Singh Drives to Mercedes Lead

By Sports NetworkJanuary 9, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsVijay Singh ran off seven straight birdies on the back nine Friday en route to a nine-under 64 to grab a one-shot lead at the Mercedes Championships. Singh completed 36 holes at 14-under-par 132, one stroke clear of first-round leader Stuart Appleby.
Darren Clarke carded a four-under 69 Friday and stands in third place at 10- under-par 136. Kirk Triplett is one stroke further back at minus-nine, while Scott Hoch stands alone in fifth place at seven-under-par 139. Retief Goosen and Davis Love III are one shot back at minus-six.
Singh got off to a nice start with birdies at the third and fifth to move to seven-under. He dropped his first shot of the tournament when he bogeyed the sixth. After three straight pars, he headed to the back nine at six-under.
'I was a little disappointed with the front nine, didn't birdie nine and also two-putted (for bogey) the sixth hole,' said Singh, a four-time winner last season. 'I just said, 'I'll go play a solid back nine.' I started making some putts, which is always nice on these greens and played solid.'
The Fijian caught fire from there. He birdied the 10th before a par at No. 11. From there, he rocketed up the leaderboard.
'The wind was more favorable today and I hit it right where I aimed,' said Singh of his drive on No. 10. 'I made a good pitch shot and putt there.'
Singh rolled home a 18-footer at the 12th to climb to eight-under. He made it two straight when he converted a three-footer at the next. The 2003 PGA Tour money leader curled in an eight-foot putt at the 14th for his third straight birdie.
He followed with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 15th. When he drained a five-footer at 16, the lead was his at 12-under as Appleby bogeyed the 14th. Appleby briefly tied Singh atop the leaderboard with his birdie on No. 15.
Singh, however, was not done. He continued his hot streak as he drained a putt from over 30 feet out on No. 17 to get to 13-under. He closed out a string of seven straight birdies when he rolled in a short birdie putt at the last.
'I was just playing along,' Singh said. 'I wasn't trying to hard or anything. I didn't make too many mistakes, kept the ball in play and hit it close.'
Singh's stretch of seven straight birdies is one shy of the tour record, which has been done six times previously. His eight-under 29 is two strokes off the tour's nine-hole mark of nine-under 27.
'You've have to make putts over here to score and I didn't do it Thursday as much, but I think the greens paid me back today,' said Singh.
Appleby had a solid round of his own but was overtaken by Singh's hot play. Appleby fired a six-under 67, despite three bogies. He bogeyed the second, but answered with a birdie at the very next hole.
The Australian ran off five straight birdies from the sixth to climb to 12- under and a three-shot lead at the time. However, he bogeyed the 12th and 14th but did manage a birdie in between at No. 13.
Appleby also came back to birdie the 15th to return to 12-under. He climbed within one stroke of Singh with a short birdie putt at the last.
'The wind was playing pretty much the same as Thursday, a little stronger, certainly a lot more of a concern to club selection,' said Appleby. 'There were some birdies to be had out there. But I played pretty well all day. Liked the way I hit it, and liked the way I putted it.'
Tiger Woods and Masters champion Mike Weir each posted rounds of three-under 70 to move to five-under-par 141. That duo is joined in eighth place by Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, John Huston, Peter Jacobsen, Justin Leonard, J.L. Lewis, Shigeki Maruyama and Shaun Micheel.
Ernie Els, the defending champion, carded a three-under 70 to join Adam Scott at three-under-par 143.
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  • 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."