Lehman among co-leaders at Principal Charity Classic

By Associated PressMay 31, 2013, 11:30 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa – Champions Tour players are used to seeing low numbers in The Principal Charity Classic. The results from the first round on the tournament's new course suggest that those days could be behind them.

Tom Lehman, Duffy Waldorf, Dan Forsman and Scott Hoch shot 3-under 69 on Friday to share the lead at the Wakonda Club. The Iowa event had been held at Glen Oaks Country Club in neighboring West Des Moines in 11 of the last 12 years.

Hale Irwin, who turns 68 on Monday, topped a group of eight at 70. Defending champion Jay Haas opened with a 71, and tour points leader Bernhard Langer had a 72.

Wakonda, which was built 91 years ago, has more sloping fairways, higher rough and arguably trickier greens than Glen Oaks. Even though players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways effect because of soggy conditions, low scores were hard to find.

The first-round leading score was the highest ever in Iowa - and every player had at least one bogey.

''It's kind of a mystery course, isn't it,'' Waldorf said. ''You get out here on this course and you go, 'Anything under par looks good'.''

The conditions led to a bunched leaderboard, which also featured four players tied for the first spot for the first time in tournament history.

Waldorf played the front nine in even par before a strong stretch put him atop the early leaderboard.

Waldorf birdied four of the next five holes - including successive sand wedge approaches that landed within 5 feet - to get to 3 under. Though Waldorf had to scramble for pars on the three holes, he was thrilled with his opening round.

''If you had given me 69 before the round I would have said 'Oh yeah,''' Waldorf said.

Forsman's day was defined by an adventurous birdie on the par-5 13th hole.

He hit his drive in the rough, followed by a 5-iron that whacked a tree. He punched his next shot over the green, leaving him about 70 feet from the hole. But Forsman chipped it over a ridge, down a slope and into the cup.

''It's a huge bonus,'' Forsman said. ''And yet, when it goes in, I said to my caddie, ''That's why we hit all those pitch shots this week.' It was tongue-in-cheek, but I was trying to plug that into the subconscious, so next time I'm in that position I'll have a similar outcome.''

Lehman had four birdies on the back nine, including one on No. 18, to pull even with Waldorf and Forsman. Hoch also birdied the 311-yard, par-4 18th, which ranked as the course's second-easiest hole, to reach 3 under.

Haas entered play with a chance to become just the third Champions Tour player to win the same event four times. After a rough start, he put himself in position for a move on Saturday.

Haas bogeyed three of his first six holes, and a 6 on the par-5 15th put him 1 over, but he closed with a birdie.

Langer needed birdies on holes No. 17 and 18 to get to 72 after a nasty double-bogey on the previous hole.

David Frost, third in the Schwab Cup standings, picked up six bogeys en route to a 5-over 77.

Unknown Doug Garwood, who had played just three events on the Web.com Tour since 2005, stunned the field by pulling into a tie for the lead after 14 holes. But Garwood bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes and had to settle for a 70.

Des Moines avoided rain Friday, but there's a chance the course could see some light showers on Saturday.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”