Smyth McCord Share Kroger Lead

By Sports NetworkSeptember 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
Kroger ClassicMAINEVILLE, Ohio -- Ireland's Des Smyth and Gary McCord each fired rounds of 7-under-par 65 Friday to share the opening-round lead of the Kroger Classic at the TPC at River's Bend.
Tom Kite, David Eger and Doug Tewell shared third place after opening rounds of 6-under 66.
The start of the tournament was delayed almost five hours due to fog. All 77 players completed their first rounds, and 50 golfers broke par in the opening round.
Smyth, a tour rookie last year, started slowly on Friday with one birdie in his first six holes. He then ran off six consecutive birdies from the seventh, one off the Champions Tour record this season that Fuzzy Zoeller set in the final round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
Smyth, a two-time Ryder Cupper for Europe, three-putted the 16th green for a bogey. He rebounded at the par-5 18th when his drive landed in a fairway bunker. Smyth laid up, then hit an 8-iron 2 feet from the hole to set up the easy birdie.
'It was a nice way to finish,' said Smyth. 'Six is good. I'm normally happy if I get three in a row. I had a very good day today.'
Smyth has only notched two top-10s in his 2004 campaign and needs some high finishes if he is to maintain his status next season on the 50-and-over circuit.
'I'm in dire need of a good tournament,' admitted Smyth. 'I played very well last year, but didn't win. I thought I would take a step forward this year, but I took two steps backward.'
McCord, a broadcaster for CBS, ran home a 15-foot birdie putt at the second and followed two holes later with a tap-in birdie. He drained an 8-footer for birdie at six, then closed his front nine with back-to-back birdies from 30 feet and 4 feet, respectively.
McCord kept his hot streak going on the second nine. He sank a 10-footer for birdie at the 10th, then made it four birdies in a row with a 4-footer at No. 11.
Things fell apart for McCord after the birdie at 11. He drove into a fairway bunker at the 14th and two-putted for bogey from 40 feet. McCord reclaimed the lost stroke at the 215-yard, par-3 16th when his 3-iron tee ball stopped 12 feet from the cup. He holed that putt to join Smyth in a share of first.
'I'm really hitting the ball well,' said McCord. 'I managed my game pretty good all day. I started good and then slowed down at the end. If I can do what I did today the rest of the week, I'll be fine.'
McCord is in the same position as Smyth in terms of his card next season. He cannot add tournaments to his schedule due to his commitment to CBS, so McCord needs to take advantage of the events where he is entered.
'I'd love to win,' said McCord, who has two wins on the Champions Tour and four top-20s this season. 'That's a goal in the last five weeks - I can have access without asking for sponsor's exemptions.'
Mike Smith, Lonnie Nielsen, Bob Murphy, Mike Reid, Leonard Thompson and Bruce Summerhays are tied for sixth place at 5-under-par 67.
Defending champion Gil Morgan carded a 3-under-par 69 and is part of a group tied for 16th.
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

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

    Former 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 Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted 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.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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