Durant birdies last hole, leads Sr. PGA by 1

By Associated PressMay 23, 2014, 12:40 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Joe Durant knows his future is on the Champions Tour. That doesn't stop him from wanting to play on the PGA Tour.

''I guess there's that part of your ego that still thinks you can play on the regular tour and you still want to prove you can do that,'' Durant said after birdieing his final hole Thursday for a 6-under 65 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Senior PGA Championship.

Making his third Champions Tour start after turning 50 on April 7, the four-time PGA Tour winner had seven birdies and a bogey at Harbor Shores.

Dan Forsman, fighting an arthritic left hip, opened with a 66, and Brad Faxon had a 67. Mark Brooks and P.H. Horgan III shot 68, and two-time Senior PGA winner Jay Haas and Colin Montgomerie were in the group at 69.

Kenny Perry, the winner last week in the Regions Tradition in Alabama, topped the group at 70 with Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, John Cook and Tom Watson.

Durant, coming off a ninth-place tie Sunday at Shoal Creek in the first major of the year, missed only one fairway and birdied all the par 5s. He also birdied the par-4 seventh hole that plays up a sand dune and usually into the wind off Lake Michigan. ''I just had a nice rhythm,'' said Durant who has played on the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour and the Champions Tour this season and plans to play the PGA Tour and Champions the rest of the year. ''I didn't try to do anything fancy. I just went from point A to point B and hit a lot of good shots. It worked out to be a nice round.''

Durant has struggled with his PGA Tour status position to get into events.

''I know my future is more out here than out there, but I would just like to play out there a little bit,'' he said. ''It doesn't get any easier out there, that's for sure.''

Forsman, a three-time winner on the Champions Tour after winning five times on the PGA Tour, had four birdies and a bogey - on the seventh - in his final nine holes.

''It's elusive,'' Forsman said of good play this year. ''It's a challenging game by any measure. Certainly the older you get, the aches and pains come along.''

Faxon made two 35-foot birdie putts early in his round. He has only one top-40 finish in eight tournaments this year and missed the cuts in his two previous Senior PGA appearances.

''There was really nothing to predict this round,'' Faxon said. ''But I'm excited about playing. My wife (Dory) came in yesterday and we were talking about just playing golf and not worrying too much about stuff. And it happened.''

Perry is trying to win his fourth consecutive Champions Tour major. He won the Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open in consecutive tour starts last year, then skipped the Senior British Open. He said he is making adjustments to the greens at Harbor Shores.

''The last two weeks the greens have been pretty fast, and this week the greens are not nearly has fast on the roll out, so you've got to hit them a little bit,'' he said. ''Any time you can shoot under par in a major you've done a good job. I was very pleased with my round even though I bogeyed the last hole with an 8-iron in my hand.''

Lee Rinker, who played the PGA Tour fulltime from 1984 to 1999, was the top club pro with a 69. He's the director of golf at Emerald Dunes Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Roger Chapman, the 2012 winner at Harbor Shores, opened with a 71.

Japan's Kohki Idoki, the winner last year at Bellerive in St. Louis, had a 76.

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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.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


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.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“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.”