Bradley leads Byron Nelson after record-setting 60

By Associated PressMay 17, 2013, 1:58 am

IRVING, Texas – Keegan Bradley had no thoughts about a course record, or the possibility of a 59, after consecutive bogeys in the middle of his opening round at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Until his 136-yard wedge shot on his final hole Thursday.

''It was going right at it. (A 59) crossed my mind for a second, and it would be unbelievable if I buried this,'' Bradley said. ''But I had 3 feet to shoot 60. I was actually very nervous, uncomfortable over it and thank God I made it.''

Bradley shot 10-under 60, completed by that short birdie at the 428-yard ninth hole, to break the TPC Four Seasons course record and match the best round ever at the Nelson. He topped his career PGA Tour best by three strokes and equaled Phil Mickelson's opening 60 at Phoenix as the best round on the Tour this season.

After missing the fairways off the tees and making bogeys at No. 18 and then No. 1, the latter starting his back nine when he drove into a bunker and had a par putt lip out of the cup, Bradley was at 3 under. He made a 17-foot birdie putt at the 221-yard second hole, and was 7 under his final eight holes with an eagle-birdie-birdie finish.


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''It was rare to match up a ball-striking day and make everything. ... It happened today,'' Bradley said. ''The hole looked huge. Even the putts I missed almost went in.''

The 60, with 10 birdies and an eagle 3 at the 542-yard seventh, gave Bradley a three-stroke lead over 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

Robert Karlsson, Harris English and Ted Potter Jr. shot 64, and two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, Ryan Palmer and Camilo Villegas were at 65.

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China, shot 70 in his second tournament since making the cut at the Masters. The eighth-grader also made the cut in New Orleans three weeks ago.

Guan was among 97 players at par or better – 76 were under par – on the 7,166-yard course after 1 1/2 inches of rain fell on the course Wednesday night from a storm system that spawned at least 13 tornadoes and killed at least six people in North Texas. There was no significant damage to the course, where players were able to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways.

''Seems like you don't get many of those opportunities, so being out here first was a bit of an advantage,'' said Schwartzel, who hit all 18 greens in regulation. ''So much rain, it softened up. Played long off the tee, but it's a big advantage going into the greens with the second shot. ... You could attack flags.''

Arron Oberholser shot 60 in the second round of the 2006 Nelson on the Cottonwood Valley course across the street that used to be used the first two rounds. Sam Snead shot 60 in the 1957 tournament at Glen Lakes Country Club, which at the time tied the PGA Tour record.

Five players have shot 59 in official PGA Tour events. Al Geiberger had the first in the 1977 Memphis Classic, while Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby had the last three years ago. Ryo Ishikawa had the lowest round on a major tour, shooting a 12-under 58 on the Japan Tour in 2010.

Bradley, the nephew of former LPGA Tour star Pat Bradley, got his first PGA Tour victory when he won a one-hole playoff with Palmer at the Nelson two years ago. Bradley has four consecutive top-10 finishes earlier this season, but missed the cuts in his last two tournaments.

Palmer's opening 65 came two days after attending the funeral of one of his best friends, who was killed in a car accident last week. Palmer found out about Clay Aderholt's accident while at The Players Championship, where with a heavy heart and his friend's initials on his cap he tied for fifth.

''Trying to get back in the swing of things,'' said Palmer, who lives in nearby Colleyville. ''Being at home is nice, my own bed, so that made it easier when I got back (from the funeral) Tuesday night.''

Palmer gave the white cap that he wore Sunday to Aderholt's wife and signed it to his 4-year-old son. He gave a black cap with the initials to his late friend's father.

''We will always remember him and maybe we can honor him even more on Sunday afternoon,'' Palmer said.

Defending Nelson champion Jason Dufner shot a 70 in a group with good friends Bradley and Matt Kuchar (69).

''It was a regular round with Duff and Kuch. It felt like a Saturday morning round with my buddies,'' Bradley said. ''It felt easy.''

There were even pre-round shenanigans when Bradley went into the champions' locker room Thursday morning to find his clubs spread out on the floor and his open umbrella near his empty golf bag, courtesy of Dufner.

