Gossett Leads Rainy Western Open

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2002, 4:00 pm
LEMONT, Ill. -- David Gossett made nine birdies in a 7-under-par 65 to jump atop the leaderboard in the suspended opening round of the Western Open at Cog Hill's Dubsdread Course near Chicago. Bob Estes was one shot back after producing a bogey-free 66, while Jonathan Byrd, John Cook, Scott Verplank and 2001 runner-up Davis Love III were tied for third place at 5-under-par.
'It was a great start to my first Western Open,' said Gossett, 23, who reeled in his first PGA Tour title as a rookie at last year's John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. 'All in all, it was a great day's work on Independence Day.'
A total of 50 players will have a bit more work to do to complete the first round, which was delayed for nearly 3 1/2 hours because of heavy rain and lightning. Play restarted when the weather cleared but was later called for the day due to darkness. First-round action is scheduled to resume Friday at 8 AM ET.
Jerry Kelly and 1998 Western Open winner Joe Durant were at 5-under with three holes to play.
England's Luke Donald, who played his college golf at nearby Northwestern University, was one of six players in the clubhouse at 68. Six others were also hovering at 4-under, including Vijay Singh and reigning PGA champion David Toms, who made it through 16 holes Thursday.
Gossett started at Cog Hill's 10th hole and holed a 25-foot putt at the 11th for his first birdie. Though he immediately gave the stroke back after hitting his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the par-3 12th, Gossett soon surged to 3-under with a run of three straight birdies. He sank birdie putts of 12, 15 and 20 feet on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes, respectively.
Gossett hit an 8-iron to three feet to set up a birdie at the first, then birdied the third after nearly holing his approach with a wedge. He managed to reach the par-5 fifth hole in two with a 6-iron but missed his 10-footer for eagle. After tapping in for a birdie that took him to 6-under, Gossett picked up another shot with a 4-iron to six feet at the par-3 sixth.
The University of Texas product suffered his second bogey at the seventh, where he drove into a fairway bunker before three-putting from about 45 feet.
But Gossett made it a sweep of the four par-5s with a birdie at the ninth. He decided to lay up, then wedged his third shot to four feet and sank the putt.
'I've probably played this course 10 times,' Gossett explained. 'My uncle lives in Westmont, and I came up here and played the U.S. Amateur in '97, missed the cut.'
He also missed a few cuts this season, six in the span of nine events from mid-February to early May, to be exact. He mixed in a few poor finishes when he did make it to the weekend, but in his most recent start at last month's Buick Classic, Gossett tied for second for the third top-10 finish of his young career.
'The first half of the season I didn't have any great tournaments, but I learned so much,' he said. 'I'm really pleased with the way I'm playing right now.'
Estes, who earned his fourth win on the PGA Tour at last month's Kemper Open, tallied three birdies on each nine on Thursday. He rolled in an eight-footer on his final hole, the ninth, just as play was being stopped.
'It's nice to finish up the round and keep it like it normally is,' he said.
Love was 1-over par after bogeying his fifth hole, the 14th, but quickly picked up two strokes with an eagle on the 15th. He added a birdie after making the turn, then made three more over his last four holes in the failing light.
'There was some holes I could have birdied that I didn't, but I stayed patient and got a couple birdies coming in,' said Love. 'Seemed like when we started playing faster trying to get it in, we all played a little better.'
Robert Allenby, who beat two-time Western Open champion Nick Price in a playoff in 2000, carded a 3-under 69. Price shot a 1-over 73.
Defending champion Scott Hoch finished at even-par 72.
Full-field scores from the Advil Western Open
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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  

Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open

Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)

Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.