Notes Day advances in Match Play

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2011, 5:04 am
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayMARANA, Ariz. – Jason Day played some more mind games in his 4-and-2 victory over Paul Casey on Thursday in the Match Play Championship.

The 23-year-old Australian made Casey putt out from about 1 1/2 feet – a distance normally conceded in match play – on the par-5 13th just to irritate the Englishman.

“He looked really angry at me, too,” Day said. “It was only about a foot and a half. … But it’s not about that hole, it’s about the future holes coming on. So if I can make him a little angry, if I can get him out of his game plan and force him to make silly decisions out there, that’s obviously part of the mind games that you play.

“Obviously, match play is a different format to stroke play. At the end of the day, you’re all mates and stuff. But when you’re playing against the guy across from you, you want to try to beat him as quick as possible.”

On Wednesday in a 3-and-2 victory over K.T. Kim, Day made a point of walking in front of the South Korean player throughout the match.

“Paul walks pretty quick, so it was pretty tough to stay in front of him,” Day said. “The competition is very, very tough. Just being out there reminds me of all the old days when I was back playing as an amateur and as a junior. There’s a few little mind games out there.”

Day won the Byron Nelson Championship last year for his first PGA Tour title. He also won a 2007 Nationwide Tour event in Ohio at 19 to become the youngest winner in the second-tier tour’s history.

In the third round, he’ll face J.B. Holmes, a 1-up winner over Ernie Els.

WGC-Match Play TV Schedule
(All times Eastern)

Golf Channel_new

Thurs: 1-6 p.m.
Fri: 1-6 p.m.
Sat: Noon-2 p.m.
Sun: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

NBC Sports
Sat: 2-6 p.m.

Sun: 2-6 p.m.

OGILVY ADVANCES: Geoff Ogilvy won the par-4 18th with a par to beat Thomas Bjorn 1-up, setting up a third-round match against Bubba Watson.

Ogilvy, the 2006 winner at La Costa and 2009 champion on The Ritz-Carlton course at Dove Mountain, beat Padraig Harrington 4 and 3 in the first round. Bjorn was coming off a 19-hole victory over Tiger Woods.

“Obviously, one of my favorite tournaments. I enjoy the format,” Ogilvy said. “It’s kind of a weird one, you could come here and be here for three hours, or come here and play more golf than you’ll ever play in a golf tournament. The cliche is one day at a time. I try to win the match I play that day. And if I do, I get to come back tomorrow and do it again.”

The Australian returned to play three weeks ago in the Phoenix Open after gouging his right index finger on a coral reef in Hawaii before the season-opening Tournament of Champions. He needed 12 stitches to repair the cut.

“There’s no mark there anymore,” Ogilvy said. “It’s a tiny bit sensitive. It’s on the firing line, where the right finger is touching the grip. It’s more comfortable to put something over the top, so I don’t have to think about it. As far as hitting golf balls, it’s a hundred percent, but just a little red and sensitive still.”

OVERPOWERING: J.B. Holmes beat Ernie Els 1-up, blasting drive after drive well past the South African star.

Holmes won the par-5 second hole with a birdie after hitting a 373-yard drive, hit a 362-yarder on No. 5, a 350-yarder on No. 7 and won the par-4 10th with a birdie after a 356-yard blast. He then drove 370 yards on No. 17.

“I’ve been hitting my driver great this week,” Holmes said. “I was 40, 50 yards past Ernie a few times today. … I would assume it’s intimidating to see that. I’ve got lower irons and I always get to see what they do.”

In the field as an alternate when Tim Clark withdrew Tuesday because of an elbow injury, Holmes arrived at Dove Mountain early Wednesday and got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep before beating Camilo Villegas 4 and 2 in the first round.

“I got some sleep last night, so I’m good,” Holmes said.

DIVOTS: Ben Crane’s 8-and-7 victory over Rory McIlroy matched the second-largest margin in tournament history. Tiger Woods set the record in the 2006 first round, beating Stephen Ames 9 and 8. In the other 8-and-7 wins, Ames beat Robert Karlsson in the 2007 first round and Woods routed Stewart Cink in the 2008 final. … Eight Americans – Crane, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore – advanced to the third round. Last year, only four U.S. players reached the round of 16. … The second-round losers received $95,000. The third-round losers will get $140,000.
Getty Images

Country singer Owen shoots 86 in debut

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:51 pm

Country music star Jake Owen struggled in his Tour debut, shooting a 14-over 86 in the opening round of the Nashville Golf Open.

Owen, who played as a 1 handicap earlier this year while teaming with Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, put three balls out of bounds over his first nine holes, including two en route to a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 18th hole. After making the turn in 46, Owen came home in 40 without making a single birdie.

Owen is playing as an amateur on an unrestricted sponsor exemption, the same type used by NBA superstar Steph Curry on the Tour last year and by former NFL quarterback Tony Romo this year on the PGA Tour. Curry missed the cut after rounds of 74-74 at the Ellie Mae Classic, while Romo shot 77-82 at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship.

Full-field scores from the Nashville Golf Open

Owen tallied nine pars, six bogeys, two doubles and a quad in his opener and was the only player from the morning wave who failed to break 80. The closest player to him in the standings was two-time major champ Angel Cabrera, who opened with a 79.

