Defending champion Langer in position for repeat

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Administaff Small Business ClassicTHE WOODLANDS, Texas ' Defending champion Bernhard Langer shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday for a share of the second-round lead in the Administaff Small Business Classic, the Champions Tours final full-field event of the season.
Langer, Lonnie Nielsen (68) and Brad Bryant (68) had 9-under 135 totals on The Woodlands Country Club course. Denis Watson (66) was a stroke back, and first-round leader Andy Bean (72) and Dan Forsman (68) were 7 under.
Langer won last year at Augusta Pines.
This year I havent looked at the leaderboard once, the German star said. Once youve been around as long as me, you know you can lose when you have a big lead the last day. Ive had six holes to go and been up four and lost. And Ive won tournaments when I was seven behind.
Sixteen players were within three shots of the lead.
I guess when its bunched up like this, it forces you to be a little aggressive, Langer said. The greens here are in great shape and I love fast greens. It challenges you. You cant expect to win playing defensively.
Charles Schwab Cup points leader Fred Funk (66) and money leader Jay Haas (72) were 6 under along with Curtis Strange (67), Tom Kite (68), Larry Mize (68), Nick Price (68), Gary Koch (68), Dave Stockton (69), David Eger (70) and Sandy Lyle (71).
In the 2005 event, Bryant had a two-shot lead after the first round here in 2005 and finished fourth that year.
Its always good to be in the lead, Bryant said. As long as youre one of (the leaders), its a lot of fun.
It should be a lot of fun being in the hunt tomorrow. But theyre both good friends. It could be tough emotionally playing with those two because I like both guys so much.
Nielsen had four birdies in his bogey-free round.
I think all of us would rather have the lead by ourselves, Nielsen said. Whatever lead you have is just one more shot in the bank going into the final round. This should be a real shootout.
Bryant had six birdies, but bogeyed Nos. 3 and 6 in an uneven front nine.
I havent putted the ball well yet, Bryant said. Im hoping my putter picks up tomorrow. Ive had a lot of short birdie putts. Its easier to get it close on the front nine than it is on the back nine.
Hal Sutton, playing in his first Champions Tour event, was 3 under after a 70.
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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”