Home-course advantage Chris Wilson gets in Memorial

By Associated PressJune 2, 2009, 4:00 pm
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DUBLIN, Ohio ' By almost any standard, Chris Wilson doesnt belong in the Memorial Tournament.
 
He hasnt earned his spot because hes never played in a PGA Tour event ' or any other international tour. Even on the starter-level Hooters Tour, he is ranked 97th in earnings with just $4,217 this year.
 
But Wilson is a native of the Columbus bedroom community of Dublin, home to Muirfield Village Golf Club, and thats enough to move him to the head of the line for an unrestricted qualifying exemption into the elite 120-player grid that begins play on Thursday.
 
Every year they like to try to get somebody with local ties, Ohio ties, Ohio State ties, said Wilson, a former Ohio Amateur champion and Big Ten medalist while playing at Northwestern. I had the nice local ties along with a decent golf resume.
 
There are 19 eligibility criteria for a player to get in the field at the Memorial, including top money-winners, winners of the majors and other select tournaments the past five years, up to four of the top players on the European, Asian, Australasian, Southern Africa and Japanese tours, the U.S. college player of the year and winners of the U.S and British Amateur championships.
 
Its a lot of dollar signs and numbers, trophies and tours. Then the exemption committee sits down and puts a face with the figures.
 
Early this year Wilson had written an emotional letter to Memorial Tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus, telling about growing up not far from Muirfield Village, of skipping school to attend the tournament and of what it would mean for him to play in it.
 
The board that runs the Memorial, including Nicklaus (who also grew up in a Columbus suburb), can invite as many as 14 players who dont qualify under any of the other criteria. Wilson received one of those invitations.
 
This year, the invitees vary from Wilson and South Africas James Kamte to accomplished professionals such as Rocco Mediate. Originally from Pittsburgh, hes almost a local, too.
 
I grew up three hours from here, so its kind of like being home, Mediate said Tuesday.
 
Trying to salve the wounds of his so-called locals, he cracked, Sorry about the Cleveland Browns and the Steelers for our entire existence. Sorry. Not my fault.
 
Back in 2003, the Memorial Tournament offered an exemption to a kid from a few miles down the road who was struggling to make a living as a first-year pro. He had learned the game from his grandfather, who had built and owned a public golf course near the town of Ostrander. His parents still mowed the course and ran the snack bar.
 
That player was Ben Curtis. A few weeks after he missed the cut in the Memorial Tournament after rounds of 74 and 76, he shocked the golf world by winning the British Open at Royal St. Georges ' in his first start ever in a major championship.
 
Curtis believes that the pressure of playing in front of family and friends at the Memorial six years ago steeled him for what he faced in coming from behind to win the claret jug.
 
Any time you play in front of your hometown, its a little bit more than usual. Its not just a normal event, he said. I tried not to look at it that way. I just tried to go out there and play. The first hole, I was a little bit nervous; after that I was OK.
 
Over the years the Memorial has offered local exemptions to tour regulars John Cook and Ed Sneed, to a deaf Ohio State player (Kevin Hall) and to up-and-coming pros such as Frank Lickliter II and Joe Ogilvie.
 
The tournament considers an exemption to be a helping hand to a struggling player or an untested one, such as the 24-year-old Wilson.
 
You can call it kind of the ultimate break, Memorial Tournament director Dan Sullivan said. We hope over the years that Chris Wilson gets some momentum off of this, and gets confidence and is able to build on it and is able to become a household name on the PGA Tour. Were happy to give him that opportunity.
 
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    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.

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    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

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    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.”

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    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.”