''He loves to mess with me,'' said Bradley, who slyly retaliated. ''I'm too scared to do anything too much because I don't know what he will do. He could throw my clubs in the water. ... I did remove something from his locker that he is going to have trouble finding and he's going to need.''

Guan had a bogey at the par-3 second after his tee shot went off the back of the green. He blasted out of a bunker to 3 feet for a birdie at the seventh hole, then got under par with a 13-foot birdie putt at the ninth hole. A three-putt bogey at the 406-yard 14th dropped him back to even.

''I missed a couple of birdie putts in the middle but overall not a bad round,'' Guan said. ''After the Masters and New Orleans, I still feel nervous on the first tee but not too much, and I handle it pretty good in the middle fairway and kept it going.''


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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.


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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.


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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.

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Fiery Augenstein outduels Morikawa at U.S. Amateur

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 12:55 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Around the Vanderbilt golf team John Augenstein’s nickname is “Flash,” and it’s easy to see why.

The swing loaded with speed.

The on-course charisma.

The big shot in the big moment.

The Commodores junior added another highlight to his growing collection Wednesday, when he defeated world No. 3 Collin Morikawa in 19 holes during a Round of 64 match at the U.S. Amateur.

Out of sorts early at Pebble Beach, Augenstein was 2 down to Morikawa after butchering the short seventh and then misplaying a shot around the green on 8.

Standing on the ninth tee, he turned to Vanderbilt assistant coach/caddie Gator Todd: "I need to play the best 10 holes of my life to beat Collin."

And did he?

“I don’t know,” he said later, smirking, “but I did enough.”

Augenstein won the ninth hole after Morikawa dumped his approach shot into the hazard, drained a 30-footer on 10 to square the match and then took his first lead when he rolled in a 10-footer on 14.

One down with three holes to go, Morikawa stuffed his approach into 16 while Augenstein, trying to play a perfect shot, misjudged the wind and left himself in a difficult position, short and right of the green. Augenstein appeared visibly frustrated once he found his ball, buried in the thick ryegrass short of the green. He told Todd that he didn’t think he’d be able to get inside of Morikawa’s shot about 6 feet away, but he dumped his pitch shot onto the front edge, rode the slope and trickled it into the cup for an unlikely birdie.

“Come on!” he yelled, high-fiving Todd and tossing his wedge at his bag.

“It was beautiful,” Todd said. “I’m not sure how he did that, but pretty cool that it went in.”  


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Morikawa answered by making birdie, then won the 17th with a par before both players halved the home hole with birdies.

On the first extra hole, Augenstein hit his approach to 15 feet while Morikawa left it short. Morikawa raced his first putt by 6 feet and then missed the comebacker to lose the match.

It may not have been the best 10-hole stretch of Augenstein’s career, but after that pep talk on 9 tee, he went 4 under to the house.

“He’s a fiery little dude,” Morikawa said of his 5-foot-8-inch opponent. “You don’t want to get him on the wrong side because you never know what’s going to happen. He’s not going to give shots away.”

The first-round match was a rematch of the Western Amateur quarterfinals two weeks ago, where Augenstein also won, that time by a 4-and-2 margin.

“It’s the most fun format and where I can be my true self – emotional and aggressive and beat people,” Augenstein said.

That’s what he did at the 2017 SECs, where he won the deciding points in both the semifinals and the finals. He starred again a few weeks later at the NCAA Championship, last season went 3-0 in SEC match play, and now has earned a reputation among his teammates as a primetime player.

“I’ve hit a lot of big shots and putts in my career,” said Augenstein, ranked 26th in the world after recently winning the Players Amateur. “I get locked in and focused, and there’s not a shot that I don’t think I can pull off. I’m not scared to fail.”

The comeback victory against Morikawa – a three-time winner last season at Cal and one of the best amateurs in the world – didn’t surprise Todd. He’s seen firsthand how explosive Augenstein can be on the course.

“He’s just fiery,” Todd said. “He does things under pressure that you’re not supposed to do. He’s just a special kid.”

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.