Sluman Makes Early Memorial Move

By Sports NetworkJune 2, 2005, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Jeff Sluman fired a bogey-free, 7-under-par 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after one round of The Memorial Tournament.
 
South African Rory Sabbatini stands alone in second place at 6-under-par 66.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods shot 3-under 69 despite needing 32 putts Thursday.
Adam Scott, who will defend his title next week at the Booz Allen Classic, is tied for third place at minus-5. He was joined there by Woody Austin, Nick O'Hern, Joe Ogilvie, Bo Van Pelt, Jonathan Kaye, Lucas Glover and Richard Green.
 
Three-time champion Tiger Woods shares 13th place at 3-under-par 69. Woods got off to a steady start with 10 straight pars to open his round. He then birdied three of his next five holes. The 29-year-old parred his final three holes to close a bogey-free round of 69.
 
'With the wind blowing like this, I'm extremely happy with my start,' Woods said. 'I made no bogeys, three birdies and that's it. You've got to make putts. Some of the pin locations are accessible. You just kind of plod along, wait your turn.'
 
Sluman first got on the board with a birdie at the par-3 fourth. He came back with a 2-foot birdie putt on No. 6 at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The 1988 PGA Championship winner chipped in for birdie on the eighth.
 
The 47-year-old made it two straight as he sank a birdie putt on the ninth to make the turn at minus-4. Sluman capped a run of three straight birdies as his 20-foot putt at the 10th fell into the cup.
 
Sluman then birdied the 12th from 40 feet out, his third birdie on a par-3 in the first round. After a pair of pars, the Florida State alum ran in a 6-foot birdie putt on the 15th to move into the lead at 7 under. The six-time winner on the PGA Tour parred his final three holes, including an up-and-down par at the last to maintain a one-shot cushion.
 
'The golf course is in terrific shape. It's the best I've ever seen it,' said Sluman, whose best finish this year was a tie for ninth at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. 'It was a lot of fun out there. Obviously I was pleased with how I played today.'
 
Sluman leads after one round for the 13th time in his career. However, of those previous 12 events, he has never went on to win.
 
Sabbatini dropped a sand-wedge within 4 feet to set up a birdie on the third to get his round going. The South African scrambled to a birdie on the par-5 fifth.
 
He sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the next to move to 3 under. Sabbatini made it three in a row as his 5-foot birdie putt on the seventh found the bottom of the cup.
 
Sabbatini rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at the 10th to get to 5 under. He sank an 18-foot birdie putt at 17 and parred the last to close a bogey-free round of 66.
 
'The wind was just kind of swirling out there, making conditions a little tougher, and you really had to settle into each shot as it came,' Sabbatini said. 'You really needed to decide on what the wind was doing and go with that and really trust it.'
 
Ian Poulter and Tim Herron are tied for 11th at 4 under par.
 
Woods was joined at minus-3 by 14 other players. Among that group are two-time champion Kenny Perry, British Open winner Todd Hamilton and Byron Nelson Championship runner-up Sean O'Hair.
 
Defending champion Ernie Els struggled to a 1-over-par 73. He stands in a tie for 61st. Tournament host Jack Nicklaus posted a 3-over-par 75. World No. 1 Vijay Singh shot a 5-over-par 77.
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x