Notes Seve Returns Early Exit for Faxon

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Three-time champion Seve Ballesteros returned to the British Open for the first time in five years on Thursday and was relieved to walk off with a 2-over 74.
 
After 10 years without making the cut in a major, Ballesteros feared he might not break 80.
 
Even more pleasing than his score was being joined by his 15-year-old son, Baldomero, who is his caddie this week.
 
To walk on the fairways in the Open with my son was fantastic and I played a little bit better than I expected. I didnt have much confidence, said the Spaniard, whose last round in a major was an 85 at the Masters three years ago.
 
Troubled by persistent back injuries and a horrendous slump Ballesteros hasnt been competitive since his last victory in the 1995 Spanish Open. Although he started with a bogey and collected three more, he made back-to-back birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 10th.
 
Playing in the Open there is a lot of pressure and I was nervous, obviously, mainly because I have not competed for a long time and the practice days didnt make me feel very optimistic, he said.
 
But I played with the heart as always and 74 is a good round.
 
EARLY EXITS
Jesper Parnevik and Brad Faxon mingled outside the Royal Liverpool clubhouse at dawn Thursday morning, looking like two guys who were the first to arrive with hopes of getting a tee time.
 
Thats exactly what was on the line at the British Open, and both left disappointed.
 
They were the first two alternates, needing players to withdraw to get one of the 156 spots in the field. After waiting for nearly 11 hours until the last group went off, they packed their bags and headed home.
 
Parnevik interrupted a vacation in Sweden when he learned he was first alternate. Faxon was sixth in line, but figuring the others wouldnt show up, he flew Monday from Rhode Island and took his chances.
 
I thought hed still get in, Faxon said of Parnevik. I think he did, too.
 
Faxon warmed up in the morning, then headed to the range again to take a nap in the Titleist trailer. His only hopes of players pulling out were Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer because of their bad backs. There were doubts about Seve Ballesteros, but he went off early and shot 74.
 
Compounding the disappointment for Faxon was finding a flight home Friday.
 
Everything is sold out, he said. Im going to have to check around with other airports.
 
Faxon recalled being first alternate in the 1986 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, and two guys who were injured tried to play and later withdrew. He wound up going to the Providence Classic, which he won.
 
Maybe this will bode well, he said. Something good will come out of this.
 
Faxon lost his chance to play first by having a pedestrian year that caused him to slip in the rankings. Then, the U.S. qualifier was washed out, and he didnt get a chance to qualify.
 
He likes the idea of the British Open expanding its criteria to get a stronger, more diverse field. But he questioned criteria that allows the top finishers from the last three PGA TOUR events to qualify'Hunter Mahan (tied for second in Hartford), Mathew Goggin (tied for second at the Western Open) and John Deere Classic winner John Senden.
 
I still dont think the qualifying procedure is perfect, he said. Why doesnt winning a tournament get you in, but finishing fourth does?
 
Faxon won the Buick Championship at Hartford last year.
 
FASHION STATEMENT
About the only distraction Seve Ballesteros faced Thursday was playing with Ian Poulter of England, who wore bright red pants with sequins down each side and a logo of the claret jug on each leg.
 
Ballesteros, ever the traditionalist, wore a white shirt with dark pants.
 
Something different, Ballesteros said. He looks to me like a Spanish matador. But he should not be in red, because the bull always goes for red.
 
Poulter certainly didnt find red numbers on the scoreboard. He wound up one shot behind Ballesteros, at 3-over 75. And the gallery didnt think much of his wardrobe, either.
 
Oh my God, look at what hes wearing! a female fan blurted out as Poulter walked toward the third green. Isnt that ridiculous? Elvis lives!
 
RETURN ON THE INVESTMENT
Fred Couples is a fan of Royal Liverpool, and he couldnt figure out why the R&A waited 39 years to bring the British Open back to the course. Someone told him the layoff was due mainly to the infrastructure.
 
I guess so, Couples said. I mean, Im paying 14,000 pounds for my house this week, so they must have known we were coming. They had a few years to prepare for this week.
 
EASY TARGET
Tom Lehman is getting plenty of attention this week, and not because this is the 10-year anniversary of his British Open victory.
 
This is a Ryder Cup year. He is the U.S. captain.
 
Thats almost all I hear about, Lehman said after a 68.
 
Nearly every person over here is saying, We wish you luck this week, but not in September. Thats been the standard comment Im getting -- 100 a day, 200 a day or maybe more.
 
Lehman talked earlier this year about playing his way onto the U.S. team'there hasnt been a playing captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963. But he has largely given up on that though, although a victory this week would easily put him into the top 10.
 
If Im in contention, its because Im playing well. Its not Ryder Cup related, I can assure you, Lehman said.
 
He would prefer to see Americans atop the leaderboard to earn points for the team, although that didnt happen Thursday. The top American was Tiger Woods, who already is assured a spot on the team.
 
CLARKES DETOUR
Darren Clarke stepped up to the fourth tee box, and pulled out his putter.
 
Huh?
 
When Clarke yanked his second shot at the third hole far left of the green, the ball wound up on the tee for the next hole. He considered chipping toward the flag, then decided the putter was the best way to get through a patch of beaten-down rough between the tee and the green.
 
Only one problem: there was a red power chord running between the two holes. So he pulled that out of the way, and finally got down to a most unusual putt.
 
Unfortunately for Clarke, he didnt swing hard enough to get the ball through the rough, up a ridge and onto the green. He wound up making bogey, one of his few mistakes on the way to a 3-under 69 that left him only three shots off the lead.
 
DIVOTS
Tom Lehman and Graeme McDowell were the only players who did not make a bogey in the first round. ... U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy birdied the last hole for a 1-under 71. ... Davis Love III is 11th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings and sure didnt do himself any favors Thursday, opening with a 75 that could send him home early for the second straight major. ... Jarrod Lyle, diagnosed with leukemia seven years ago, shot 74.
 
Related Links:
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  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
     
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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

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    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.”