Miguel Angel Jimenez passes Tom Watson for British Open lead

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' On the eve of the British Open, Tom Watson got a modern-day text message from Jack Nicklaus wife. Then it was time to turn back the clock at Turnberry.
 
Thirty-two years after his epic Duel in the Sun with the Golden Bear, Watson took advantage of pristine conditions on the very same course to shoot a stunning 5-under 65 on Thursday. He held the lead until Spains Miguel Angel Jimenez stole it away late in the day with a 64, only one shot off the record for lowest score in any major championship.
 
Still, it was Watson, the 59-year-old, five-time Open champion, who maintained the lead role ' if only for a day.
 
What a legend, Jimenez said.
 
Watson had been practicing well all week, and got an extra boost a day earlier when Barbara Nicklaus sent a text wishing him good luck.
 
I texted her back and said, You know, we really miss you over here, Watson said. And I really meant it. Its not the same without Jack playing in the tournament.
 
Nicklaus played his final British Open at St. Andrews in 2005 and faded into retirement. But the guy who beat him at Turnberry in 77' with a 65 on the final day, no less ' still has a few shots left.
 
Watson kept the ball in the fairway, rolled in five birdies and bailed himself out the few times he got into trouble, including a testy 6-footer at the final hole to preserve a bogey-free round. His score was matched by Ben Curtis, the surprise winner of the 2003 Open.
 
Not bad for an almost 60-year-old, said Watson, who turns that age in September.
 
Tiger Woods didnt have nearly as much fun. On a day for going low along the Scottish coast ' it was sunny until early evening, with little breeze off the Irish Sea ' the worlds No. 1 player struggled to a 71 with one wayward shot after another. He even dunked his ball in Wilsons Burn, which led to the last of his four bogeys at No. 16.
 
I certainly made a few mistakes out there, said Woods, who now faces the largest 18-hole deficit of his Open career. Realistically, I probably should have shot about 1- or 2-under par.
 
When the round ended, Woods headed back to the range to work on his swing, which looked downright ugly with his right hand flying off the club. His first signs of frustration emerged at No. 3, when he took an angry swipe and mumbled something under his breath. By the time the day was done, he had angrily tossed away his clubs several times.
 
Six years ago, Curtis was virtually unknown except to family and friends when he won the claret jug on his first try. He missed the cut on his next three attempts, but has finished in the top 10 at the Open the last two years. Now, hes confident of making a run at another Open championship.
 
You dont win it once and not be able to do it again, he said. The last couple of years have been good for me, and this week I got off to a good start.
 
Curtis overcame a pair of bogeys with an eagle at the par-5 seventh and birdies on four of his last six holes. He finished with a routine two-putt par at No. 18, walking off tied for the top spot.
 
Golfs oldest major keeps bringing out the best in the old-timers. Last year, Greg Norman was 53 when he held the 54-hole lead at Birkdale, only to fade on the final day.
 
Jimenez is no spring chicken, either, but at age 45 he beat his previous low score in the Open by three strokes and just missed the major championship record. The ponytailed, cigar-puffing Spaniard, known as the Mechanic, finished with a flourish, making birdies on the final two holes ' including a 66-footer from the edge of the green with his last putt of the day.
 
Even John Daly managed to shoot a 68, his best round since winning the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. Adorned in an eye-catching, lime-green outfit, he sure played much better than a year ago, when he shot an amateurish 80-89 at Birkdale.
 
Jimenez was encouraged from the moment he woke up.
 
You look at the sea, and it looked like a pond ' so nice, so calm, he said. You cant ask for a better day. No wind, no nothing, and it took care of me.
 
Theres still three rounds to go, and the weather isnt like to stay this way through Sunday. Indeed, the second-round forecast called for a chance of patchy rain, with the wind gusting up to 30 mph.
 
Now that sounds more like a British Open.
 
Major championship golf is filled with opening-day leaders who fell out of contention by the weekend. Watson would be by the far the oldest Open champion, a distinction held by Old Tom Morris (now thats an appropriate nickname), who was 46 when he won the claret jug for the final time in 1867.
 
Watson posted his lowest score in the tournament since a second-round 65 in 1994 ' the last time it was held at Turnberry. But this isnt the first time hes come up with some opening-day magic since joining the senior circuit.
 
At the 2003 U.S. Open, Watson led after the first round at Olympia Fields with ailing Bruce Edwards on the bag. The tears flowed freely after Watson shot a 65; his longtime caddie died less than a year later from Lou Gehrigs Disease.
 
This week, Watson has been reminded of a more pleasant experience ' his showdown with Nicklaus when the British Open first came to historic Turnberry. Watson held on to win by a stroke on a sun-splashed day in what was essentially a match-play format over the final 18 holes.
 
I dont live in the past, Watson said. But certainly that has been at the forefront of a lot of conversations for me this week. A lot of people have been congratulating me for 77, and they remember it, too. Its also amazing theres a lot of kids in the tournament who were not even born in 1977.
 
That includes one of Watsons playing partners, 16-year-old Italian amateur Matteo Manassero, the youngest player in the field. Watson is the oldest.
 
With red numbers there for the taking, Americans Stewart Cink and Steve Stricker, Australians John Senden and Mathew Goggin, and Camilo Villegas of Colombia put up 66s. With a handful of players still on the course, there already were 43 scores in the 60s.
 
To get old-timers theme rolling, 49-year-old Mark Calcavecchia, the 1989 Open champion, went out in the first group of the day with his wife on the bag and shot 67.
 
He was matched by 52-year-old Mark OMeara, the 98 winner who now plays on the Champions Tour, and three-time major champion Vijay Singh, the kid of that group at 46. The group at 67 also included former Masters champion Mike Weir, two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen and down-home American Boo Weekley.
 
Some of the young guns struggled, most notably 24-year-old Anthony Kim. The emotional leader of Americas winning Ryder Cup team took a 9 at the second hole, hit another ball in the water and struggled with an upper-back injury, requiring treatment on the course. He finished with a 73 and will need to really to make the cut.
 
Dont forget Padraig Harrington, trying to become the first player since Peter Thomson in 1954-56 to win the Open three years in a row. The Irishman quietly went about his work, tapping in for a 69 that was an improvement on his shaky play this year while he attempts to make changes in his swing.
 
It wasnt all fun and games for the senior set.
 
Norman failed to follow up his stirring performance last year, when he was 18 holes away from becoming the oldest major champion in golf history. The Shark looked every bit his age, now 54, struggling to a 77 that left him likely to miss the cut.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The 138th Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

    Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

    ''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

    Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

    Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

    Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

    ''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

    ''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

    Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

    ''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

    Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

    Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

    Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

    ''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

    In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

    Getty Images

    Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

    ''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

    McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

    Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

    ''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

    Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

    ''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

    Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


    McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

    ''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

    McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

    McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

    McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

    Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

    ''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

    Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

    ''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

    Getty Images

    Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

    The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

    Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

    Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

    Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

    This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

    Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

    Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

    By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

    Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

    Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

    “You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

    It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

    Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

     “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”