Kite, Cook lead First Tee Open at Pebble Beach

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2012, 3:00 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – John Cook closed with a 30-foot eagle putt on the par-5 ninth hole at Del Monte for a 5-under 67 and a share of the lead with 62-year-old Tom Kite on Friday in the First Tee Open.

Kite also opened at Del Monte. He won the 1983 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am and 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the site of his final two rounds in the Champions Tour event.

Cook won the 1981 Crosby for the first of his 11 PGA Tour titles. He had the eagle, five birdies and two bogeys.

''It was nice way to finish the round,'' Cook said. ''I made a lot of birdies and took advantage of my chances. If you have a good round here you know you have a chance. You've got to manage Pebble Beach and keep damage to a minimum.''

He's winless this year after sharing the tour lead last season with three.

''My irons and wedges were on today,'' said Cook, who made four birdie putts from 8 feet or closer. ''I took advantage of the par 5s. The greens are really good.''

Kite birdied his final two holes. He had six birdies and one bogey.

''I played a really nice round today,'' said Kite, who won the last of his 10 Champions Tour victories in the 2008 Boeing Classic. ''I had a nice lesson on the range yesterday with Peter Jacobsen and Olin Browne on my swing. It really helped. I was a little off on my backswing.''

Mark McNulty, Loren Roberts and Tom Pernice Jr. were a stroke back. They also played at Del Monte.

Brad Bryant had the best score of the day at Pebble Beach, shooting a 69. Mark Calcavecchia, Corey Pavin, Gary Hallberg and Peter Senior shot 69 at Del Monte.

Michael Allen, a two-time winner this year, had a 70 at Del Monte.

Defending champion Jeff Sluman had a 71 at Del Monte. He also won the event in 2008 and 2009.

Joe Daley, the Senior Players Championship winner Sunday at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh, shot a 73 at Pebble Beach.

Eighty-one junior players from the First Tee program played alongside the pros.

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.