Kuchar holds Colonial lead after long Saturday

By Associated PressMay 25, 2013, 11:35 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Matt Kuchar finished a long Saturday at Colonial exhausted and still a stroke in front.

''This morning feels like a day ago,'' Kuchar said. ''It's hard to believe it's the same day.''

After making a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th hole, the same place where his day began at 7:13 a.m. to finish the suspended second round, Kuchar had two nifty par-savers to finish a 1-under 69 in the third round. He was at 11-under 199, one ahead of Graham DeLaet, Boo Weekley, Chris Stroud and Matt Every.

When the second round was suspended Friday night because of an approaching storm, Kuchar had just hit his tee shot at the par-3 16th. He resumed there early Saturday with a two-putt from about 40 feet. That was part of three quick pars to keep his one-stroke lead after two rounds, then he played in the final group that finished just after 5 p.m.


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Kuchar made his go-ahead stroke in the third round at No. 16 – after falling behind by as many as two strokes – before his approach shot at the 379-yard 17th landed in a greenside bunker. He blasted to 13 feet and saved par before hooking his tee shot at No. 18 into the left rough. He found more tall grass near the green with his second shot before pitching inside 3 feet.

''To not give away a stroke and maintain a one-shot lead is a good position to be in. Everybody has got to come get me,'' Kuchar said. ''Not only a bunch of players, but a bunch of good players up there. ... I'm looking forward to having the lead and seeing if I can maintain it, and my goal will be to grow the lead.''

Weekly, even with problems maintaining focus in his left eye, and Every shot third-round 66s. Stroud had a 67 and DeLaet, playing with Kuchar, had three back-nine bogeys before a birdie at No. 18 for a 69.

Ranked No. 13 in the world – the highest in the field – Kuchar started the third round with a birdie at the easy par-5 first hole. At the 458-yard third hole, his 8-foot birdie attempt rolled over the cup without falling, ending his streak of 34 consecutive made putts under 10 feet this week at Hogan's Alley.

Kuchar missed another short one, a 5-foot par putt after blasting out of a greenside bunker at the seventh hole. He then missed the green on at the par-3 eighth and bogeyed again, putting him 9 under and two strokes behind DeLaet, the 31-year-old Canadian looking for his first PGA Tour victory.

''I felt like they were easy up-and-downs,'' Kuchar said. ''I was glad to bounce back.''

DeLaet was at 12 under after he and Kuchar both had birdies at the par-5 11th hole before his bogeys at Nos. 13, 14 and 17.

Kuchar won the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February, and will try Sunday to join Tiger Woods as the only multiple winners on the PGA Tour this season. Kuchar is a five-time winner, but never has won twice in the same season.

There could be a lot of competition in the final round at Colonial, where 12 players are within three strokes of the lead. That dozen includes defending champion Zach Johnson, who also won in 2010, at 202.

Johnson shot 68, his 18th time under par his last 19 rounds at Hogan's Alley. The lone exception being his closing 72 last year that included a two-stroke penalty. Five-time winner Ben Hogan is the only player to win Colonial more than twice.

''Certainly the confidence of playing well here is something I'm going to try to lean on,'' Johnson said.

Weekley, who has won twice but not since 2008, had gotten to 10 under during his second round Friday when he made consecutive birdies after making his turn. But he had a late four-hole stretch with a double bogey and two bogeys. He was back at 10 under Saturday with consecutive birdies at Nos. 11 and 12, and was still there after an up-and-down finish.

''When we got done playing (Friday), I went out to the range and practiced a little bit and focused back on what we are here to do, and that's win and play the best we can,'' Weekley said.

There was a bogey at the 14th when he missed the fairway with his tee shot and the green with his approach, but he made a 6-foot birdie at No. 15. He missed a 5-foot par chance at No. 16, but finished with a birdie after his approach inside 3 feet at the closing hole.

After having problems reading greens in recent tournaments, Weekley this week went to a doctor to have his left eye checked. But he still hasn't found out what the problem is.

''I get like a real bad twitch when I'm trying to focus on something, especially staring down on the ball,'' Weekley said. ''It's happened, I'd say probably 15-20 times so far this week.''

Even with that problem, he's still got a chance to win.

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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 146th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Royal Birkdale, 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.

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Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

“Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

“It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

“It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”

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Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:43 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.

According to Weather.com, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.

Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per Weather.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:

Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).

Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).

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Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.

Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.

Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.

“I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”

Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.

“Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”

Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.

On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.

“These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”

Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.

More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.

Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.

Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.

“He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”

Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.

He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.