Flesch Maintains Lead as Play Resumes

By Associated PressJune 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Steve Flesch never had to hit a sand shot, yet he still didn't like the bunkers at the Memorial.
 
Flesch parred the 18th hole Friday morning to complete his rain-delayed first round at Muirfield Village, giving him a 6-under 66 and a one-shot lead over Sean O'Hair. Shortly after the opening round was finished, heavy rains held up play again.
 
Jason Dufner in action during the third round of the Nationwide Tour 2006 LaSalle Bank Open at The Glen Club in Glenview, Illinois on June 10, 2006.Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage.com
Phil Mickelson shot 3-under 69 in the opening round.
But the No. 1 topic of discussion wasn't the lead, but the rakes.
 
In an experiment that did not go over well with players, wooden rakes with 2 inches between the deep tines are leaving high furrows in the bunkers in an attempt to make them play like hazards.
 
It appeared to work.
 
'It's frustrating just to watch other guys try to get out of them,' Flesch said. 'I haven't been in one, but I've just seen so many bad shots from guys who are in them. The guys that I'm playing with, they can't get it inside 30 feet. That's crazy.'
 
If that weren't enough, a steady rain fell Friday morning as the first round concluded and the second round began.
 
Late last week, tournament founder Jack Nicklaus called the PGA Tour office and asked if he could try something new. He wanted to snap off every other tine on the rakes, which then left deeper, wider lines in the bunkers instead of the perfectly smooth and flat surfaces to which the pros are accustomed.
 
Jeff Maggert, who shot a 73, said the decision to leave the furrows in the bunkers was 'Mickey 'Mouse.' Nick Price shot a 69 and then he vented.
 
'I don't like it at all,' he said. 'I don't think there's one player out here who does.'
 
Added Flesch: 'What's happened is guys are stepping back and playing very conservative golf.'
 
Tour officials said they would continue to groom the bunkers exactly as they had in the first round. They plan to reserve judgment on whether to implement the changes in other tournaments.
 
The dispute upstaged several interesting subplots.
 
Flesch, playing what he called the best golf he had played in 18 months, was nearly flawless. After turning in 3 under and posting a bogey on the 10th hole, he birdied four of the next six holes.
 
After splitting the fairway at No. 18, he said he had no problem with having to get up to finish what he had started. He's being followed by a large gallery, loaded with friends and family who made the two-hour trip north.
 
'They're all here,' he said. 'Not just my family, but half of northern Kentucky is here.'
 
O'Hair recovered from a double bogey from the bunker at No. 3, birdieing four of the next six holes. He closed with an 8 iron to within 2 feet for his seventh birdie in his 67.
 
He opened the year by finishing 27th in a 28-man field at the Mercedes, and then missing the cut in his next four starts.
 
'There's been a lot of negative thoughts going on,' he said. 'Over the last month I'm starting to see a little bit of progress. I've been working pretty hard.'
 
Phil Mickelson led the large group at 3 under, despite bogeys on the final two holes. He was joined by Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Nick Price, Brett Wetterich, Sergio Garcia, Stuart Appleby, Jerry Kelly, David Howell, Carl Pettersson, Ted Purdy, Stewart Cink, Tim Clark and Craig Parry.
 
Mickelson came to the Memorial after playing three rounds at Winged Foot, tuning up for the U.S. Open June 15-18.
 
Asked how difficult he considered Muirfield, he said, 'Well, see, I just came from Winged Foot, and that makes this not so bad.'
 
Mickelson has never finished better than a tie for ninth in his seven appearances at the Memorial.
 
Love double-bogeyed the closing hole and then hurried past reporters on his way to the clubhouse.
 
Defending champion Bart Bryant shot a 70 and David Duval shot a 71 -- despite taking five putts for a double-bogey at the par-5 11th.
 
Ernie Els and Vijay Singh each shot a 74. Els hasn't won on tour since the 2004 Memorial. Singh, who won at Muirfield in 1997, is winless in his last 20 starts.
 
Jay Haas, winner of last week's Senior PGA Championship, moved a step closer to tying the tour record for most cuts made. He's one behind Tom Kite's mark of 590 for his career. Former Ohio State player Kevin Hall, the first deaf player on the PGA Tour, struggled to a 79.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

    Getty Images

    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

    Getty Images

    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

    Getty Images

    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”