More of the same Saturday for Tiger

By October 8, 2011, 11:17 pm

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – For better and worse, Tiger Woods' third round at the Open was nearly a carbon copy of his Friday effort. Woods shot 3-under 68 for a second, consecutive day at CordeValle to reach 4 under for the tournament. 

On one hand, the consistency is a sure positive sign. Woods fired his first pair of under-par rounds since Doral in March. He again had symmetrical nines of 34 on each side of the San Martin course, hitting the same number of fairways and greens as Friday.

Unfortunately, the repetitive rounds are not good enough to keep pace with other players in this Fall Series field.

'The golf course could have been had today. I'm pretty sure somebody will shoot 62 or 63 out there pretty easily,' he said. 'Guys can take it deep out there.'

The world No. 51 was in the first group off of the tenth tee after the second round wrapped up early Saturday morning. Woods arrived to the course less than a half-hour before he was scheduled to play, aware his status in the middle of the pack on Friday evening was unlikely to change his place in the split-tee docket on Saturday.

The rushed nature of the start of the round kept Woods off kilter until a birdie at the par-3 11th hole marked his longest made putt of the week. The 32-footer had Woods in position to hopefully Xerox the card from Friday which had three birdies from 14 through 16. 

Woods could not replicate that result, however, managing just a plush birdie at the shortened par-5 15th. Woods missed the green at the bookend holes of yesterday's mini-charge, nearly sinking one chip. He was unable to make birdie on the 290-yard 17th hole, leaving his birdie putt just one revolution short.

'That's kind of a no-brainer,' he said. 'Just put the ball ont he green. It's really not that hard of a shot.' 

Birdies at the first and second came on the heels of crisp wedge play which had failed Woods twice on the opening nine. 

'Initially, I didn't hit the wedges close starting out. You know, I felt good over the putts, hitting my lines. They are a little bit tricky to read,' he said.

It came apart at the third, however, with a fried egg in the bunker. For the second time this week, Woods failed to get out of the sand in his first attempt and bogeyed his 12th hole of the day.

'The body starts rotating and obviously the hands chase,' he explained. 'So if I keep the body speed up, then I'll be fine.'

Losing all momentum, Woods hit a series of rather indifferent shots for the next three holes. Perhaps the outlier was the birdie putt at the fifth – the first hole Woods elicited help from new bagman Joe LaCava. When the putt didn’t drop, hopes of resuming his second-nine run were dashed. 

At the shortest hole on the course, Woods nearly fell apart trying to play hero. Long and left with a short iron, Woods attempted an explosion shot from the wispy reeds that went 50 yards past his intended target. He did well to save bogey with a 15-footer from the fringe for a statistical no-putt hole.

Frankly, the final two holes were ho-hum – an easy par at the eighth and a through-the-motions birdie at the par-5 finishing hole. 

Perhaps the lack of emotion the round elicited was because Woods had seen this movie yesterday in the same theater.

Pleased with his progress though the proverbial fine-tuning may have not changed frequency Saturday, Woods will be further from the lead than when he began the day. 

'I'm improving day by day, which is good. Obviously tomorrow I need to improve a lot and make the putts and post a really low one tomorrow.'

Despite the deficit, Woods should be somewhat closer to finding the form that can put him in the thick of the tournament on Sunday afternoon instead of slated for a tee time leaving him with an early lunch.

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 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.

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."