Langer leads by 3 in Senior Players Championship

By Associated PressJune 11, 2016, 10:26 pm

FLOURTOWN, Pa. - Bernhard Langer was all alone under par at windy Philadelphia Cricket Club.

The 58-year-old German star also was in position to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship for the third straight year, shooting a 1-under 69 on Saturday to reach 2-under 208 and take a three-stroke lead over Jay Don Blake into the final round.

''Sometimes par is a wonderful score,'' Langer said. ''It's a real major, it's like playing the U.S. Open or whatever where par is a good score. So don't blame guys when they play for the middle of the green here and there because there's some long holes out there, some tough holes where most of the guys would be extremely happy to be in the middle of the green. That's what you have to do at times.''

After playing the first 11 holes in 2 over with two birdies and four bogeys, Langer birdied the par-4 12th to get back to even par for the tournament. He added birdies on the par-5 15th and par-3 16th and closed with two pars on the A.W. Tillinghast-designed Wissahickon Course.

''It was nice to finish strong because the last couple days I had my issues with the back nine, but today was just kind of the opposite,'' Langer said. ''Had an up-and-down start in the middle of the round, lots of bogeys and a bunch of birdies and just couldn't get it going. Mis-hit a few shots and just then had long putts from 30 yards, 25 yards and three-putted a couple times.''

Difficult in any conditions, the Wissahickon Course has been a beast in the wind.



''That sun and the wind, the greens are getting pretty crusty, pretty fast,'' Langer said. ''If you get yourself in the wrong place, if you're out of position, you're paying the price. You can't even get within 15, 20 feet many times. So, it's very strategic play. And with the kind of wind we had again, fairly strong and off a different direction today, it was a different golf course all together. It's just hard to position the ball where you would like to be underneath the hole when the wind is blowing like this.''

Langer won in 2014 at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh and last year at Belmont in Massachusetts. He won the Regions Tradition last month in Alabama for his sixth senior major and 27th tour victory.

Blake made a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th for a 71.

''Trying to just manage it around, trying to get the driver in play and then kind of go from there,'' Blake said. ''Once you even get on the green, it's hard to even get aggressive. The greens are fast, the wind's blowing all over and you're kind of lagging to make putts. I hit some awful first ones and had to make some good putts coming back. But I feel good about my game. Just need to stay patient and try to execute some good shots.''

Jeff Sluman (70), Woody Austin (71), Wes Short Jr. (72), Bart Bryant (72) and Brandt Jobe (74) were tied for third at 2 over.

Bryant birdied the 18th after dropping four strokes in a late four-hole stretch with a double bogey and two bogeys. He eagled the par-4 11th, holing out with a 6-iron from 187 yards.

''I just pulled it a little bit, hit it a little thin and I just didn't hit a great shot, but it somehow went in the hole,'' Bryant said. ''I'd like to say I just pured it right where I was aiming, but I didn't, I pulled it a little bit. So it rolled out and it just happened to go in.''

Vijay Singh was tied for 31st at 8 over. He followed rounds of 69 and 74 with a 75.

John Daly had a 70 to move into a tie for 59th at 12 over. He opened with two 76s.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.