Ogilvy Appleby into PGA contention after 2 rounds

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2009, 6:14 pm

COOLUM, Australia – Matthew Griffin held off two more famous compatriots to take the Australian PGA lead after Friday’s second round.

Griffin, a former No.3-ranked world amateur, had a 3-under 68 on Friday for a total of 7-under 135, putting him one shot ahead of a trio of fellow Australians.

Chief among them was defending champion and former U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy (66) – who sank a 12-foot par-saving putt on the 18th – and Stuart Appleby (69) in a closely packed leaderboard approaching weekend play at the Hyatt Regency resort course.

Jason Norris, who had a serious accident on a bicycle at the resort two years ago, also had a share of second.

Han Min-kyu of South Korea, who led by four strokes after a first-round 62, slumped to a 75 and was tied for fifth with Australians Bronson La’Cassie (69) and Scott Strange (70), two shots off the lead.

Robert Allenby (68) and Adam Scott (70) were in a group of five tied for eighth at 4-under. John Daly shot 70 and was at 1-under 141, six strokes back.

Griffin played the front nine last on Friday, including the six new holes with harder greens that make it tougher for approach shots to hold.

“The winds were pretty tricky and blowing pretty good, the greens were tough,” Griffin said. “But I holed a few nice putts and got on a bit of a roll.”

Appleby dueled with Scott last week over the final two rounds of the Australian Open before Scott emerged a five-stroke winner. And Appleby finished eighth at the Australian Masters, reviving his form at home after a poor PGA Tour season that saw him finish outside the top 125 on the money list that guarantees cards for next season.

“I would like to finish the year off and get my world ranking going in the right direction instead of the other way,” said Appleby, who has decided to use his one-time exemption from the top 25 on the career money list for his PGA Tour card next year.

Norris suffered serious facial and upper body injuries two years ago when he fell off a bicycle and crashed into a concrete path at the resort. He didn’t play for seven months, and still has pain in his jaw, teeth and right wrist.

“I’d rode 20 meters (yards), we were just looking for a taxi after the cut party,” Norris said. “I wasn’t drunk, probably tipsy. I saw the bike and thought I would hang a joke with the boys and say ‘here’s our ride’. I was going to ride down the hill, and then I didn’t get down the hill.”

The 37-year-old Norris doesn’t stay at the resort because it’s too expensive.

“This place owes me,” said Norris. “Every time I walk past the place it happened, it sort of knocks me around a bit.”

Norris isn’t sure where he’ll play next year due to a continuing spat between the new One Asia tour, which includes the Australian PGA, and the Asian Tour.

“I would love to play both, but the Asian Tour has taken a strong stance against it at the moment, but hopefully things will change.”

Allenby had another interesting day with his wardrobe. On Thursday, he took off his shoes and socks and rolled his trousers up to his knees to hit a ball out of a pond.

On Friday, he took his trousers off completely, stripping down to his boxer shorts, while trying to do a similar shot out of water on the par-4 third, where he took a double-bogey.

“I did look around to make sure there were no cameras … just one TV camera,” Allenby said. “I actually thought I would get it on to the green, but it only went like two feet.”

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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.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”