Casey Levet Lead Bunched Leaderboard

By Sports NetworkJuly 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- England's Paul Casey shot a 5-under-par 66 Thursday to join Frenchman Thomas Levet in the lead after the first round of the 133rd British Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Club.
 
Michael Campbell of New Zealand carded a 4-under 67 to finish alone in third place.
 
Tiger Woods looked to be on track in the opening round of a major for quite some time. The top player in the world, whose last major title came at the U.S. Open at Bethpage in 2002, ran home a long birdie putt at the second and rolled in a 4-footer for a birdie at the sixth to jump to minus-2.
 
The 28-year-old three-putted for a bogey at the seventh but countered with a birdie at the par-3 eighth. Woods found trouble on the back side, however, and missed the green at the 12th on his way to a bogey.
 
Woods dropped another shot at the 13th after he couldn't get up and down but got back into red figures with a birdie at the par-5 16th. He ended up with a 1-under 70, which ties him for 26th.
 
'I think it was positive the way I played today. That's the key,' said the champion in 2000 at St. Andrews. 'Granted, I shot a good number, but I think that's indicative of the shots I hit, and I hit a lot of good shots and controlled my ball really well today.'
 
Casey, who tied for sixth at the Masters, did more than a good job in improving upon his opening round score from last year's Open at Royal St. George's. An 85 on the first day last year meant Casey would be missing out on the weekend for the second year in a row. This time around, the 26-year-old is halfway to making the cut at the Open for the first time in his young career.
 
'Major championships are a big deal, and that's what everybody wants to win,' said Casey. 'You have to treat them the same as every other golf event and if you don't then 85s happen. You've got to want it a lot, but not push it over the edge and find a happy medium.'
 
Casey got things going early at the par-4 first and hit a wedge in to 10 feet for a quick birdie. He then knocked his third shot to 6 feet for a birdie at the par-5 fourth and hit his tee shot inside 6 feet for a birdie at the tricky par-3 eighth.
 
The Arizona State product hit a 7-iron over the back of the green en route to a bogey at the ninth, but responded well with birdies on each of his next two holes to reach 4 under.
 
Casey parred his next three holes before picking up a birdie at the par-5 16th. At the par-4 closing hole, Casey left an 8-iron within 16 feet of the hole and converted the birdie putt to enter the clubhouse in the lead under calm conditions on the seaside links at Troon.
 
'I'm not getting in my own way as I have done, especially last year,' said Casey, a three-time winner on the European Tour. 'This year it's been very good. I've been very relaxed and allowed myself to play good golf, and if I'm in that sort of frame of mind, as I was at the Masters, then anything is possible.'
 
Levet came into this week on a roll after winning the Scottish Open just to earn a spot in the field.
 
'When you win a tournament you get really lucky,' said Levet, who was not planning on competing this week. 'I just try to put everything on my side to be ready for this week and play good golf.'
 
On Thursday, Levet seemed to pick up right where he left off at Loch Lomond. He birdied two in a row starting at the par-5 fourth and ran home a long birdie putt at the par-4 seventh.
 
Levet made it two in a row with a birdie at the eighth, but gave that shot back with a bogey at the par-4 10th. Levet came right back, however, and placed his second shot inside 7 feet for a birdie at the 11th.
 
He coasted at even par over his next five holes before collecting a birdie at the par-3 17th. Levet then parred the last to join Casey atop the leaderboard.
 
Levet was on the verge of major glory two years ago at Muirfield when he lost out in a playoff battle to Ernie Els.
 
'Sometimes you feel like I was not too far from winning. But sometimes you learn from that, as well,' said Levet. 'It's the first time I was about to win something and there is nothing to be ashamed of. He won because he was the best.'
 
Campbell, who tied for third at the 1995 Open at St. Andrews, tallied a birdie at the fourth and added an eagle at the par-5 sixth. With the front nine yielding plenty of scoring, Campbell then birdied the ninth to make the turn at minus-4.
 
The 35-year-old bogeyed the 10th but moved back within a shot of the lead with a birdie at the par-4 15th.
 
'I was very, very comfortable out there today,' said Campbell, who was in contention last week at Loch Lomond. 'It was a good start to the tournament and I'm pretty happy about it.'
 
Vijay Singh posted a 3-under-par 68 to join amateur Stuart Wilson, K.J. Choi, Gary Evans, Carl Pettersson, Marten Olander, Kenneth Ferrie, Alastair Forsyth and Mathew Goggin in a tie for fifth.
 
Els had the shot of the tournament thus far at the difficult par-3 eighth. The South African holed a wedge for an ace to reach 3 under and added a birdie at the 11th to join a logjam at 4 under par.
 
While his challengers faltered over the difficult closing holes at Troon, Els got himself out of some hairy situations. He hit an errant drive at the 13th but was able to muscle his way out of the rough on his way to a par. Els then parred his next three holes before disaster struck at the 17th.
 
Els found a pot bunker off the tee at the par-3 and left his second shot in the sand. He knocked his third just off the front of the green and what had been a fine morning turned sour after Els two-putted for a double bogey.
 
'I didn't feel good after that,' said Els. 'I had a pretty nice round going there. But from such a highlight on eighth to such a low light on 17, it's amazing.'
 
Els played his second shot to 20 feet at the last and two-putted for par and a round of 69.
 
Colin Montgomerie was eager to get out in front of his hometown fans on his home course. Montgomerie, a member at Troon who has played the course since his youth, rocketed out of the gate with three birdies over his first nine holes.
 
The Scot stumbled on the back side with a double bogey at the 10th and a bogey at the 11th, but Montgomerie responded with a birdie at the par-4 12th to get back to 1 under.
 
Montgomerie then sank a 20-footer for a birdie at the par-4 15th and parred his way in for a 69 of his own.
 
'Whether that score is 75 or 65, I was going to enjoy myself, and I did today,' said Montgomerie, who tied for 24th at Troon in 1997. 'It helps if you break 70, it always helps.'
 
Els and Montgomerie were joined by U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, Darren Clarke, Rich Beem, Joakim Haeggman, Kenny Perry, Scott Verplank, Paul McGinley, Skip Kendall, Trevor Immelman, Barry Lane and Steve Lowery at 2 under par.
 
Justin Leonard, the 1997 winner at Troon, was one shot further back at 1-under-par 70 in the group that featured Woods, 1985 Open champion Sandy Lyle, 1995 winner John Daly, Jay Haas and Robert Allenby.
 
Masters champion Phil Mickelson was unable to take advantage of the benign conditions on Thursday. He parred his first nine holes before picking up a bogey at the 10th. Mickelson dropped another shot with a bogey at the 15th but recovered with his only birdie of the day at the 16th.
 
The left-hander was not out of the woods, however, and bogeyed the 17th for a round of 73.
 
Defending champion Ben Curtis hit his approach to 6 feet for a birdie at the opening hole. It was all downhill from that point on for the Ohio native, who double bogeyed the fifth to fall back to 1 over.
 
Curtis birdied the very next hole, but collected four bogeys the rest of the way to finish in a group at 4-over-par 75 that included Sergio Garcia.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 133rd Open Championship
  • TV Airtimes

  • British Open Photo Gallery

  • Full Coverage - 133rd Open Championship
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

    Getty Images

    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

    Getty Images

    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.