Big Names Big Moves -- Big Surprise

By Sports NetworkJuly 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- Skip Kendall fired a 5-under 66 on Friday to surge into the lead after the second round of the 133rd British Open Championship. Kendall finished 36 holes at 7-under-par 135 for a one-shot edge over Frenchman Thomas Levet.
'It feels great. I really wasn't paying much attention to the leaderboards out there today,' said Kendall. 'It was a lot of fun out there.'
England's Barry Lane posted a 68 to join K.J. Choi in a tie for third at 5-under-par 137. Local favorite Colin Montgomerie missed a short putt at the last to join Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Michael Campbell and Todd Hamilton at 4-under-par 138.
Tiger Woods was among the big names making waves early under windy conditions at Royal Troon. While the wind died down in the afternoon, Woods was steady in the breeze Friday morning and two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 fourth.
Woods then converted a birdie putt to reach minus-3 and just like that the 2000 Open champion was back in the mix. The top player in the game was soon betrayed by his putter, however, when he missed a short par putt at the seventh.
The 28-year-old missed left with a 9-foot par putt at the ninth to fall back to even par on his round. Woods could not manage a single birdie on the inward half and finished six shots off the pace after a round of 71.
'The golf course was not playing easy,' said Woods, who tied for 24th at Troon in 1997. 'It was much more difficult today. It was even more difficult on the easier holes going out. It would have been difficult to try and get shots back coming in.'
While the wind meant trouble for the morning groups, those teeing off in the afternoon were faced with much calmer conditions.
Kendall, whose best finish in a major is a tie for 10th at the 1998 PGA Championship, posted a number that most thought was unattainable after the lack of scoring in the morning. He ignored what had come before him and took full advantage of the situation.
'I just wanted to play as well as I could,' said Kendall.
The 39-year-old found a bunker with his approach to the par-4 third but chipped in for a birdie. Kendall then birdied the par-3 fifth to move to 4 under.
'A pretty easy bunker shot, but how many times does the ball go into the hole,' he said. 'It went in and got my day going.'
Kendall stumbled to a bogey at the difficult par-4 11th, but drained a 25-foot putt on the very next hole for a birdie. He then dropped his tee shot inside 16 feet for a birdie at the 14th to move to minus-5.
At the par-5 16th, Kendall hit his approach just short of the putting surface. As has been the choice of many players this week, Kendall took out the flat stick from off the green and ran home the long eagle try to match Levet in the lead at 7 under.
Kendall, who has never won on the PGA Tour, parred his two remaining holes to find himself in an unlikely position heading into the weekend at a major championship.
'I really feel like I've been very close,' said Kendall, who lost in a playoff to Phil Mickelson at this year's Bob Hope. 'I really feel like I can win out on the PGA Tour, as well as any place else. I think it's just a matter of time. Hopefully this will be mine.'
Levet was on fire early and drained a long birdie putt at the second to become the first player this week to reach the 6-under mark. He took things a step further at the par-5 fourth after his second shot found a greenside bunker.
Levet hit out of the sand to 5 feet to move to minus-7. He had another birdie chance at the seventh after his second shot stopped within 15 feet of the hole, but was unable to convert.
The 35-year-old could have distanced himself even further after a solid tee shot to the par-3 eighth rolled to 10 feet. Levet missed the birdie effort right, however, but still managed to carry a comfortable advantage around the turn.
Levet was scrambling at the 12th and hit his fourth shot to four feet to save bogey. Levet, who finished second to Els in a playoff at the 2002 Open at Muirfield, was then passed by Kendall and parred his next six holes to complete a round of 70.
'I am a little tired after last week and the first two rounds here, but when you play that well it doesn't matter,' said Levet, who earned a spot in the field by winning the Scottish Open last week. 'I will have a couple of weeks off after this so it is okay, I will have a good sleep tonight and go for it tomorrow.'
Singh tallied a birdie at the second, but three-putted at the fifth for a bogey. The Fijian responded with a birdie at the par-4 seventh, but stumbled again with a bogey at the ninth.
The 41-year-old buckled down in the wind at the par-5 16th and sent his second shot past the flag. Singh then two-putted for birdie to reach 4 under.
'I liked the way I played today,' said Singh, who carded a 70. 'Whenever you play well you are going to enjoy it, but I am pretty relaxed out there. It's hard enough in the conditions out there to tighten up so I was trying to feel relaxed, breathe a little bit better and try and score a bit better.'
Els faltered with a bogey at the fifth but recovered well with a birdie at the following hole. The South African played his approach to 12 feet for a birdie at the 10th, but gave that shot back with a bogey at the 13th.
At the par-3 14th, Els missed the green off the tee, but chipped in for a birdie from a side hill lie. He then two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 16th en route to his second straight round of 69.
Montgomerie was on fire early on, giving the hometown fans plenty to cheer for. He sank a 20-footer for a birdie at the first and moved to 4 under with a birdie the second.
The Scot three-putted for a bogey at the third but countered with a birdie at the very next hole. Montgomerie found trouble again with a bogey at the ninth, but regained his form on the inward half with back-to-back birdies starting at the 15th to move within two of the lead.
Montgomerie acknowledged the galleries while he walked up the 18th fairway, but a mistake on the green changed his mood in a heartbeat. Montgomerie had three feet left for par, but was unable to convert. He tapped in for bogey and a round of 69.
'It was disappointing, but no perfect round of golf has ever been played on a links course and I don't suppose it ever will be,' said Montgomerie.
The amazing shots continued in the second round of the Open Championship and Hamilton did the honors on the front nine. He holed his second shot for an eagle at the par-4 seventh and added a pair of birdies and a bogey the rest of the way to finish three shots off the lead.
Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson, the winners of the two previous majors this season, joined Kenny Perry, Mike Weir and Scott Verplank in a tie for 10th at 3-under-par 139.
Mickelson began the day at 2 over par, but tallied four birdies over his first six holes to make his presence known. The reigning Masters champion added a birdie at the 16th to complete a bogey-free round of 66.
Kim Felton posted a 67 to join fellow Australian Rod Pampling in a tie for 15th at 2-under-par 140. Woods was one shot further back along with Darren Clarke, Davis Love III, Gary Evans, Stuart Appleby, Gary Emerson and Adam Scott at 1-under-par 141.
Paul Casey, who shared the first-round lead with Levet, struggled with a 77 to finish in a group at 1-over-par 143.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over-par 145 with 73 players surviving for the weekend. Ben Curtis posted a 74 to finish at 7-over-par 149, becoming the first defending champion to miss the cut at the British Open since Paul Lawrie in 2000.
Other notables who missed the cut include: Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Chad Campbell, Robert Allenby, Fredrik Jacobson, Thomas Bjorn and Stephen Ames.
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

    Masters victory

    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

    Man of the people

    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

    Departure from TaylorMade

    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

    Victory at Valderrama

    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.