Els and Ogilvy Go Down Together

By Associated PressApril 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Ernie Els and Geoff Ogilvy show was considered a must-see, two of the trendy picks to win if Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson faltered at the Masters.
 
It took all of two holes for that trend to run its course.
 
With one bad shot after another Thursday, Els and Ogilvy watched their scores climb and their chances tumble. Els, a three-time major winner, shot a 6-over-par 78 that matched his third-worst score in 14 years at Augusta National. Ogilvy, the reigning U.S. Open champ, came in at 3-over 75.
 
Ernie Els
Ernie Els was one of many top players who struggled in the opening round of The Masters. (WireImage)
'It was a difficult day, a very tough day,' Els said. 'I played some better stuff on the back nine and we'll try to work ourselves back into it. I don't quite know how, but we're going to give it a try.'
 
Any other tournament, and they may as well start packing. But this is the notoriously fickle Masters, and swirling winds mean almost nobody is out of it quite yet.
 
Justin Rose and Brett Wetterich were the leaders at 3-under 69. But there was a slew of people bunched up at 75, 76 and 77. Even Mickelson struggled, shooting a 4-over 76.
 
'You aren't going to get a lot of rounds in the 60s in this wind,' said Tom Watson, a two-time winner here who shot 3-over 75.
 
Tricky conditions and slick greens wouldn't seem to be a problem for Els or Ogilvy. Both are U.S. Open winners, the ultimate test in precision and putting. And Els has a claret jug from the British Open, where wind is as much a staple as grass and tea.
 
Not on this day, however.
 
Els was in trouble from the start, opening with a double-bogey on the par-4 No. 1 and three-putting from 30 feet for a bogey on the second hole. On the 240-yard No. 4, his tee shot went so far left he was almost up against the grandstand. He chipped on, but it rolled about 15 feet long and he missed the comeback by inches for yet another bogey.
 
He closed the front nine with back-to-back bogeys and didn't make his first -- and only -- birdie until the par-5 No. 13.
 
'It was terrible on the front nine,' Els said. 'It was a little windy and a little cold as well, and I wasn't comfortable on the greens, either.'
 
On the par-5 15th, he hit a little bump-and-run from behind the green on his third shot, but it picked up speed on the slick surface and trickled off on the other side. It looked as if he might salvage a birdie with a nice recovery pitch, only to see the ball skirt the cup and go a foot past.
 
He missed from inside six feet on the next hole, giving him another bogey.
 
'When it was blowing, some of the greens are really firm. Therefore, it is very difficult to keep the ball on the greens,' Els said. 'Some of the pins were difficult as well.
 
'If you mishit a shot today,' he added, 'you really paid the penalty.'
 
Ogilvy learned that quickly.
 
He was within 50 yards of the green on the par-5 No. 2 after his second shot. But he landed his third in a sand trap, then flew the green, chipped to within 5 feet and three-putted.
 
Throwing up a snowman that early in the round is going to do some damage, and it didn't get much better after that.
 
Ogilvy pushed his drive on the par-4 No. 5 so far right it landed on pine straw in a grove of trees. He hit a low screamer that reached the green, but it was at the very bottom, leaving him about 30 feet to the cup.
 
He got close, only to see the ball break just below the hole and roll 3 feet past. The second putt curled around the hole but refused to drop in, forcing him to take a bogey.
 
The par-5 15th might just have summed up his entire day.
 
Just as Els' did, Ogilvy's second shot hit the green and rolled off the back. But after watching Els, the Aussie hit a perfect chip that trickled straight to the hole. The crowd began cheering, and playing partner Fred Couples held up his putter, certain it was good.
 
But it skirted the edge and rolled 3 feet by. It was still a birdie, but an eagle might have turned the entire day around.
 
Normally easygoing and sociable, the Aussie didn't stop to talk after his round.
 
Conditions aren't supposed to be much different Friday, which could make for another long day.
 
Els has only missed the cut once in his 13 previous trips to Augusta, and he's battled back before. After opening with a 79 in 2003, he rebounded with a 66 in the second round and finished in a tie for sixth.
 
'I have no other choice, do I?' Els said when asked if he could rally. 'I have to try and get something going and, hopefully by Sunday, be back to level par. ... It's back to the drawing board, basically.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

    Getty Images

    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

    Getty Images

    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.