Piller takes 2-shot lead in Texas

By Associated PressApril 30, 2016, 11:51 pm

IRVING, Texas - Gerina Piller took a two-stroke lead Saturday in the LPGA's Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, putting her in position for a breakthrough victory in her home event.

Winless in 123 career starts, the 31-year-old Piller shot a bogey-free 4-under 67 to reach 14-under 199 at Las Colinas Country Club.

''It is a big deal, but to me it's not a big deal,'' Piller said. ''The golf ball doesn't know that I'm in the lead. So I just try to kind of dumb it down for myself and control the things I can do and that's myself, and being calm and being confident and committed. ... I still have the same mentality.

''I've got to go out there and I'm going to play aggressive, play smart and play committed.''

South Korean players held the next four spots on the leaderboard. Amy Yang (65) and Mi Jung Hur (66) were tied for second at 12 under, and Jenny Shin (65) and Sei Young Kim (68) were 10 under.

Piller lives in Plano, about 20 miles from Las Colinas. The long-hitting U.S. Solheim Cup hero grew up in Roswell, New Mexico, and played at the University Texas-El Paso.

A number of friends from high school and college joined her family - led by her husband, PGA Tour player Martin Piller - on the course following her. Martin Piller was back in town after missing the cut in the Zurich Classic in Louisiana.

''It would be awesome, it would be ideal,'' Piller said about the possibility of winning in front of her family and friends. ''But the cool thing about it is no matter how I play tomorrow, I know that they're going to be proud of me and we're going to go back and hang out and they're not going to think anything different of me, so it's pretty cool to have that support.''

Piller hit to 4 feet to set up a birdie on the par-4 second, then birdied three straight par 5s - two-putting No. 3 and making a 5-footer on No. 7 and a 10-footer on No. 10. She parred the final eight holes.

''I felt like I gave myself opportunities,'' Piller said. ''Had some great shots, just couldn't get some putts to fall. These greens are pretty tricky and they have a lot of slope to them so you definitely have to give them respect. But I don't feel like I kind of like barely got by with eight pars, I felt like I could have been a lot lower. So, definitely a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.''

Piller has hit 52 of 54 greens in regulation, with the two misses coming in the first round. She tied for third last week in California in the Swinging Skirts for her third straight top-six finish.

''Last week, just because I didn't win, I still consider that a winning performance for me,'' Piller said. ''I felt like I played well. I just wasn't good enough.''

Hur also lives in the area in McKinney. She finished the second round Saturday morning.

''My body feels a little bit tired, but we had a rest between the teeing off the third round so we recover the body conditions and everything,'' Hur said.

Yang had the best round of the day.

''Shot and putting both together,'' Yang said. ''I hit it very solid out there and I made some putts. I left some putts short right in the heart.''

Fifth-ranked Brooke Henderson had a 73 to drop into a tie for 19th at 3 under. The 18-year-old Canadian has eight straight top-10 finishes.

Amateurs Cheyenne Knight and Karah Sanford were among the 53 players to advance to the final round in the event that features two cuts.

Knight, a 19-year-old University of Alabama freshman from nearby Aledo, was tied for 26th at 2 under after a 72. The 14-year-old Sanford, a high school freshman from San Diego, was tied for 46th at even par after a 71.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”