Berger takes three-shot Travelers lead after 62 in Rd. 3

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2016, 7:00 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. - Daniel Berger, last season's rookie of the year on the PGA Tour, missed three cuts in January and February and began hearing the whispers.

''Everyone was starting to say sophomore slump and that kind of got me upset a little bit,'' he said. ''Not upset, but kind of like, 'Come on, let's get going here.'''

Berger earned his first PGA Tour win two months ago in Memphis, and will be going for a second on Sunday. He shot an 8-under par 62 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship.

The 23-year-old Floridian made nine birdies, including seven on his final 10 holes, to finish at 15-under 195 after 54 holes.

Berger, who is still recovering from a left shoulder injury that cause him to miss several tournaments including The Open, had just one bogey and was two strokes off the course record, following up rounds of 66 and 67 that had him tied for the lead coming into the day.

''I've shot better than 62, but I guess it doesn't matter unless it's on the PGA Tour,'' he said. ''It was just a great day.''


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Russell Knox shot a 64 and Russell Henley and Tyrone Van Aswegen each shot 65 to tie for second place at 12-under par. Patrick Rodgers shot a 66 and was five strokes off the pace.

Berger is looking for his fifth top-10 finish since April, a string highlighted by his win at the St. Jude Classic.

Berger said he first tweaked his left shoulder in Memphis, then strained it at the U.S. Open. The injury forced him to withdraw after hitting his opening tee shot at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and he didn't return until last week at the PGA Championship.

He said it expects the shoulder to be sore tonight, but it has not been bothering him on the golf course.

''It feels great this week and if I do the right thing then hopefully it's gone forever.''

Berger said besides the win, he's hoping for very personal reasons to secure a spot on the Ryder Cup team this summer. His father, Jay Berger, played tennis for the U.S. Davis Cup team.

''I think it would be pretty cool to have a father and son play Davis Cup and Ryder Cup,'' he said.

The golfers went out early in trios Saturday off the first and 10th tees to avoid thunderstorms predicted for the area.

Knox set the pace, opening his round with three consecutive birdies. He putted the ball just seven times over his first six holes.

He also is looking for his second PGA Tour win, after a victory last November at the World Golf Championships in Shanghai.

''I always tell myself, don't be scared to play well,'' he said. ''You've got to go for it.''

Berger is not the only player coming off an injury.

Brooks Koepka, playing with a brace on his right ankle, shot a 30 on his back nine to finish with a 64 and go 9-under par for the tournament, tied for sixth place with Paul Casey.

Koepka tore a ligament earlier this summer and, like Berger, missed he The Open. He said he decided to play the tournament rather than rest because, like Berger, he wants to get enough points to play in the Ryder Cup.

''The better you play the better you feel,'' he said. ''Today is the best it's felt in a long time.''

Koepka spent the day sparring with playing partner Daniel Summerhays, who also had four birdies on the back nine, before hitting a tree on his drive at the par-4 18th. He ended up saving a bogey with a 44-foot uphill putt and goes into Sunday at 8-under par, tied for eighth place.

''To see that go in, that was definitely a sigh of relief,'' he said. ''A good putt can forgive a lot of weaknesses and sins that you've committed in one hole.''

U.S. Olympians Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed each shot 68 and are 5 under, 10 strokes back. Fellow Olympian Matt Kuchar shot a 71 and is at 3 under.

Watson has insisted his focus this week is on Connecticut, but acknowledged that he wore his opening ceremony outfit on Friday night, texting a photo to teammate Rickie Fowler, who took part in the parade of athletes.

''He texted me back his outfit,'' Watson said. ''I said I was there in spirit, so I had to wear my outfit, too.''

The shot of the day came from Ernie Els, who aced the par-3 16th hole from 176 yards. It was the 13th hole-in-one of his career.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


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There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”