Mika Miyazato leads; Lincicome one back

By Associated PressMay 20, 2016, 12:18 am

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Mika Miyazato had five birdies in a six-hole stretch and finished with a 6-under 65 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Kingsmill Championship.

In tricky conditions on the rain-soaked River Course, the 26-year-old Japanese player closed her opening nine with the birdie run, dropped a stroke on the par-5 third, and rebounded with birdies on the par-4 sixth and eighth holes. She won the 2012 Safeway Classic in Oregon for her lone tour title.

The greens were a lot faster than expected, though they were receptive and the players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways.

''Course conditions is pretty wet, and last two days, so much rain,'' Miyazato said. ''But I tried to be more aggressive, the golf, so that's why maybe played very well today.''

Defending champion Minjee Lee and Brittany Lincicome were a stroke back.

''The greens were faster this year than I've ever seen them in my life,'' Lincicome said. ''I think they were faster than any other stop on tour this year, so that was obviously something I had to adjust to because I couldn't be as aggressive as I wanted to be.''

Lee made her lone bogey on the closing par-4 18th. The 19-year-old Australian won last year at Kingsmill in a Monday finish and added her second tour title last month in Hawaii.

''I thought I was pretty steady,'' Lee said. ''I started off pretty well, made four birdies on the front nine, and then two on the back, and bogeyed the last. Overall, pretty solid.''

Lincicome also had six birdies and a bogey.

''I love it here every year whether I play good or not,'' Lincicome said. ''But it was nice to get off to a good start today. Finally got the putter rolling my way, which was nice, especially when I had the 3- to 5-footers to save par. Those were going in consistently.''

Gerina Piller was at 67 along with Sei Young Kim, Moriya Jutanugarn, Pornanong Phatlum, Caroline Masson, Jennifer Song, Laetitia Beck and Sandra Gal. Piller has five straight top-10 finishes.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko closed with a birdie for a 73. The 19-year-old New Zealander was 5 over in a six-hole stretch in the middle of the round with a double bogey and three bogeys. She won the Kia Classic and major ANA Inspiration in consecutive weeks in Southern California.

''It wasn't like we were playing with any mud balls,'' Ko said. ''Just on the greens was the toughest part. Not easiest pin positions, and even if you're 15, 12 feet, you could be running it 3, 4 feet by. That's how fast the greens were.''

Ko played alongside second-ranked Inbee Park and No. 3 Lexi Thompson.

''It's a pretty cool pairing,'' Ko said. ''Hopefully, tomorrow all of us will be able to shoot under par and have even more of a good time. Just personally, I didn't feel like I was playing really bad out there. Just a couple or three shots I was giving away. We still had a pretty good time.''

Thompson had a 72. She's coming off a victory two weeks ago on the Japan LPGA. Park shot a 74 after a month off because of a left thumb injury.

Ariya Jutanugarn had a 69. She's coming off a victory two weeks ago in Alabama that made her the first Thai winner in LPGA history.

Fourth-ranked Stacy Lewis had a 70. Lewis tied for second in Alabama for her 10th runner-up finish in a 49-event drought. The 11-time tour winner has 23 career second-place finishes.

Fifth-ranked Brooke Henderson, playing with Lewis, also shot 70.

Michelle Wie made two late birdies for a 72. She's winless since the 2014 U.S. Women's Open and hasn't had a top-10 finish in 35 events.

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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.”