Loupe leads as Deere Round 1 suspended

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2016, 5:12 am

SILVIS, Ill. - Zach Johnson made himself right at home in the John Deere Classic - again.

From just up the road in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the two-time major champion shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday, leaving him two strokes behind leader Andrew Loupe in the suspended first round.

''I don't know what it is, but I love the golf course,'' said Johnson, the 2012 winner at TPC Deere Run. ''I love the putting surfaces. I do know the moment I feel like I can take this place down is the moment it can bite me, so I've still got to stay focused and keep the pedal down.''

Loupe topped the leaderboard at 8 under when play was suspended because of darkness. The tournament was delayed for 3 1/2 hours by a storm that dropped just over an inch of rain. The round resumed at 3:08 p.m., with none of the afternoon starters able to finish.

Loupe will resume play Friday with a 6-foot par putt on the par-4 15th hole. The 27-year-old former LSU player had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine and added birdies on 11, 13 and 14.

Patrick Rodgers and Ryan Moore were in at 65 with Johnson, and Tom Gillis also was 6 under with two holes left.

Johnson had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the bogey-free round that he started on the 10th tee. The 12-time PGA Tour winner capped the run on the par-5 second and also birdied the par-4 sixth.


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''As far as the start and stop, we're used to that,'' Johnson said. ''That's not any secret. It happens all the time. There's days where there's a 30-minute delay, there's days where, shoot, it takes 30-some odd hours to play 18 holes. I'm used to it. Relaxed a little bit, ate something, worked out a little bit, that kind of thing, just to stay loose, and then went back at it.''

Rodgers birdied the final hole for a back-nine 31.

''Today was a really solid day for me,'' said Rodgers, the former Stanford star from Indiana. ''I felt like I was very consistent tee to green and gave myself a lot of opportunities to make birdies. My only bogey was a three-putt. My only missed green was in the fringe, so I played really solid golf. There wasn't a whole lot of opportunities to make mistakes.''

Moore eagled the par-5 17th in his opening nine, and finished with a 30-foot par save on No. 9.

''I was playing well and you hate to drop a shot on the last hole,'' the four-time tour winner said. ''I didn't play the hole well by any means. I didn't hit any good golf shots. But a good putt can save just about anything, and that's what happened.''

Jordan Spieth chose not to defend his title because he didn't think it would be appropriate in light of his decision to skip the Rio Olympics.

Scott Pinckney and Scott Brown shot 66, and Geoff Ogilvy and Morgan Hoffman also were 5 under. Ogilvy completed 12 holes, and Hoffman 14.

Pinckney made five straight birdies and six in a seven-hole stretch on his final nine.

''Honestly, I played good on both sides, but the putts started to drop, and I put it a little bit closer on the back side,'' Pinckney said. ''So, it wasn't like all of a sudden I'm hitting it good.''

Three-time champion Steve Stricker had a 70. The 49-year-old Stricker, a former University of Illinois player from Wisconsin, won the event in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

''Even after the rain, the inch of rain we got, the conditions were pretty good,'' Stricker said. ''I just didn't play that sharply.''

Wesley Bryan has 2 under with eight holes left. He won his third Web.com Tour title of the season last week in Kansas to earn an immediate PGA Tour promotion.

NCAA champion Aaron Wise was 1 under after seven holes in his PGA Tour debut as a pro. The former Oregon player won a Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada event two weeks ago in Edmonton, Alberta.

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.