Woods Routes Field Wins Fifth Grand Slam
Rich Beem, the PGA Champion, finished alone in fourth place at 1-over-par 145.
Woods's 61 broke the old course record of 65 at Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course. Ernie Els first shot the 65 in 1997 before Woods matched it last year. The 61 also set a new 18-hole record for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, besting Tom Kite's score from PGA West in 1992 by a single stroke.
The 36-hole total of 127 broke Woods' record from last season by five shots.
'I was surprised at a couple shots I hit out there,' said Woods, whose 61 matched his lowest 18-hole tournament round. 'I really couldn't mis-hit a shot today. Every shot I hit was right in the middle of the face.
'I was making shots, aiming at my shots and I was knocking down my putts,' he said. 'It's a lot of fun when everything works like that.'
Love shot a 3-under 69 on Wednesday, while Leonard carded an even-par 72 to tie at 3-under-par 141. Beem posted a final-round, 1-over 73 to finish the 36-hole event at 1-over-par 145.
'What a phenomenal round Tiger played, and it was a lot of fun watching him,' Beem said. 'It's amazing how when somebody gets on a roll like he got on today, how fun it is to watch somebody, because everything clicks. The golf ball was just going right at the target all day.'
Woods held a three-shot lead at the start of Wednesday's final round and wasted little time in extending his advantage. He collected a pair of birdies in his first two holes then parred three and four.
His play over the next four holes put the tournament out of reach and turned it into an exhibition of the greatness of the top player in the game. Woods birdied the next four holes in a row to shoot a front-nine, 6-under 30.
'I needed to go out there and play a good, solid front nine and I just got on a roll,' said Woods, the PGA Tour's leading money winner in 2002. 'It just kept going.'
Woods kept it going on the back nine. He drained a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 12 and made it two in a row with a three-footer at the par-4 13th. He parred the par-5 14th but once again carded back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th.
He missed a 35-foot birdie try at the par-3 17th but two-putted for birdie from 45 feet at the closing hole to polish off the blow out and post his 61.
With the exception of winning the WGC-Match Play Championship, maybe the only thing missing from Woods' amazing resume is the elusive 59. The No. 1 golfer in the world claimed to have never thought about it Wednesday.
'I never thought about it,' said Woods. 'I just thought about playing it one shot at a time. When you start going low like that, you don't really think of numbers like that. You just get into the rhythm of the round.'
Leonard, who was alone in second after the first round never found that rhythm on Wednesday. His 72 included two birdies and two bogeys and several missed opportunities.
'I love Kauai, don't get me wrong, but I'm glad I'm not playing the golf course again tomorrow,' Leonard said. 'That doesn't mean I don't want to come back, and I hope to next year.'
Leonard took a fourth in his only other appearance in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf back in 1997. That was the same year Woods made his debut and Love was also in the field that year after winning the PGA Championship.
This event normally features the four major winners from 2002 but with Woods capturing The Masters and The U.S. Open and with British Open champion Ernie Els electing not to play, Leonard and Love were added to the field. Leonard is No. 1 on the major champions points list with 253.5 points while Love finished third with 188.5 points. Retief Goosen was second but like his fellow countryman Els, he could not play due to a scheduling conflict.
Love had it going on Wednesday with four birdies through 15 holes but ran into trouble at the par-5 16th. He landed in a lateral hazard and two-putted from 12 feet for bogey.
'I didn't play very well today again,' said Love, who shot an even-par 72 on Tuesday. 'I enjoyed watching Tiger's round. It was one of the better rounds I've seen in a long time.'
Beem started out with two birdies in his first two holes but a 7-iron into the water at the seventh thwarted his chances of making a move.
Woods won $400,000 for the victory while Leonard and Love each pocketed $225,000. Beem left with $150,000 for his fourth-place showing.
Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open
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 Web.com 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
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
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 Web.com 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
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."