron Nelson in May.
 
Ironically, when Tiger teed off on Friday he was trailing by one. Mickelson started his second round birdie-eagle to move one shot clear of Woods. Six holes into his round, however, Woods was again in the lead. This time by five.
 
At least there's something Tiger Woods has yet to accomplish on the PGA TOUR. For the second straight day, Woods made a run at 59. And for the second straight day he came up short.
 

 
But he's getting closer.
 

 
Woods fired a 9-under-par 61 to take a seven-shot lead over Phil Mickelson into the third round of the WGC - NEC Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
 

 
At 15-under, Woods is eight shots clear of Justin Leonard, nine shots better than Jim Furyk, and ten strokes lower than Phillip Price and Lee Westwood. The aforementioned are the only players in the 37-man field within ten shots of Woods through 36 holes.
 

 
Thursday, Tiger was 7-under through 12 holes. Friday, he was one better. Eight-under-par through 12, Woods needed just three more strokes to par over his final six holes around the par-70 Firestone course to better 60.
 

 
After eagling the par-5 2nd and birdying holes 4-6, Woods made the turn in 5-under 30. He then added three more birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th.
 

 
'To be honest, I had no clue how many under par I was,' Woods later said. 'I just tried to increase my lead.'
 

 
His run of three straight birdies ended when he left a 16-footer short at the 13th. Still, Woods needed only to play the final five holes - which included a par-5 - in three under for the fourth ever 59 on the PGA TOUR.
 

 
Al Geiberger was the first man to break 60 in TOUR competition. He did so in the second round of the 1977 Memphis Classic. Chip Beck became the sophomore member of the prestigious fraternity by matching Geiberger's 13-under-par performance in the third round of the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational. Eight years later, David Duval won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic by firing that magical score in the fifth, and final round.
 

 
The par-4 14th looked promising for Tiger. His tee shot found the center of the fairway. However, his 8-iron approach shot flew the flag and finished in the back fringe. From there, he chipped to four feet - where he pushed his par save.
 

 
Woods dropped to 13-under for the tournament. He still led Mickelson by five, but his run for 59 had just hit a wall. A par at the 15th meant Tiger had to play the final three holes in 4-under-par.
 

 
Playing the 625-yard par-5 16th, Tiger knew he needed eagle. Two-hundred-and-seventy yards from the flag, Woods hit a 2-iron (that's right, a 2-iron) about as hard as humanly possible.
 

 
'I hit it flush,' said Woods.
 

 
That's an understatement. He nearly flew the green.
 

 
Over the green in two, Woods showed his all-around game by nearly holing a delicate pitch shot. He made the 4-foot birdie putt to move to 15-under for the tournament, 9-under for the day.
 

 
Needing a par to tie the course record and a birdie to break it, Woods sank an 8-footer for the former. Woods' 61 matched Jose Maria Olazabal for the lowest 18-hole score at Firestone. Olazabal initially set the mark in 1990. He went on to win the event by 12 shots.
 

 
'A lot better off the tee today,' said Woods following his career-tying round on the PGA TOUR. 'A lot of good shots and some wonderful shots, and some good, solid iron shots. So from tee-to-green, I hit the ball very well, and on top of that, I made a few putts.
 

 
Tiger's 64-61(125) aggregate is a new PGA TOUR record over the first two opening rounds. He also set a new TOUR record by carding his 29th consecutive round of par or better. The last time Woods posted a number in the black was his first 18 holes at this year's Byron Nelson in May.
 
Ironically, when Tiger teed off on Friday he was trailing by one. Mickelson started his second round birdie-eagle to move one shot clear of Woods. Six holes into his round, however, Woods was again in the lead. This time by five.
 

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: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan 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.

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.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."