Big Game James: Driscoll perseveres

By Randall MellOctober 20, 2011, 8:12 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – James Driscoll drilled his tee shot into a hazard on his 15th hole at Disney’s Palm Course in the first round of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

After taking a drop, he drilled another shot in a hazard.

When you’re No. 125 on the PGA Tour money list in the season-ending event, wayward shots hurt more.

Given those were his third and fourth balls lost in hazards Thursday, Driscoll wouldn’t have surprised his fellow competitors if he started digging in his bag for some ibuprofen.

So caddie Bill Harke studied his player’s face leaving the tee box, searching for signs that a long year’s struggle might finally be taking its toll.

For all the resolve Harke saw, Driscoll may as well have just split the fairway with his tee shot.

“It’s great to see that in James, how he can hit a shot in a hazard and not be discouraged,” Harke said. “His fight’s unbelievable, always has been.”

Driscoll chipped in to salvage a double bogey, then closed his round with back-to-back birdies.

With an opening 6-under-par 66, Driscoll showed Harke lots of fight. He made eight birdies, an eagle, two bogeys and a double bogey. He had runs of four birdies in a row near the start of his round, and a run of eagle-birdie-birdie to start his back nine, but he also had those errant shots.

Driscoll said he isn’t fazed as the bubble boy this week, as the guy holding the final exempt spot on the money list knowing he has to stay in the top 125 in the year’s final event to keep full status.

“I don’t look at 125 as that special of a number,” said Driscoll, who grew up in Brookline, Mass. “The guys at 120 through 190 are kind of all in the same position. Everyone of those guys needs a good week this week to avoid Q-School. I don’t think the position I’m in is any different than about 40 other guys here.”

Driscoll, 34, has been riding down the money list and toward the bubble for the last month.

“I’ve kind of been under the same pressure from Vegas up until now to make a few dollars and get out of this position,” Driscoll said. “I obviously haven’t done it, but hopefully things will start coming together.”

With four missed cuts in his last five starts, Driscoll was asked if there is torment thinking back on lost opportunities that could have improved his money position coming to Disney.

“I guess anybody out here could do that,” Driscoll said. “It’s kind of a useless process to go through. I mean, the last nine holes at Reno, I probably spent a few dollars. Anybody out here can look at a stretch of holes where they didn’t capitalize. But that’s the game. There are ups and downs. Everyone goes through the same stuff, so it doesn’t do any good to dwell on it.”

Those four shots into hazards had Driscoll marching to see his swing coach, Sean Foley, on the driving range at Disney after the first round. He began working with Foley at Quail Hollow in the spring.

“He’s got a lot of knowledge of the golf swing,” Driscoll said. “He likes a lot of things I do in my golf swing, so I knew he wasn’t going to change a lot of things. The things he’s given me are really simple and helped a lot. Hopefully, he can get me straightened out.”

Driscoll’s been through these money-list rigors before. A year ago, he arrived at Disney outside the top 150 in money and missed the cut. He endured a return to the second-stage of Q-School in a bid to get his Tour card back and made it all the way through.

“I knew there would be a little bit more media attention,” Driscoll said of his bubble-boy status this week. “Other than that, it didn’t really affect my attitude. Obviously, I would rather be about 30 on the money list, but it is what it is. You deal with it and try the best you can.”

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.