Bjorn Leads Monty Three Back

By Sports NetworkJune 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
Johnny Walker Championship at GleneaglesPERTHSHIRE, Scotland -- Denmark's Thomas Bjorn flew out of the gate on Thursday with an 8-under-par 65 to take the first-round lead of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
 
Paul Casey, Andrew McLardy and Andres Romero are knotted in second place at 6-under-par 67 at the PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel.
 
Two of last week's U.S. Open stars are part of a group tied for fifth place.
 
Kenneth Ferrie, who shared the 54-hole lead with Phil Mickelson, and Colin Montgomerie, who double-bogeyed the 72nd hole at Winged Foot when par would have won him his first major championship, both posted rounds of 5-under par 68.
 
Montgomerie, who played with Ferrie on Thursday, collected a pair of birdies at one and two, then drained a 10-foot birdie putt at the eighth.
 
At the 11th, Montgomerie sank a long birdie putt to reach 4 under. He added a short birdie putt at the par-5 12th, then got to 6 under par with a birdie at 17.
 
Montgomerie bogeyed the par-5 18th to fall into a tie for fifth, but was happy with the performance considering his final-hole collapse on Sunday.
 
'Every shot I hit, I thought about the last one I hit there and it is difficult to think about that,' acknowledged Montgomerie. 'The birdie at the first was very important and we can try and move forward.'
 
Ferrie was only 2 under through 11 holes, but a birdie at the 12th got him going. He closed with birdies at 16 and 18 to stay on the golf world's map one week after sharing sixth place.
 
'I am happy with my start considering I didn't know what to expect,' said Ferrie. 'I think I'm making a name for myself in a good way.'
 
The U.S. Open was last week, and so far Bjorn owns this week.
 
Bjorn began his opening round on the back nine and promptly knocked a 7-iron to 30 feet at the par-3 10th. He drained that birdie putt, then tapped in a short birdie putt at the par-5 12th. The Dane made it two in a row with a 3-footer at No. 13.
 
Bjorn parred No. 14 then went on another birdie run. He sank a 15-foot birdie putt at 15, two-putted for birdie at the par-5 16th and polished off three in a row with a 25-footer at the par-3 17th.
 
After parring 18 to make the turn at 6-under 31, Bjorn continued his fine play on his second nine. He hit a sand-wedge to 20 feet to set up birdie at the first.
 
At the par-5 second, Bjorn played a hybrid-club from the fairway to 4 feet. He converted the eagle putt to reach 9 under par through his first 11 holes.
 
'I probably mis-hit only one shot in those 11 holes and that was the third shot at 18,' admitted Bjorn. 'I search for perfection all the time and the first 11 holes were certainly nearly perfection. The first 11 holes were very special.'
 
Bjorn parred the third and found his only trouble of the round at the 211-yard, par-3 fourth. His 3-iron tee ball missed the green and his chip stopped 10 feet from the hole. Bjorn's par try stayed above ground, dropping him back to minus-8.
 
Bjorn parred his final five holes to grab the first-round lead, but couldn't help wonder what could have happened had he not struggled later in his round.
 
'At the end, it showed that I had only played one round on this golf course,' said Bjorn, who made the cut last week at the U.S. Open, but never threatened the top of the leaderboard. 'I wouldn't say I'm disappointed with the way I finished because I'm not, but at 9 under after 12 holes you feel you should walk off with something exceptional.'
 
Montgomerie and Ferrie were joined in fifth place by Stephen Browne, Miguel Angel Martin, Wade Ormsby and Francesco Valera.
 
Defending champion Emanuele Canonica is tied for 19th place after an opening-round, 3-under 70.
 
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  • Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

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    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

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    Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

    Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    "I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

    But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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    With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

    Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

    The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

    "I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."