Karlsson stays out front at FedEx St. Jude Classic

By Associated PressJune 11, 2011, 10:19 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Robert Karlsson shot a 2-under 68 Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard through three rounds at the St. Jude Classic.

Karlsson looked ready to run away from the field, leading by as much as five strokes on the back nine. But the Swede closed with his only bogeys of the day on the final two holes, dropping to 11 under and one stroke ahead of Harrison Frazar.

Frazar said he thought Karlsson was in total control of the tournament so he focused only on playing. He got hot and birdied three of his final four holes to finish with a 64 that got him to 10 under. That included rolling in a 42-footer for birdie on No. 18.

John Merrick (67) is third, followed by Retief Goosen, who turned in the best 18-hole score this week at TPC Southwind before being matched by Frazar. Fredrik Jacobson (68) and Keegan Bradley (70) are tied for fifth.

The 41-year-old Karlsson is in his first full year on the PGA Tour after earning an exemption by finishing in the top 125 on the money list with 11 events in 2010. That included a second-place finish here a year ago, when he lost a four-hole playoff to Lee Westwood in his best showing yet on the tour.

He is trying to become the seventh first-time winner on tour this year and the first player to win his first title in Memphis since Dicky Pride in 1994.

But Karlsson is no stranger to closing out tournaments. He has won 11 times on the European Tour and has yet shoot over par on this course in seven rounds.

“Robert looks like he’s not going to fall back,” Goosen said. “Playing really solid. Need to get another round like this in tomorrow to get a chance to catch him.”

Of course, Goosen made his remarks before Karlsson’s final two holes.

Karlsson was leading by four until he bogeyed No. 17 after sticking his approach into a greenside bunker. He blasted out to 14 feet and just missed the par putt. Frazar finished up on 18 with his big birdie putt, and Karlsson’s second shot on the final hole landed well right of the green.

With water on the other side, Karlsson’s chip bounced once and stopped in the longer grass short of the green. Trying to save par, he came up 2 feet short and settled for a bogey that trimmed his lead to a mere stroke.

The TPC Southwind has been playing fairly tough for everyone but Karlsson, with the Champion Bermuda greens baked enough from temperatures in the mid-90s to make them almost crusty.

The 6-foot-5 Karlsson posted pars on his first two holes and put distance between himself and playing partners Colt Knost and Bradley almost immediately.

Merrick gave chase with three straight birdies, his third moving him to 8 under and just a stroke behind Karlsson. That was the closest anyone else got until the end of the round.

Karlsson got his first birdie with a 3-footer on the par-5 No. 3 and birdied No. 4 to push his lead back to three at 11 under. He rolled in a 35-footer for birdie on the par-4 No. 6 for a four-stroke lead that was the biggest this week until Merrick bogeyed No. 7 to make it five.

With the lead, Karlsson just methodically worked his way around the course. He two-putted from 41 feet on No. 10, knocking down a 6-footer for par. He two-putted from 36 feet on the par-3 No. 14.

Karlsson managed to birdie even when he missed a couple fairways. He needed a drop after a ruling from an official when his tee shot on No. 15 landed near a drain right of the fairway 111 yards from the pin. Karlsson stuck his shot within 7 feet and rolled in the putt to reach 13 under.

Frazar had seven birdies with a lone bogey. He was rolling at the end of his day, sinking a 13-foot birdie on No. 15, a 6-footer on No. 16 and his long one on 18. He is seeking his first tour win as well.

DIVOTS: If Karlsson wins, he would become the first player since Ryuji Imada at the AT&T Classic to lose in a playoff, then win the same event the next year, which he did in 2007 and 2008. Phil Mickelson also finished second in a playoff at the Northern Trust Open in 2007 and won that event in 2008. … After 83 players made the 36-hole cut, the field was cut again Saturday to the low 70 and ties, leaving 11 out of Sunday’s final round.

 

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.