While Owen struggled against a field full of professionals, he took the setback in stride and even took to Twitter in the middle of his round to fire back at some of his online critics:

Getty Images

New putter propels Hoffman to Fort Worth lead

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:30 pm

After sitting at home last week, Charley Hoffman decided it was time for a change.

The veteran estimated that he has been using the same version of a Scotty Cameron putter for the last five years, but heading into this week's Fort Worth Invitational he wanted to shake things up.

"I had an idea on Sunday literally coming out here that I wanted to have a little more weight in my putter," Hoffman told reporters. "I went with one that was sort of in my bag of putters at home that I could add some weight here."

The swap provided immediate results, as Hoffman opened with a 7-under 63 while picking up more than two strokes over the field on the greens to take a one-shot lead over Emiliano Grillo, Jhonattan Vegas and Andrew Putnam. It was an all-around effort Thursday for Hoffman, as he missed only two greens in regulation and never faced a par putt longer than 5 feet.

"I was able to knock in some mid-range putts and played very solid," Hoffman said. "It was a nice, very stress-free round. It was fun to play."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Hoffman had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, capping it with a Presidents Cup appearance and a runner-up finish at the Hero World Challenge in December. While he has made nine cuts in 12 starts this year, his T-12 finish at the Masters remains his best result as he has struggled to turn top-20s into opportunities to contend.

Hoffman is making his seventh straight appearance at Colonial, where he tied for 10th in 2015. But he had never shot better than 65 before Thursday, when his decision to switch to a heavier Scotty Cameron model seemingly put a magnet on the bottom of the cup.

"Putting is a fickle part of the game," he said. "So hopefully the good mojo continues."

Getty Images

McIlroy shoots 67, two off BMW PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 6:56 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Rory McIlroy walked off the 18th green in disgruntled fashion, shaking his head and looking down at the ground.

Shooting a 5-under 67 at Wentworth can rarely have felt so unsatisfactory.

The four-time major winner pushed his approach shot from the middle of the fairway into the overhanging trees at the par-5 last, saw his chip clip the flag pole, then missed a 3-foot putt for birdie for a disappointing end to his first round at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday.

McIlroy also missed out on a birdie on the par-5 17th, too. Hence his unhappiness immediately after his round, although he was only two shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard (65).

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

''Walking off the 16th green and going to No. 17 at 5 under par, it was good after being 1 over after three (holes),'' McIlroy said, before diverting away from revisiting the end of his round.

''I played really well, gave myself plenty of chances, drove it well, for the most part hit my irons a lot better than I have done, so it was nice to get off to a good start.''

McIlroy is playing the European Tour's flagship event for the first time since 2015. He won it in 2014, the year he won The Open and the PGA Championship – his most recent major victories.

After bogeying No. 3, the former top-ranked McIlroy reeled off seven birdies in 13 holes and later said the greens were in the best condition he'd seen them.

Bjerregaard, whose only win came in Portugal last year, made seven birdies in a bogey-free round – his last at No. 18 giving him the outright lead over South Africans Dean Burmester and Darren Fichardt.

Burmester earlier played his last eight holes in 6 under par – including making eagle at the 15th – to draw level with compatriot Fichardt, who was also bogey-free.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished 7-6 on the two par 5s to drop from the outright lead at the time to 4 under.

Getty Images

Stricker opens with 65 at Colonial despite back pain

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 6:45 pm

After four holes of the Fort Worth Invitational, things were looking bleak for Steve Stricker.

The ageless veteran was already 1 over when he tweaked his back playing his approach to No. 13, his fourth hole of the day at Colonial Country Club. He ended up making another bogey, but at that point his score took a backseat to the health of his ailing back.

"I tried to hit a pretty solid 6-iron and got right into the impact area, and actually felt my lower back crack right where I had surgery back in 2014, pretty much right on the spot," Stricker told reporters. "Tried to walk to the green and that wasn't going so well. Kind of tightened up on me. I thought I was going to have to stop and just stand there for a minute, which I did a couple of times. It didn't look or feel very good for a while."

Slowly but surely, Stricker's back began to loosen up, and with it came a turnaround on the scorecard. Stricker had a four-hole stretch in the middle of his round that he played in 5 under, highlighted by a hole-out from the greenside bunker for eagle on the par-5 first hole. Despite the rocky start, he ended up shooting a 5-under 65 to sit two shots off the early pace set by Charley Hoffman.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"I just kept plodding along," Stricker said. "I knew there were some birdie holes out here if you can get it in the fairway. There are some short irons."

Stricker had a spot in one of the marquee early-round groups, but his score bettered both Jordan Spieth's 1-under 69 and defending champ Kevin Kisner's 2-over 72. Stricker told reporters that he planned to get his back checked after the round.

Stricker continues to straddle both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions while crafting a unique schedule, and his appearance this week in Fort Worth came at the expense of skipping the Senior PGA Championnship, a major on the over-50 circuit. But Stricker won at Colonial in 2009 and has now played four straight years on what he described as one of his favorite courses.

"I like to play here. I know I'm going to play John Deere, another favorite tournament of mine, and FedEx St. Jude looks like I am going to try to play in a couple weeks, try to get in the U.S. Open," Stricker said. "So it's just kind of picking them as I go, and seeing where I want to go and seeing what feels good to me at the time."