Hurley takes one-shot lead at Greenbrier

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2014, 11:00 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Billy Hurley III has been waiting for a breakthrough moment on the PGA Tour. On Independence Day, the former U.S. Navy officer might have set himself up for one this weekend in The Greenbrier Classic.

Hurley shot a season-best 7-under 63 on Friday to take the second-round lead.

Hurley's bogey-free round included a chip-in from 29 feet on No. 4 in cool conditions before the wind picked up considerably late in his morning round.

''You know, anytime you play good, it's great, right?'' Hurley said. ''There's special days of the year for our country, and having served ... adds something to it. It's kind of pretty cool, I guess, to shoot 7 under on the Fourth of July.''

It's a nice storyline. Then again, having military experience wasn't on his mind in jumping to the top of the leaderboard.

''I was just trying to keep getting the ball in the hole,'' he said.

Hurley was at 9-under 131 at Old White TPC. Eleven players were within four shots of him.

Kevin Chappell (65) and Chris Stroud (66) were a stroke back. 


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Troy Matteson had a 61 to vault into fourth place at 7 under. He has made the cut in all five years of the Greenbrier Classic.

Brice Garnett (66), Steve Stricker (68) and Chris Kirk (69) were another stroke back at 6 under.

Hurley graduated from Annapolis in 2004 and spent five years in the Navy. He played golf sparingly while stationed in Hawaii and worked out as much as he could.

Being mentally tough on the course comes easy for Hurley, whose missions included steering a Navy destroyer through the Suez Canal.

Playing partner Chris Stroud said it was ''special'' for a former military man to be leading the tournament and was amazed at how Hurley could recapture his golf game.

''There's a lot to be said about that,'' Stroud said.

Hurley rejoined the PGA Tour this season and has three top-10 finishes so far, including a tie for eighth at Congressional last week. His best career finish is a tie for fourth in the AT&T National two years ago, also at Congressional.

A solid ending at The Greenbrier resort would get him into the British Open later this month. The four best finishers not previously eligible among the top 12 on the final leaderboard will earn spots in the July 17-20 tournament at Royal Liverpool.

Playing alongside good friend Hurley, Stroud birdied four of his first five holes but gained no more ground.

Chappell's round included holing a 35-yard pitch on the par-3 15th after a poor tee shot.

Chappell's only top-10 finish of the season came at Colonial. But this week, he's at ease amid the mountains, Howard's Creek running through the Old White TPC and the rest of the resort's atmosphere.

''You know, the course has a great flow to it, just at peace out there,'' he said. ''All the running water and all the good scenery just puts me in a good spot.''

Matteson holed a 35-yard pitch on the par-3 15th and needed just 19 putts - one shy of the PGA Tour record held by eight players.

''It was unlike any day I've had this year,'' said Matteson, who had missed the cut in 11 of his previous 13 tournaments. ''I just haven't been getting it in the hole all year, and to have a day like this really kind of turns things around.''

Bubba Watson was among five players at 5 under. He shot 67.

First-round leader Jonas Blixt had three early bogeys and shot 73 to drop into a tie for 25th at 3 under.

FedEx Cup points leader Jimmy Walker (75) was among those who missed the cut. He finished 5 over.

Ninety players advanced to weekend play at even par or better. Patrick Rodgers shot 75, but at even par for the tournament he made his third straight cut since turning pro.

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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.


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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.


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“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.”