2007 U.S. Am champ Knost leading RBC Heritage by two strokes

By Associated PressApril 13, 2012, 11:15 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Colt Knost believes he's finally ready to succeed on the PGA Tour, no matter how much work he's got ahead at the RBC Heritage.

Knost shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Carl Pettersson after the second round. Knost, tied for the first-round lead with Chad Campbell and Vaughn Taylor after a 67, had three birdies in a four-hole stretch midway through the round and finished at 9-under 133.

Pettersson had a 65, his best showing in 32 career rounds at Harbour Town Golf Links. Two-time RBC Heritage winner Boo Weekley (66) and Harris English (68) were another shot off the lead at 6 under in a week when Masters champion Bubba Watson and most of the world's best took a break following the year's first major.

World No. 1 Luke Donald, though, was among the few stars at Harbour Town. He needs a top-eight finish to retain the top spot over idle No. 2, Rory McIlroy, and bounced back from an opening 75 with a 69 to slide inside the cut line.

Campbell (70) and Robert Garrigus (66) were four shots behind. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker had five consecutive birdies on the way to a 67 and was tied with Michael Bradley (64), Kevin Na (68), Bob Estes (67) and Fredrik Jacobson (67) at 4 under.

The 26-year-old Knost was one of the fastest risers in golf a few years ago, winning the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Public Links championship and helping the American team win the Walker Cup in 2007. He won twice on the Nationwide Tour in 2008, his first season as a pro, and easily qualified for the big tour. Even more winning was ahead, right?

''I felt like I was ready for this level out here,'' Knost said. ''And apparently, I wasn't.''

Knost missed the cut in 13 of 24 Tour events that year and earned just $180,734 to lose his card after 2009. He regained playing privileges after another season on the Nationwide Tour and yet again struggled at the higher level, missing cuts in 15 of 26 events.

Knost held on to his Tour card in gut-wrenching experience at Q-School – he was in tears when he thought a double bogey on the 108th and final hole cost him the PGA Tour – and has since tried to rediscover the work habits and confidence that made him one of the decade's best amateurs.

''I don't know if I just didn't continue with the same work ethic or not or I didn't have the belief, but it was a struggle for a few years out here,'' Knost said. ''But now I feel like I'm starting to get my game back where I like it.''

Knost certainly liked his second-round performance.

Knost's round got going with a stretch of three birdies in four holes to give him the lead at 8 under. He made his final birdie on the par-5 fifth and finished off the bogey-free round that stoked his confidence.

''I felt so comfortable out there being around the lead, even though it's only Friday,'' he said. ''I think I'm also going to feel great this weekend.''

Pettersson won't feel too bad, either. He posted his career-low score in 32 rounds over Harbour Town highlighted by a run of three straight birdies on the second, third and fourth holes.

''My game is good,'' said Pettersson, whose last of four Tour wins came at the 2010 Canadian Open. ''In golf, you still have two days, which is a long way to go.''

Weekley's only two PGA Tour wins came at the RBC Heritage in 2007 and 2008 and turned him into golf's true life ''Happy Gilmore,'' complete with a ''pony ride'' with his driver off the tee during Ryder Cup matches in 2008 to the delight of U.S. fans. Things weren't much fun for Weekley after that as his performance dropped off dramatically. He missed 10 cuts in 2010 and 11 the next season as he struggled to overcome a torn labrum and a cyst in his left shoulder from 2009 that was ''like a big pocket of junk,'' Weekley said.

He's got a new instructor in Scott Hamilton and a new caddie in John Connelly who ''reads the greens good where I struggle a lot,'' Weekley said.

Now, healthy, Weekley wants to show he's the golfer who earned a spot on the Ryder Cup team with his play and not just for clowning around. He posted six birides and one bogey to shoot himself into contention. ''This golf course just suits me,'' he said.

Weekley's never all just about golf. He explained how his stomach gave him some ''reflux'' before the round he thought ''I was going to do a little yodeling out there.''

Weekley kept his gastrointestinal issues mostly to himself on the course as he posted his 14th career round in the 60s out of 22 played here.

Donald came out firing in the second round with birdies on the second, sixth and seventh holes. He needed par saves, though, on Harbour Town's three finishing holes, including a testy 4-footer on No. 18, to reach the weekend.

He said staying No. 1 is a motivator. ''But the goal obviously is to get in contention and win,'' Donald said. ''You can't control the other stuff.''

Not everyone was as fortunate as Donald.

Those missing the cut here included No. 18 in the world and last year's FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas and a pair of three-time major champions in Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington. Els, who missed the Masters last week after 18 straight appearances, shot an 8-over 43 on his final nine holes, including a triple-bogey 7 on the 18th that kept him from playing the weekend.

