Dunlap leads Dick's Sporting Goods; Daly 4 back

By Associated PressJuly 8, 2016, 11:47 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Scott Dunlap glanced at his scorecard and could only smile.

''Well, bogeying the first hole is usually my best way to start a round,'' he joked. ''I did that, so I knew it was going to be a good day.''

Was it ever.

After that bogey on the opening hole at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, Dunlap rallied with four birdies in a five-hole span, then reeled off five straight birdies to start the back nine en route to an 8-under 64 on Friday at En-Joie Golf Club.

Glen Day, Bart Bryant and John Riegger were tied for second at 66 after the first round.

Since finishing second in April at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, Dunlap's best showing was a tie for 17th at the Principal Charity Classic a month ago.

''I guess you never know,'' Dunlap said. ''In current form, today certainly wasn't in the cards. The golf course was kind of there for the taking a little bit.''

Gibby Gilbert III, Kevin Sutherland, Paul Goydos and Joe Durant were in a tie for fifth at 5 under. John Daly, Steve Lowery and Jay Haas were among nine players at 4 under.

Day ranks in the top 10 in driving accuracy on the Champions Tour, a big advantage on the narrow, tree-lined En-Joie layout.

''Obviously, here it helps great, and I did hit the driver good,'' Day said. ''I played well here in the past, in the old days. I'm very comfortable around the golf course. I see the golf course very well, so I'm excited about playing two more days.''

Day's round included six birdies and no bogeys as he hit the ball close to the pin all day. His closing birdie at 18 gave him a one-stroke lead until Dunlap's back-nine burst.

''Eighteen was the longest putt I made, and it was maybe 10 feet, so I hit the ball really good,'' he said. ''I'm very pleased.''

Daly, making his first appearance at En-Joie since the 1995 B.C. Open, started in the final threesome and quickly climbed the leaderboard. He birdied four of the first seven holes, including a long putt at the par-5 5th that lipped the cup before dropping and a 5-footer at the par-3 7th. He then faltered with two bogeys, the first coming at the par-5 8th where a long hitter like Daly normally has an edge.

''I had my moments,'' said Daly, who won the 1992 B.C. Open. ''I didn't really get the par-5s the way I wanted to, but I don't know, I hit it pretty good, made a couple putts, missed a couple.

''But, you know, if you hit the fairways out here and you're putting half decent, you can really score low on it because the course is in great shape.''

At the Principal Charity Classic in June, Riegger was tied for second after an opening-round 67 but faltered to finish 14 shots behind winner Scott McCarron. That he was able to complete Friday's round and be near the top of the leaderboard again was an accomplishment in itself as he continues to suffer with a case of shingles.

''I may feel great tomorrow, I might not be able to play, I don't know,'' he said. ''I wasn't able to even tee it up at the Players Championship this year because of it, so I'll see. Go get worked on and see what happens.''

There won't be as much time as usual. A short but drenching rain shower soaked the course for less than 5 minutes in late afternoon on Friday. Because of the threat of storms on Saturday, the first groups will go off the 1st and 10th tees starting at 7:45 a.m. The leaders will tee off at 9:40 a.m.

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DJ, McIlroy, Spieth listed as PGA betting favorites

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 1:38 pm

Three majors are in the books, but there's still one more trophy up for grabs in two weeks' time.

While next year The Open will signal the end of the 2019 major season amid a revamped calendar, this is the final year that the PGA Championship will be held in August. The tournament returns next month to Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis, which last hosted the PGA when Nick Price won in 1992 and hasn't hosted a PGA Tour event since Camilo Villegas won the 2008 BMW Championship.

Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published PGA betting odds shortly after the final putt dropped at Carnoustie and Francesco Molinari left with the claret jug. Topping the board are a trio of major champions: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, all listed at 12/1.

McIlroy won the PGA in both 2012 and 2014, while Spieth needs only the Wanamaker Trophy to round out the career Grand Slam. Johnson has recorded four top-10s in the PGA, notably a T-5 finish at Whistling Straits in 2010 when a few grains of sand kept him out of a playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.

Fresh off a T-6 finish in Scotland, Tiger Woods headlines the group listed at 16/1, behind only the three co-favorites as he looks to win a 15th career major.

Here's a look at the betting odds for a number of contenders, with the opening round of the PGA just 17 days away:

12/1: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth

16/1: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

18/1: Justin Rose

20/1: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day

30/1: Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Paul Casey

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson

80/1: Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner

100/1: Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Brian Harman, Brandt Snedeker, Charley Hoffman

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Molinari moves to No. 6 in world with Open win

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:31 pm

After breaking through for his first career major title, Francesco Molinari reached some rarified air in the latest installment of the Official World Golf Rankings.

The Italian's two-shot win at Carnoustie moved him up nine spots to No. 6 in the world, not surprisingly a new career high. But it's also a quick ascent for Molinari, who has now won three of his last six worldwide starts and was ranked No. 33 in the world after missing the cut at The Players Championship two months ago.

A share of second place helped Xander Schauffele jump from No. 24 to No. 18 in the updated standings, while the same result meant Kevin Kisner went from No. 33 to No. 25. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy both went up one spot after T-2 finishes to No. 2 and No. 7, respectively - a new career high for Rose.

The drama in the rankings unfolded at No. 50, as Tiger Woods moved up 21 spots to exactly No. 50 following his T-6 finish. While some projections had him moving to 51st, Woods was able to sneak into the top 50 just in time to qualify for a return to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as the top 50 in the rankings both this week and next qualify for Akron.

That includes Zach Johnson, last year's runner-up who was not yet qualified but moved from No. 52 to No. 49 this week. It also includes Kevin Chappell, who went from 61st to 47th with a T-6 finish in Scotland.

Despite missing the cut at Carnoustie, Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for another week followed by Rose, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Molinari is now at No. 6, with McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day rounding out the top 10.

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Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:09 pm

A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.

Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.

Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.

Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Xander Schauffele

12. Matt Kuchar

13. Kevin Kisner

14. Tony Finau

15. Brian Harman

On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.

Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

European Points

1. Francesco Molinari

2. Justin Rose

3. Tyrrell Hatton

4. Tommy Fleetwood

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Thorbjorn Olesen

Russell Knox

Eddie Pepperell

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Alex Noren

3. Rory McIlroy

4. Paul Casey

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Sergio Garcia

Ian Poulter

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.