Newcomer Olin Browne shares top spot in Iowa

By Associated PressMay 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Champions TourWEST DES MOINES, Iowa ' Just before newcomer Olin Browne teed off with Fuzzy Zoeller on the 16th hole at Glen Oaks Country Club, Browne joked that it must be the hole-in-one spot, considering Zoellers miraculous ace there three years ago.
 
Browne then pulled out a 6-iron and stuck his ball within inches of the hole.
 
Welcome to the senior circuit, kid.
 
Browne, who turned 50 last week and is playing his first tournament on the Champions Tour, shot a 4-under 67 to join Iowa native Lonnie Nielsen and Bruce Vaughan atop the leaderboard after the opening round of the Principal Charity Classic.
 
Rookie Olin Browne is off to a good start playing in his first Champions Tour tournament. (Getty Images)
Eleven players are one shot off the lead, including Nick Price, Fred Funk and Tom Kite.
 
To me, its starting over again. But thats cool. Thats kind of fresh, said Browne, who won three titles on the PGA Tour. Its going to be great.
 
Indeed it will ' if all of Brownes rounds on the Champions Tour go like they did Friday.
 
The highlight for Browne, who was paired with Zoeller and Hal Sutton, came on the same hole where, in 2006, Zoeller hit a tee shot that landed on the fringe and somehow rolled into the hole nearly 10 seconds later.
 
Brownes shot didnt quite match Zoellers for dramatics, but it was his fifth birdie of the day and pulled him into a tie for the lead.
 
It almost went in, Browne said. I managed to hit a good shot and it got in there nice and close.
 
Nielsen, who grew up in Belle Plaine, Iowa, and later starred for the Hawkeyes, has been in this spot before. He was tied for the lead after the opening round of last years tournament but crumbled over the final two rounds and finished in a distant tie for 22nd.
 
Nielsen attributed that slide in part to a wandering eye at the leaderboard, and said hes determined to be more focused this weekend.
 
Nielsen shot a 31 on the front nine and hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation.
 
Im just going to try and just pay attention to what Im doing and not pay attention to what anybody is doing and just go out and shoot three good scores, Nielsen said. I got too hung up in where I stood last year and all that and its just a distraction.
 
Vaughan missed the cut at last weeks Senior PGA Championship after shooting 8 over through two rounds, and hes yet to finish in the top 10 this season.
 
But he got things rolling with birdies on Nos. 9, 11, 12 and 13. After a bogey at 15, he hit a 35-foot birdie putt on the next hole and converted par putts on the final two.
 
I hit it pretty good, and thats something I havent been doing this year, Vaughan said.
 
Though it was a clear day with temperatures around 80 degrees, Glen Oaks wasnt as forgiving as it has been in previous years. A rainy week left the fairways a soggy despite the sunshine, and tougher pin placements and typical Iowa winds swirling up to 15 mph kept scores low.
 
The rounds shot by Browne, Nielsen and Vaughan where the highest ever shot by the leaders here in the opening round.
 
I thought we had a few pins that were more difficult than normal, and the north winds made a couple of the holes play tougher too, Nielsen said.
 
Two-time defending champion Jay Haas, in his quest to become just the sixth Champions Tour player to win an event at least three times in a row, finished 1 over.
 
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    DJ triples last hole, opens with 76 at Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 6:18 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Dustin Johnson’s chances of winning The Open are likely already over.

    The world No. 1 hit his tee shot out of bounds on 18 on his way to a triple bogey, capping a miserable day that left him with a 5-over 76, 10 shots off the lead and in danger of missing the cut.

    Johnson didn’t talk to reporters afterward, but there wasn’t much to discuss.

    He didn’t make a birdie until the par-5 14th, bogeyed 16 and then made 7 on Carnoustie's home hole when his tee shot caromed out of bounds left.

    Johnson has missed the cut only once in nine previous appearances at The Open – in his first try in 2009.

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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”