Divots: Jim Furyk, the 2010 champion, was a stroke off the lead Thursday, but ballooned to a 75 on Friday to fall 10 shots off the pace ... Camilo Villegas and Alex Cejka withdrew because of injury. ... Bradley shot the tournament's low round of 64 in the second round. ... Bob Estes had the second hole-in-one of the tournament, hitting a 6-iron into the cup on the 183-yard fourth hole. Billy Mayfair had an ace on the seventh hole Thursday. It's the fourth time in the past five tournaments there have been two holes-in-one during competition. ... John Daly following his first-round 70 with a 74, good enough to make his sixth straight cut at Harbour Town. ... The Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft did a low flyover of Harbour Town's 18th hole. Boeing is the tournament's presenting sponsor.

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Actor/Comedian Kevin Nealon Joins "Feherty," Monday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

Actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live) will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

Filmed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last month, the episode will focus on numerous topics, including:

  • Nealon discussing his start in comedy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bartender and filled in for comics who failed to show up for their act.
  • Reminiscing about his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.
  • Reflecting on his nine-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
  • Recounting the time when his golf ball struck Adam Sandler during a round they were playing with filming Happy Gilmore.
  • Recalling time spent with Arnold Palmer during the filming of a commercial a few years ago.

The following Monday (Aug. 27), Feherty will be joined by 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr at 9 p.m. ET, and then on Monday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m. ET), major champion Jimmy Walker will join as a guest for the series’ season finale.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver, Golf Films as well as the network’s instruction platforms.

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Thomas talks Tiger, plays 'Facebreakers' on 'Tonight Show'

By Grill Room TeamAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

Justin Thomas didn't successfully defend his title at last week's PGA Championship, but he did get a guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

Thomas appeared on the talk show Wednesday night and, of course, a primary topic was Tiger Woods' run at the Wanamaker Trophy.



Thomas also played a game of "Facebreakers" with host Fallon, in which both men tried to break panes of glass emblazoned with the other's face with golf shots. Thomas nearly took out the real Fallon on his first shot, and after several uncessful attempts by both men, massive cheating ensued.

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Bhatia loses U.S. Am match after caddie-cart incident

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 2:21 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – One of the hottest players in amateur golf had his U.S. Amateur run end Wednesday under unusual circumstances.

Akshay Bhatia, the 16-year-old left-hander who has been dominating the junior golf circuit over the past year, squandered a late lead in his eventual 19-hole loss to Bradford Tilley in the Round of 64.

Bhatia was all square against Tilley as they played Pebble Beach’s par-5 14th hole. After knocking his second shot onto the green, Bhatia and his caddie, Chris Darnell, stopped to use the restroom. Bhatia walked up to the green afterward, but Darnell asked what he thought was a USGA official for a ride up to the green.

“The gentleman was wearing a USGA pullover,” Darnell explained afterward. “I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes. So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”

Conditions of the competition prohibit players and caddies from riding on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized.

It turns out that the cart that Darnell rode on was not driven by a USGA official. Rather, it was just a volunteer wearing USGA apparel. A rules official who was in the area spotted the infraction and assessed Bhatia an adjustment penalty, so instead of winning the hole with a birdie-4 to move 1 up, the match remained all square.


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Even more interesting was what Darnell said happened earlier in the match.

“I had already seen the other caddie in our group do it on the ninth hole,” Darnell said. “Same thing – USGA pullover, drove him from the bathroom up to the fairway – so I assumed it was fine. I didn’t point it out at the time because everything seemed kosher. He had the USGA stuff on, and I didn’t think anything of it.”

Bhatia won the 15th hole to go 1 up, but lost the 17th and 19th holes with bogeys to lose the match. He didn’t blame the outcome on the cart incident.  

“What can you do? I’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in this tournament, so I’m not too upset about it,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because I deserved to win that match. That wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I can’t do anything about it.”

Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C., has been a dominant force in the junior ranks, going back-to-back at the Junior PGA (including this dramatic hole-out), capturing the AJGA Polo, taking the Sage Valley Invitational and reaching the finals of the U.S. Junior.

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1, 2, 3 out: Thornberry, Suh, Morikawa lose at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The top three players in the world had a tough afternoon Wednesday at Pebble Beach.

Braden Thornberry, Justin Suh and Collin Morikawa – Nos. 1-3, respectively, in the World Amateur Golf Ranking – all lost their Round of 64 matches at the U.S. Amateur.

Thornberry lost, 2 and 1, to Jesus Montenegro of Argentina. As the No. 1 amateur in the world, the Ole Miss senior was in line to receive the McCormack Medal, which would exempt him into both summer Opens in 2019, provided he remains amateur. But now he’ll need to wait and see how the rankings shake out.

Suh and Morikawa could have played each other in the Round of 32, but instead they were both heading home early.


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Suh, a junior at USC, never led in his 1-up loss to Harrison Ott, while Cal's Morikawa lost to another Vanderbilt player, John Augenstein, in 19 holes.

Englishman Matthew Jordan is the fourth-ranked player in the world, but he didn’t make the 36-hole stroke-play cut.

The highest-ranked player remaining is Oklahoma State junior Viktor Hovland, who is ranked fifth. With his college coach, Alan Bratton, on the bag, Hovland beat his Cowboys teammate, Hayden Wood, 3 and 2, to reach the Round of 32.