Notes Bad Round Good Memories

By Associated PressJune 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle took quadruple bogey on his last hole for an 81, but the 58-year-old had no regrets playing the toughest test in golf against players young enough to be his son.
The Senior Open winner traditionally gets a spot in the field, although not all of them take it. Doyle was encouraged to play by his daughters, and one of them, Erin, caddied for him the second straight year. He missed the cut at Winged Foot a year ago.
'This can't take away from what I've done,' Doyle said.
The memories go beyond his Champions Tour career, which has been stellar. Doyle was devoted to amateur golf in his prime, although he rarely tried to qualify for the U.S. Open because he had limited resources. It was a good life, though, and he ran in fast company, such as a World Amateur Team event with Tiger Woods.
He also recalls playing with a young Phil Mickelson at the Sunnehanna, a prestigious amateur event in Pennsylvania.
'Phil wanted to play a practice round with me,' he said. 'We get to the fourth hole, a par 3, and I told him, 'Don't fool with the pin.''
He said he was paired with Lefty for 36 holes on a Saturday, and both times Mickelson tried to go at the flag, only to make bogey.
'I said, 'What didn't you understand about me telling you in the practice round not to go at the pin?'' Doyle remembered. 'He said, 'I thought I could hit the shot.' These kids were just kids. We had course knowledge. They had strong wills.'
Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson, alumni at tiny Milton High School in the Florida Panhandle, were in the same group for their U.S. Open debut and acquitted themselves nicely. Watson shot an even-par 70, Weekley a 72.
'We're not big with these bright lights and these big tournaments, so for us to be able to talk and see a familiar face, it's fun,' Watson said. 'We've never played together, I don't think.'
They live 20 miles apart, Watson claiming Bagdad as his residence, Weekley in Jay. Watson describes his hometown as having a post office, a few stop signs, an elementary school and 'good ol' Southern people.'
Did they make the home folks proud?
'A lot of people are rooting for us,' Weekley said. 'And a lot couldn't give a flying donkey about us.'
Bob Rittberger was on the practice green waiting for a miracle that he knew would never arrive. The assistant pro at Garden City Golf Club knew his hopes for playing in the U.S. Open ended 10 days ago with the worst kind of luck.
Rittberger was the fourth alternate at Oakmont. It should never have come to that.
He needed a par on the final hole of sectional qualifying at Century Country Club in New York, and his approach was so perfect that it hit the flag and ricocheted off the green. Unaware there was a sprinkler beneath his ball in the rough, he chipped poorly, then compounded the problem with a three-putt double bogey.
That allowed Ricky Barnes to capture the third and final spot.
As if he needed a reminder, when Rittberger pulled up at his hotel in Pittsburgh this week, Barnes was in the car in front of him.
'I've thought about it,' Rittberger said. 'But there's not a whole lot you can do.'
Alternates are not allowed to play practice rounds until they are in the field, and Rittberger really never had a chance. David Howell of England was the only player to withdraw this week.
Rittberger wound up settling for the driving range and the putting green. He also signed about 300 autographs, which is about 300 more than he has ever signed. And he kept a good attitude.
'You're dying to get out there,' he said. 'But it's just not your turn.'
No, Ben Curtis didn't lose a bet. Wearing that Steelers shirt and visor was his choice.
The lifelong Cleveland Browns fan makes no secret of his allegiance. But he knows better than to wear orange and brown in Pittsburgh, whose Steelers have as bitter a rivalry as they come with the Browns. So Curtis, who has a deal with Reebok to wear NFL team gear, broke out the hometown colors for the first round.
'You get used to it,' he said, sounding resigned. 'They were chanting 'Steelers' all day out there.'
Curtis made the mistake of wearing a Browns shirt a few years ago at the 84 Lumber Classic, which is played at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, about 75 miles outside Pittsburgh. He got booed everywhere he went.
Last year, he bowed to the fans' wishes and wore a Steelers shirt. Lo and behold, he won the tournament.
'I might put Browns (gear) on Saturday,' he said. 'But not Sunday.'
There weren't many Oakmont Country Club members more excited about the U.S. Open than Bob Heltzel.
Heltzel, a longtime steel company executive, used to coach the golf team at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio. One of his former players, amateur Jason Kokrak, is in the field this week, and they played Oakmont together before tournament week.
'Being the father of five daughters and no sons, it was special playing a practice round with Jason at the U.S. Open,' Heltzel said, breaking into a smile. 'He's a young man with a lot of ability and a bright future as an individual and young man, let alone the golf aspect.'
Kokrak, the Ohio prep golfer of the year in 2003, just finished up at Xavier, where he was honorable mention All-America. He tied for first in his qualifying group to earn a spot in the Open, where he shot a 6-over 76 Thursday.
'When I first came to Oakmont, I played at the U.S. Amateur in 2003 and missed the cut,' he said. 'I walked off the golf course and said, `I guess I'm just going to have to make the Open in '07.'
And he's making the most of it. Heltzel walked the course with him during practice rounds, pointing out little trouble spots that players might not be aware of. Because Warren is a mere 90 minutes from Pittsburgh, Kokrak has a large cheering section. When the ball lipped out from the fairway on the par-4 17th, costing him an eagle, the cheers were as loud as if it had gone in.
'I have so much support here,' he said. 'I couldn't even tell you how many.'
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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.”