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Fowler, DeChambeau co-lead WMPO through 36

By Associated PressFebruary 3, 2018, 2:30 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Rickie Fowler took a share of the lead into the weekend in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He knows from experience the party is just getting started.

''Just keep the gas pedal down,'' Fowler said.

Fowler has had a lot of success at TPC Scottsdale without winning. He finished a shot behind Hunter Mahan in 2010, lost to Hideki Matsuyama on the fourth extra hole in 2016, and tied for fourth last year.

''From the first couple times I played it, I knew it was just kind of a matter of time before I would win here,'' Fowler said. ''I know I can win here. I put myself in position plenty of times.''

Fowler was tied with Bryson DeChambeau, with each shooting his second straight 5-under 66.

The festive tournament drew an estimated Friday-record crowd of 191,400 fans, bringing the week total to 439,088. The third-round mark of 204,906 set last year is expected to be shattered Saturday, and the week record of 655,434 from a year ago could fall with a day to spare.

DeChambeau birdied the final two holes, hitting a wedge to 8 inches on the par-4 18th late on another 80-degree afternoon.

''I missed a few short putts on the back nine, so definitely didn't play my best,'' DeChambeau said.

He won the John Deere Classic last year. In 2015, the former SMU star became the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same year.

Daniel Berger and former Arizona State player Chez Reavie were a stroke back.

Berger had a bogey-free 65.

''This is the fourth time I've been here, so I've kind of figured it out a little bit,'' Berger said. ''Mostly, it's just about just enjoying yourself.''


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Reavie eagled the 17th in a 65. He's the only player without a bogey after two rounds.

''This is my home tournament, growing up here my whole life and coming to the tournament and carrying the sign board,'' Reavie said. ''So this is like the fifth major for me.''

Fowler birdied four of the first six holes. He bogeyed his old nemesis, the 317-yard 17th, after driving short of the green to the left and chipping across and off the green.

''Funky little chip where we were in a good position to make birdie,'' Fowler said.

Two years ago, he blew a two-stroke lead on 17 in regulation when he drove through the green and into the water, then handed the playoff to Matsuyama when he hit into the water again.

Fowler is wearing a pin on his hat with a picture of Griffin Connell, the area boy he befriended at the event who died last week at age 7. Connell was born with a rare airway disorder.

''I don't think it's a coincidence he's playing so well this week, either,'' said Griffin's father, Jim Connell. ''Griffin, he's not here with us, but we know he's watching from above.''

Scott Stallings (65), Chesson Hadley (68) and Chris Kirk (68) were 8 under, and Phil Mickelson (65) and fellow former Arizona State player Jon Rahm (68) topped the group at 7 under.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is making his record-tying 29th start in the event he won in 1996, 2005 and 2013. He birdied the last three holes - getting the stadium-enclosed No. 16 for the second straight day - and four of the final six.

''There's no question that I play better down the stretch with people here,'' Mickelson said. ''I can feel their energy and it helps me focus.''

Justin Thomas and first-round leader Bill Haas were 6 under.

The fourth-ranked Thomas had his second 68. He was bogey-free after dropping three strokes late Thursday with a double bogey on 16 and a bogey on 17.

''I was pretty upset and mad about that last night because I really let a good chance get away to shoot, I felt like, 7 or 8 under,'' Thomas said. ''But stretches like that are going to happen over the course of four days.''

Haas followed his opening 64 with a 72. He made a double bogey on the par-5 third.

The tournament lost some star power when Jordan Spieth missed the cut and two-time defending champion Matsuyama withdrew because of a left wrist injury.

Spieth shot 72-70, playing alongside Thomas. The third-ranked Spieth last failed to advance to weekend play in May, when he missed consecutive cuts in The Players Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson. Matsuyama's injury ended his bid to match Arnold Palmer's event record of three straight victories.

Robert Garrigus had the shot of the day, a drive on the 17th that hit the flagstick and stopped inches away. He's 2 under after a 69. Andrew Magee aced the hole in 2001, the only hole-in-one on a par 4 in PGA Tour history.

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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.”