Merritt (61) upstages Spieth (62) on Friday at RBC

By Associated PressApril 17, 2015, 11:18 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Little-known Troy Merritt one-upped Masters champion Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Friday.

Merritt shot a 10-under 61 to tie the course record at Harbour Town Golf Links, only a few hours after Spieth wowed the gallery with a bounce-back 62 to match his lowest PGA Tour round.

Merritt tied David Frost's tournament mark set in 1994 and topped the leaderboard at 12-under 130, a stroke off the 36-hole event record shared by Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson.

Merritt, who opened with a 69 on Thursday, saw Spieth's score in the morning and knew the opportunity was there to go low.

''Anytime that you match shot for shot with the Masters champ, with the way he's playing, it's a pretty good feeling,'' said Merritt, whose career best in four seasons on the PGA Tour is a tie for second last year at the St. Jude Classic.

Spieth looked like the headliner Friday, following a 74 on Thursday with the 62 – which tied his career low set at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2013.

The 21-year-old Texan has been on a major roll the past month, winning the Valspar Championship and finishing second in San Antonio and Houston before capturing his first major title at Augusta National last week.

Spieth birdied his final two holes, electrifying the crowds with the lowest tournament round at Harbour Town in 10 years – until Merritt did him one better.


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Merritt had nine birdies over his final 10 holes, surging to the top of the leaderboard and leaving Spieth six shots behind on a day of low, low scoring. Merritt ended his round with four straight birdies, including a 5-footer on the signature lighthouse hole, No. 18, to tie the course record.

Merritt sits four shots ahead of Matt Kuchar and John Merrick. Kuchar had a 66, and Merrick shot 65.

Past RBC Heritage winners and U.S. Open champions Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk are 7 under, along with Kevin Kisner. Furyk had a 64, Kisner shot 67, and McDowell 69.

Spieth is tied for seventh in a pack that included former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, who shot a 67.

Harbour Town has rarely shown such little bite as low scores were everywhere. Brandt Snedeker, Bryce Molder and Russell Knox had 64s like Furyk. Kevin Streelman, Blake Adams, Brian Harman and John Peterson joined Merrick with 65s.

In all, 62 players, including 11 who didn't make the cut, shot sub-70 rounds. The second-round scoring average of 69.641 was the second lowest in tournament history, only surpassed by the 2000 third round (69.162).

Spieth had the lowest round since Peter Lonard opened the 2005 event with a 62 on the way to capturing the title. It was a distinction that lasted just a few hours. Still, Spieth showed the energy and skill missing in Thursday's struggles.

''That's just better golf,'' Spieth said. ''I told you guys yesterday, no excuses, I just played poorly.''

Spieth said he corrected his ball position and cured the slice that kept him off target Thursday.

''I went back to posture, ball position, hand position and tempo,'' he explained. ''And I struck that ball quite a bit better.''

Most had figured a highly-fatigued Spieth wouldn’t last long at the RBC Heritage. Along with a grueling week of grinding for a green jacket, Spieth spent two frenetic days in New York on an interview and appearance tour.

He arrived Tuesday night and took the course yesterday without playing a hole of practice. But Spieth said he was motivated to improve on his poor first-round showing.

''I don't want to go home early,'' he said.

He won't have to. But he's still chasing plenty of skilled players in his attempt to become just the second player to follow a Masters victory with one at the RBC Heritage. Bernhard Langer accomplished that double in 1985.

Divots: Tom Watson birdied the 18th hole for a 70 to make the cut. Watson made the cut at the age of 65 years, 7 months, 13 days. Sam Snead is the oldest player to make a PGA Tour cut at 67 years, 2 months, 21 days. ... There were 76 players who made the cut at even-par 142. That equals the lowest cut ever at the tournament. It has been done eight times previous, the last in 2011.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”