Dufner takes 1-shot lead in CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 23, 2016, 12:39 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Jason Dufner patiently worked his way around PGA West's TPC Stadium Course to take the lead Friday in the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Dufner shot a 7-under 65, matching the best round of the first two days on the Pete Dye-designed course that is being used in the tournament for the first time since it was dropped from the rotation after its 1987 debut.

''It's a difficult golf course,'' Dufner said. ''There's a little bit of room to play off the tee, but if you get off the path a little bit, you can get into some trouble. He's got some water out there. He's got some tricky bunkers. You get some uneven lies here and there. ... It's definitely the most difficult of the courses we have played here.''

Jamie Lovemark was a stroke back after a 65 on the adjacent Nicklaus Tournament Course.

Dufner parred the final four holes, escaping trouble on the par-5 16th after his drive strayed to the left. The 2013 PGA Championship winner played the front nine in 6-under 30, bogeyed the 10th after hitting into the greenside water, and added birdies on 12 and 14. He had only 22 putts, one-putting 11 of 12 greens in the middle of the round.

''The greens are of kind of difficult,'' Dufner said. ''They run on some angles and there's some slope.''

Dufner was forced to lay up on all four par-5 holes and took advantage of many short approach shots.


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''Any time I'm inside of 130 yards I feel pretty good,'' Dufner said. ''I had some really good numbers with my wedges, which helps. I wasn't in between on too many of them. I could go ahead and hit a full sand wedge or a full gap wedge a couple times.''

Dufner's drive on 16 perched on a ledge of dormant grass above one of the deep bunkers that line the left side. The ball at knee level, he slashed it 100 yards down the fairway before slipping to his hands and knees on the steep bank.

''I was a little disappointed with that,'' Dufner said. ''I thought I would have a good go at that green in two and maybe get another birdie or possibly even an eagle and walked away with a five, but no damage done.''

Dufner had a 15-under 129 total. Coming off a ninth-place tie last week in Honolulu in the Sony Open, he opened with a 64 on Thursday on the Nicklaus Course. He will play La Quinta on Saturday, and return to the Stadium Course for the final round Sunday.

Lovemark holed out from 105 yards for eagle on the par-4 first, his 10th hole of the day.

''Got a little tired coming down the stretch,'' Lovemark said. ''There's some long rounds out here.''

Bill Haas, the winner in 2014 and 2015, was three strokes back along with Jason Gore, Anirban Lahiri, Andrew Loupe and Adam Hadwin. Haas shot 66, Gore 64, and Lahiri 68, all at the Nicklaus Course. Loupe had a 66 on the Stadium Course, and Hadwin a 66 at La Quinta.

Phil Mickelson was 11 under in his first start since the Presidents Cup in October and first since splitting with swing coach Butch Harmon to work with Andrew Getson. The 45-year-old Mickelson had a 65 on the Nicklaus Course.

''I'm probably a week away, if I'm being honest,'' Mickelson said. ''But I've also won with a lot less game than I have right now. I still expect to get in contention and have a good weekend, but a lot of iron shots are 12, 15 feet off.''

The 2002 and 2004 champion is winless since the 2013 British Open.

DIVOTS: The Stadium Course had a stroke average of 70.218 for a two-day mark of 71.029. The Nicklaus Course has averaged 69.145 overall, and La Quinta 69.328. ... Chesson Hadley made a double-bogey 5 on the island-green 17th on the Stadium Course after trying to hit out of the rocks and going into water, then holed out from 142 yards for eagle on 18. He shot 73 and was tied for 113th at 2 under. ... Nick Taylor had a hole-in-one on the 205-yard sixth on the Stadium Course. He was tied for 70th at 5 under after a 69. ... Patrick Reed, the 2014 winner, was tied for 54th at 6 under after a 69 on the Nicklaus Course.

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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.


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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.


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“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.”