Bogey-free Stuard wins first Tour event at Zurich

By Associated PressMay 2, 2016, 5:13 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Brian Stuard beat Jamie Lovemark on the second hole of a playoff Monday to capture his first PGA Tour win at the waterlogged Zurich Classic.

Stuard never bogeyed a hole throughout the tournament on the long (7,425-yard), par-72 TPC Louisiana course, which was drenched with more than 4 1/2 inches of rain during the tournament. Weather delays on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday not only forced a Monday finish but also led officials to shorten the tournament to 54 holes.

''I wasn't playing great. I was just kind of, I don't know ... hanging around,'' Stuard said after his final-round 69. ''I kind of hung in there all week. I just didn't get too ahead of myself and just stayed real patient, and it paid off.''

Lovemark, Stuard and Byeong-Hun An entered the playoff at 15 under par.

An unraveled on the first playoff hole and Lovemark on the second while Stuard remained steady, virtually clinching the win with a 160-yard approach to within 2 1/2 of the pin for an easy birdie putt.

Stuard's best previous PGA Tour finishes were a pair of second places in Mexico, one in 2010 and the other in 2014.

Lovemark came in with only five career top-10 finishes but four of those had come this season for the Californian.

Jason Day, the world's top-ranked player, wound up tied for fifth with Chris Kirk at 13 under.



''I just wish it was 72 holes,'' said Day, who finished before the leaders. ''At least I gave myself an opportunity to be around the leaders.''

The slow, waterlogged course rewarded players most adept at hitting long in the air off the tee and aiming right for the pin on approach shots. On many shots, balls hardly moved upon landing.

Lovemark and Stuard each birdied the par-5 11th by sticking approach shots within 3 feet. Lovemark drained a tougher, 10-foot, 4-inch putt on 13 to take a one-shot lead he maintained until An and Stuard both birdied the 18th.

Players sometimes struggled to gauge abnormally slow greens. It happened to Lovemark when he left a 9 1/2-foot birdie putt for the win just inches short on the 18th green, dropping him into the playoff.

The narrow miss seemed to unsettle Lovemark, who hooked his drive into the rough on an embankment left of the fairway when the first playoff began on the 18th tee. His next shot found more rough on a sharp down-hill lie on the edge of a bunker. But he was able to loft a wedge to 12 feet, helping him force a second playoff hole on the par-5 18th. Lovemark wound up in the rough again, however, then hooked an approach into a muddy area near the grandstand, all but ending his bid to win.

''I feel good,'' Lovemark said after his best finish since his only other second place in 2009. ''Not too disappointed. Just a little bummed, but moving on to next week.''

An did not look like a contender entering Monday, but he rocketed up the leaderboard with birdies on Nos. 11, 13, 14 and 15. His 5-foot birdie putt on 18 landed him in the playoff – marking only his second top-10 and his first top-3. But he botched consecutive approach shots on the first playoff hole, leaving him with a bogey that ended his tournament.

Bobby Wyatt, a 23-year-old making his ninth PGA Tour start on a sponsor invitation, had a highlight-filled final-round split between Sunday and Monday to nearly take his first victory.

He briefly surged into the lead with an eagle and six birdies on his first 13 holes. He made every green in regulation in his final round, but three-putts for bogeys on the par-3 14th and par-4 15th cost him.

''I certainly haven't been in this position a lot, so I think probably some of it is nerves,'' Wyatt said.

A birdie on 16, highlighted by a 138-yard approach shot to within 4 feet of the hole, followed by a 7-foot putt on 18 for his eighth birdie of the round, left him alone in fourth at 14 under.

He still felt like a winner in the big scheme of things. His first top-10 finish qualified him for a 10th Tour start at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte later this week.

''I found out I can play with these guys,'' he said.

Notes: A PGA Tour event hadn't been shortened to three rounds since the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Golf Club. ... The last Monday finish was at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in early February.

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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.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


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.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“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.”