Big Guns Fire Blanks on Saturday

By Associated PressJune 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Three of the best players in the world.
 
One birdie between them.
 
And one U.S. Open trophy slipping slowly from their grasp.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' back is against the wall as he tries to win the Grand Slam.
On a day when the Open never seemed so wide open, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia set off on a hot afternoon to make the charge for the lead that almost everyone in the huge crowds massed around Pinehurst No. 2 expected.
 
What they got instead was an old-fashioned lesson from an old-fashioned golf course that frustrated them at every turn.
 
'Let's get the hell out of here,' Woods said to playing partner Rocco Mediate after scrambling to save his par on the final hole.
 
Woods had more reason to be happy than Singh or Garcia. At least he could go home after a tough day at the office and say he made a birdie. When it came on the 11th hole, he raised his arms, closed his eyes and looked toward the sky. He then licked his index finger and traced a number in the air as if to say, 'Chalk one up.'
 
The total for Singh and Garcia? Zilch, zero.
 
No birdies, nothing even really close. Just a lot of frustration, and some numbers that likely eliminated them from any hope they had of winning their first Open title.
 
Singh, who began the day just two shots off the lead, shot a 74 and trails Retief Goosen by seven shots going into Sunday's final round. It was the first time since the PGA Championship last August that Singh went an entire round without a birdie - a tournament, by the way, that he won.
 
Garcia was another shot back after his 5-over 75.
 
Compared to them, Woods was sitting pretty. Not only did he make a birdie, but his 72 left the top player in the world six shots back and still somewhat optimistic about adding an Open title to his Masters win.
 
'You shoot a quality round tomorrow and you don't know what's going to happen,' Woods said. 'I've been in this situation before. I've won majors and I know how to handle it.'
 
Well, maybe not quite this situation. All nine of his major championship wins came when he was either tied for the lead or ahead going into the final round.
 
He's never had to make up a six-shot deficit, and to win he'd have to do it against the defending Open champion.
 
'I've done this (win) in this event twice,' Woods said. 'That's huge to be able to say to yourself going down the stretch. It gives you a sense of confidence.'
 
If Woods doesn't start making birdies, all the confidence in the world isn't going to give him his third Open title. He's preached patience all week, shooting at the center of greens, but it hasn't translated into low scores.
 
While Goosen made five birdies in one round Saturday, Woods has made only six all week. The pins are so nasty and the greens so severe, he's been lagging putts out of fear they'll roll off the greens.
 
'I had only two real good looks at birdie,' Woods said. 'Other than that, I'm just lagging most of the putts.'
 
The day started badly for Woods, who couldn't find the first fairway even while using an iron off the tee. His second shot went over the green and he chipped up and missed the putt for an opening bogey.
 
Woods also bogeyed the third hole, missed a short birdie putt on the 13th and hit a tree on the last hole before recovering for par.
 
The most revealing stats for both Woods and the golf course came on the greens. He hit 16 of them, but was often 30 to 40 feet away and needed an almost unheard of 36 putts for the round.
 
'Most of my shots were 20, 30 and 40 feet away because you can't take a run at these flags,' he said. 'You have a wedge in your hand and you're firing 15 feet right or left of the hole. The golf course is so demanding that you just can't afford to miss on that short side. You have to somehow put the ball in the center of the green and hopefully make a 20- to 30-footer.'
 
Pinehurst treated other big names just as badly.
 
The other two members of the so-called Big Five - Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els - had similar problems on the greens. Els was 12 shots back after a 72, while Mickelson's attempt to play his way back into the tournament blew apart with a triple bogey on the easiest hole on the golf course, the par-5 fourth.
 
Like Woods, though, Mickelson wasn't ready to admit defeat even after his 72 left him 11 shots off the lead.
 
'I'm not going to go into tomorrow's round feeling as though I don't have a shot,' Mickelson said. 'I just feel that I can shoot a low score out there, even though I'll have to make 30- and 40-footers to do it. I'm not going to go into the final round defeated.'
 
Related links:
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”