Couch Leads Outright Tiger Battles Back

By Sports NetworkJuly 1, 2005, 4:00 pm
LEMONT, Ill. -- Chris Couch posted a 4-under 67 on Friday to move into the lead at the halfway point of the Cialis Western Open. Couch's 36-hole total of 9-under-par 133 left him one shot clear of his closest competitors.
 
Jim Furyk, who shared the first-round lead with Ben Curtis and Todd Fischer, managed a 1-under 70 to join Tim Herron and Duffy Waldorf at 8-under-par 134. Curtis was one shot further back at 7-under-par 135 while Fischer followed at 6-under-par 136 along with Steve Flesch.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods fired a 5-under 66 to climb back onto the leaderboard at the Western Open.
Three-time Western Open champion Tiger Woods had a difficult opening round, but the top player in the game battled back with a round of 66 Friday on the Dubsdread Course at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club.
 
'I played a little bit better today, but more importantly I putted better,' Woods said.
 
Woods played the back side first and collected a birdie at the par-5 11th before a bogey at the very next hole dropped him back to two-over. Woods answered with an eagle at the par-5 15th and a birdie at the par-4 18th to make the turn at 1 under.
 
The reigning Masters champion found trouble with a bogey at the par-3 second, but he got that shot back with a birdie at the par-4 fifth. At the par-4 seventh, Woods played his second shot inside 2 feet and tapped in for a birdie. He then drained a 10-foot putt for a birdie at the par-4 eighth to finish at 3-under-par 139.
 
'You just stay in the present,' said Woods. 'You work on what you have to do to get the ball to the next spot, and that's it. It doesn't get any more complicated than that. You just try and place the golf ball where you need to try and place it at all times and try and stay as focused as you possibly can at that moment, and forget the rest.'
 
Couch, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour this season, parred each of his first nine holes before running off back-to-back birdies starting at the par-4 10th.
 
The 32-year-old, who owns five career titles on the Nationwide Tour, two- putted for a birdie at the par-5 15th to reach minus-8. then dropped his second shot inside 4 feet and converted the short birdie try to secure the 36-hole lead.
 
'My goal coming into the week was to make the cut and take advantage of what they did for me, and that's happened,' said Couch, who is playing under a sponsor's exemption. 'So far a little better than that, so hopefully I can have a good weekend and a good outcome.'
 
Furyk struggled early with a pair of bogeys over his first five holes. The former U.S. Open champion countered with back-to-back birdies from the eighth and rolled in a 5-foot putt for a birdie at the 11th to get to 8 under.
 
Furyk was unable to make a move down the stretch, however, and parred his way in to finish one shot back.
 
Herron started on the back nine and birdied his first two holes out of the gate. Herron stumbled to back-to-back bogeys from the 12th, but responded with three consecutive birdies starting at the 14th.
 
He added two birdies on the front side for a round of 66.
 
'I got the ball up and down pretty well, hit some good trouble shots,' said Herron, who hasn't won since the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational. 'I felt like I kept it going, which will be more positive and beneficial going into the weekend.'
 
Waldorf also started at the 10th and birdied each of his last three holes for a round of 65 and a share of second place.
 
Chad Campbell and Scott McCarron share eighth place at 5-under-par 137. Shaun Micheel, Stuart Appleby, Brian Gay, Craig Perks, Jonathan Byrd, Brett Quigley and Ted Purdy are knotted at 4-under-par 138.
 
Defending champion Stephen Ames shot a 71 to finish at 1-under-par 141. Vijay Singh followed on the cut line at even-par 142 after a round of 70. Among those who failed to make the cut were John Daly, Mike Weir, Ryan Moore, Charles Howell III and Peter Lonard.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Cialis Western Open

  • Full Coverage - Cialis Western Open
  • Getty Images

    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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