Langer leads by eight at Senior Players Championship

By Associated PressJune 13, 2015, 11:17 pm

BELMONT, Mass. - Bernhard Langer has an eight-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Senior Players Championship, and that doesn't leave much hope for the golfers chasing him.

The defending champion shot a 4-under 67 in the third round on Saturday and is 16 under in the third senior tour major of the year. Langer has never shot worse than 70 in the final round of the Senior Players.

At the Senior British Open last year, he led by eight strokes after 54 holes and won by 13 - the largest margin of victory in Champions Tour history.

''My goal is to shoot under par. And, if I can do that, it will be very difficult for anyone to catch me,'' said Langer, who is trying to become the first repeat winner at the event since Arnold Palmer in 1984-85. ''I'm eager to put a 'W' behind my name. But I'm not saying I'm there yet.''

Russ Cochran was even for the day and in second place at the 6,812-yard, par-71 Belmont Country Club.

''He's a heck of a player and you expect him to take care of his business,'' said Cochran, who hasn't won on the Champions Tour since 2013. ''I'm hoping to use this as a building block. ... You never know, a victory down the line might start right here.''

Scott Verplank shot a 66 in the third round to move into a four-way tie for third with Colin Montgomerie, Jeff Hart and Guy Boros. Billy Andrade started the day at 1 under and birdied three of the first four holes. He eagled the par-4 eighth hole and finished at 6 under, tied for seventh.

''I knew I needed to shoot a couple of 65s and maybe Bernhard would relax over the weekend,'' said Andrade, who is from Bristol, Rhode Island. ''But he's playing so good I don't know if anyone has a chance.''

After matching 65s in the first two rounds, Langer had a pair of birdies on the front nine and two more on the back in his second straight bogey-free round. He is seeking his 24th victory on the Champions Tour, tying him with Miller Barber for fourth on the career list.

His eight-stroke lead after 54 holes is tied for the largest in the tour's history. He was ahead by eight after three rounds at Royal Porthcawl last year, matching Jack Nicklaus' lead in the 1991 Senior PGA Championship.

''Whenever you have a lead on a very good field it takes some really good play,'' Langer said. ''There are some great champions out there.''

Hale Irwin, who turned 70 on June 3, shot 70 on Saturday. It's the 18th time he has matched or bettered his age on the Champions Tour.

Montgomerie and Boros each threatened Cochran for second place, improving to 8 under before bogeying the 17th hole. When Langer came around to the 501-yard, par-5, he chipped to six feet to set up another birdie.

''We all kind of marvel at his clarity. He stands over it and he performs,'' said Cochran, who will be in the final group with Langer again on Sunday. ''So that's what I take from the day: just how he goes about his business and what a great performer he is.''

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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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.