Cook on cruise control at Schwab Cup finale

By Associated PressNovember 1, 2009, 3:50 am

Champions TourSONOMA, Calif. – Things are going so well for John Cook these days that not even an errant tee shot into the bunker on the 18th hole could throw him off stride.

Now it’s just a matter of hanging on.

Cook shrugged off his only mistake of the day to save par on the final hole and finish at 6-under 66 on Saturday, preserving his six-shot lead heading into the final round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championships.

“Just for my psyche and my confidence, that was a good way to end it,” Cook said about his 8-foot putt on 18. “I wanted to make that putt bad. The harder you want things, the more relaxed you have to be (and) I was pretty relaxed over that putt.”

Cook, the Administaff Small Business Classic winner two weeks ago in Texas, had a 19-under 197 total on the Sonoma Golf Club course, the best 54-hole score in a 72-hole tournament since Jack Nicklaus also had a 197 total in the 1990 Senior Players Championship. Cook shot a tournament-record 62 on Friday.

The six-stroke lead is the largest after three rounds on the Champions Tour since Jay Haas had a six-stroke lead in the 2005 Schwab Cup Championship. Cook won the Administaff Small Business Classic two weeks ago in Texas.

Russ Cochran (68) was second at 13 under. Tom Watson (71), who began the day four shots behind Cook, and Brad Bryant (69) were 12 under.

Cook will be tough to catch. He was in the sand three times and hit only eight fairways off the tee but avoided trouble most of the day with a short game that has been strong all tournament.

His best save came on the 18th after pushing his tee shot into the bunker on the right side of the fairway. Instead of being able to go for the green with his second shot, Cook was forced to punch out of the trap then hit a wedge within 8 feet.

Cochran, who had six birdies and two bogeys to move into second place, was asked if he was looking forward to playing with Cook in Sunday’s final round.

“Not when he’s that far ahead,” Cochran joked. “He’s playing awfully well.”

Season points leader Loren Roberts had the day’s best round with a 66 to move to 7 under. Roberts struggled the first two rounds but had seven birdies and one bogey to jump up 10 spots to 15th place. Third-place Bernhard Langer (70) was 9 under, 2008 points champ Haas (70) was tied with Roberts at 7 under, while Fred Funk, who went into the weekend 165 points out of the lead, was 2 under following a 74.

The season points winner will receive a $1 million annuity.

“The first couple of days, particularly yesterday, I didn’t hit it well, didn’t putt well,” Roberts said. “I really went to work yesterday afternoon. I was the last guy on the range for a change.”

Unlike a day earlier when Cook needed just 23 putts in his 62, he had to scramble on a few holes. He bogeyed the 427-yard, par-4 12th, came back with birdies on 13, 15 and 16 then salvaged par on the 18th.

Watson couldn’t sustain the momentum he built after making eight birdies Friday. The 60-year-old Hall of Famer bogeyed the first hole and struggled with his touch most of the afternoon.

That enabled Cochran to make his move. One of only three players to break 70 in each of the first three rounds along with Cook and Bryant, Cochran had six birdies including one on the 142-yard, par-3 17th to move into second.

Langer looked as if he might make a stronger run at Roberts, getting to 10 under after a birdie on the 417-yard, par-4 sixth, but had consecutive bogeys on 7 and 8, dropped another stroke on the 18th.

Joey Sindelar withdrew and was taken to a hospital after complaining of dizziness and shortness of breath. According to a Champions Tour spokesman, Sindelar became dizzy after playing the 204-yard, par-3 fourth hole.

Sindelar rested in between holes and tried to play the fifth before withdrawing. Medical personnel attended to Sindelar at the course and the 51-year-old player was taken to the Sonoma Valley Hospital. Physicians later decided to keep Sindelar overnight for further tests.

Sindelar, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour titles, was 7 under for the tournament before withdrawing.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.