Singh Shoots 63 Leads Buick Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 29, 2004, 4:00 pm
GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Vijay Singh fired a 9-under-par 63, taking only 29 strokes on the back nine, Thursday to take the opening-round lead of the Buick Open at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club.
 
'I hit a lot of close shots, but I think making those 5- , 6- , 7-footers and occasionally 10-footers, that kept the round going,' said Singh, who posted three 63s prior to Thursday's opening round. 'I was really pleased with my round.'
 
Olin Browne is alone in second place after a first-round 64. Mike Grob birdied three of his final four holes Thursday to vault into third place at minus-7.
 
Defending champion Jim Furyk carded a 6-under-par 66 and is tied for fourth place with Brenden Pappas, Len Mattiace, Craig Barlow and David Peoples.
 
Tiger Woods, who won this title in 2002, returned to the tour for the first time since the British Open. He shot a 5-under-par 67 and is part of group tied for ninth place.
 
Woods was joined in ninth by good friend Mark O'Meara, Briny Baird, Roger Tambellini, Robert Damron, Stephen Allan and last week's U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee winner Carlos Franco.
 
Woods started on the back nine Thursday and made two birdies on his opening nine. Perhaps his best hole was the driveable, par-4 14th. He crouched under a tree and somehow saved par.
 
He recorded three birdies on his second nine to get into position for a run at the lead.
 
'The greens are soft and the wind didn't start blowing till probably the last three holes for us,' said Woods. 'It was probably as easy as we've ever seen it here. That's usually not the case here.'
 
Rain during the week made Warwick Hills longer, but the greens were receptive.
 
Singh wasted little time in taking advantage of the optimum conditions.
 
He holed a 5-footer at No. 1 to get into red figures early, but trouble loomed for the third-ranked player in the world. He missed the green at three, then pitched to 4 feet, where he missed the par putt.
 
The Fijian hit a sand-wedge to 3 feet to set up birdie at the sixth, then closed out his front nine with another great wedge shot, this time a pitching-wedge to 4 feet. Singh holed that to make the turn at 2 under.
 
Singh made it two in a row with a 5-foot birdie putt at 10. He parred 11, but got back to making birdies at the 12th, a 6-footer after another brilliant wedge to the green.
 
The two-time major winner reached the par-5 13th green in two with a 3-wood. The ball stopped 6 feet from the hole and Singh ran home the eagle try to get to minus-6.
 
He missed the green with a driver at the par-4 14th, but pitched to 15 feet where he made his longest birdie try of the round. Singh finished off back-to-back birdies at 15 when his 8-iron approach left him with 10 feet.
 
Singh polished off his round with a driver-9-iron to 8 feet at No. 18 and a round of 63, which matched his lowest round in the 2004 season.
 
For the first time in two-and-a-half years, Singh abandoned the belly putter and used the more conventional putter.
 
'I was struggling. I won three tournaments and doesn't mean I'm putting badly. I was putting nicely, but then all of a sudden, I just could not make any more putts,' said Singh, who won this title in 1997. 'I decided I'm going to try it out and worked every day last week at least an hour and a half a day, just putting on it and felt comfortable.'
 
Browne tallied four birdies on the front side, then played well in spurts on the back nine. He made a pair of 15-footers for birdie at 12 and 13, then once again ran off back-to-back birdies.
 
At the par-five 16th, Browne hit a lob-wedge to 12 feet and drained the birdie putt. He used a 6-iron at the par-3 17th and canned the 8-footer to get within one of Singh's lead.
 
Browne has only two top-10s this season, both in the last five weeks. He recorded only two top-10s in the previous two seasons, but Browne thinks he has figured out the problems.
 
'When you are hitting poor shots, you start getting into a rut where you wonder if you will ever get it figured out. The minute you get it going again, you think, it wasn't that hard,' said Browne, a two-time winner on tour. 'It's not just my putter. I'm driving it better than I was.'
 
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  • 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.

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    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?

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    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.