Donald 36-Hole Leader in Dallas

By Associated PressApril 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 EDS Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas -- Luke Donald is finally leading the Byron Nelson Championship after all his under-par rounds in the event.
 
Donald's 4-under 66 Friday was his 10th straight Nelson round in the 60s and put him at 7-under 133 through two rounds, a stroke ahead of defending champion Brett Wetterich (68), Fredrik Jacobson (67) and first-round leader Sean O'Hair (69).
 
It's the first time Donald has led at the end of any round at the Nelson, where 16 of his 20 career rounds over six tournaments have been under par.
 
'Yeah, I suppose it's a course I just enjoy,' Donald said. 'You don't have to overpower it, you don't have to be ultra-long to be successful. It's more about placing it. I have good thoughts and good feelings about this place when I play here, and it shows.'
 
Kent Jones (66) and Scott Verplank (68) were two strokes back, and Vijay Singh (67) was in a group of five players at 4 under.
 
This is the first time the tournament has been played without Byron Nelson, the champion golfer known as 'Lord Byron' and in 1968 the first to have a PGA Tour event named after him. He died Sept. 26 at age 94.
 
During the third round Saturday afternoon, play will stop for a moment of silence in honor of Nelson. There will also be a flyover by a squadron of fighter jets.
 
Donald took over sole possession of the lead with a 43-foot chip from the edge of the green at the 196-yard 17th. That was a hole after he missed his only fairway and had to settle for par at the 554-yard 16th, the easiest at the TPC Four Seasons.
 
Wetterich's bogey-free round came at Cottonwood Valley, the course across the street that hosted its final Nelson rounds Friday. The tournament is returning to a one-course format next year after a multimillion-dollar design at the TPC.
 
This is the first time in three years that Wetterich wasn't tied for the lead after the second round. He had a stretch of 10 straight pars between his only birdies at Nos. 2 and 13.
 
'It was slow, but at the same time, I didn't feel like I was playing that bad,' Wetterich said. 'I'm happy where I'm at.'
 
Donald, who has four top-10 finishes this season, also holed a 25-foot chip for birdie at the 426-yard 12th hole.
 
'With the greens being a little inconsistent, it's easier to not put at all if possible,' Luke said. 'Two chip-ins obviously on the back nine kept my momentum going.'
 
With the tournament being played a month earlier than usual, many of the TPC greens are in poor shape with patches of dead grass after attempts to revive it didn't work.
 
Donald's only bogey came at the 409-yard 14th when he missed the green and couldn't convert a 5-foot par putt.
 
That was about the same time O'Hair's troubles started a group behind, when he missed the green at the 183-yard 13th and pushed a 6-foot par putt past the hole.
 
O'Hair was deep in the trees after his wayward tee shot at 14th and punched back into the fairway before a nice par save. After a pitch shot to 20 feet, his putt looked like it was about to stop rolling, then it took one more turn and dropped into the cup.
 
'I guessed right, and luckily it was just hard enough to go in,' O'Hair said. 'That saved my round.'
 
Still, O'Hair missed the fairway again at No. 15 and had another bogey.
 
O'Hair started his round with an approach shot to 5 feet for birdie, but gave the stroke right back at No. 2 when his tee shot at the 192-yard hole was way left of the hole in the rough. He made the turn at 8-under with a two-stroke lead after chipping in from 26 feet for eagle 3 at the 533-yard seventh and making a 10-foot birdie at No. 9.
 
The ending didn't discourage O'Hair, who has four consecutive top-15 finishes.
 
'I'm tuned in,' said O'Hair, a one-time PGA Tour winner whose breakthrough was a runner-up Nelson finish in 2005. 'My game, the way I feel and everything, I'm liking how I feel.'
 
Seven of the last eight Nelson winners played their first rounds at Cottonwood Valley, like O'Hair did this year.
 
Cottonwood Valley was first used in 1994 on an emergency basis because of severe rains, but the following year became a regular part of the Nelson for the first two rounds.
 
Tiger Woods played his last Nelson round there in 2005, when his record streak of 142 consecutive cuts made ended with a missed putt at No. 18. It is also where Arron Oberholser shot a tournament-record 60 last year, missing a chance for 59 when his 15-foot birdie attempt on the closing hole curled a foot short of the cup.
 
Phil Mickelson (139) and Singh, the only top-10 golfers in the world ranking playing this week, were in the same group at Cottonwood Valley on Friday.
 
No. 4 Mickelson, in his first tournament since the Masters and with Butch Harmon as his instructor, had his only three bogeys on the final seven holes of a round of 70. His only three first-round bogeys at TPC came on the last four holes.
 
'I played OK, but I missed five putts inside six feet,' Mickelson said. 'That's what hurt.'
 
That included the 435-yard closing hole, where Mickelson drove into the right rough, hit his approach into a greenside bunker and then missed a par-saving 4-foot putt.
 
Seventh-ranked Singh had birdies on four of the last seven holes -- the same stretch Mickelson struggled.
 
DIVOTS
The best round Friday was by SMU golfer Colt Knost (64), the first amateur since Justin Leonard in 1993 to make the cut at the Nelson. He was at 138. ... The cut was 1-over 141, with 73 players advancing to the weekend. Among those missing was Nick Watney (143), coming off his first PGA TOUR victory at New Orleans last week.
 
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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.

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    Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

    Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

    The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

    “Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

    Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

    But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

    Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

    “It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

    There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

    It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

    “It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”

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    Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:43 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.

    According to Weather.com, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.

    Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per Weather.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:

    Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).

    Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).

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    Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.

    Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.

    Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.

    “I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”

    Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.

    “Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”

    Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.

    On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.

    “These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”

    Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.

    More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.

    Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.

    Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.

    “He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”

    Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.

    He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.