Putnam, Knox share 36-hole lead at Shriners

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2014, 1:53 am

LAS VEGAS - Andrew Putnam birdied two of the last three holes Friday for a 6-under 65 and a share of the second-round lead with Russell Knox in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Putnam is playing his fourth PGA Tour event. He earned his tour card this year through the Web.com Tour.

''It was a good round,'' said Putnam, who birdied all three par 5s. ''I started off slow, one bogey, but played good out there. I played the par 5s well today, was able to take advantage of those.''

Knox, from Scotland, had a 67 to match Putnam at 10-under 132 at TPC Summerlin. Knox had six birdies and two bogeys - on Nos. 2 and 3 - in the second round.

''I got a bit worried, though, because I was all over the map,'' Knox said. ''I didn't feel real good with my swing, and I knew if I just made some pars, eventually something would click. And I made a couple putts, which really settled me down.''

Andrew Svoboda and Tony Finau were a stroke back. Finau shot 65, and Svoboda had a 67.

''I putted really well today,'' Svoboda said. ''I made some long putts.''

Defending champion Webb Simpson topped the group at 8 under after a 65.

''I just kept it right in front of me,'' Simpson said after his bogey-free round. ''That's what I did last year on this golf course. If you keep hitting the fairways, you're going to have opportunities to make birdie. I made some putts today. Didn't make many yesterday. All around, just a good, solid day.''


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Martin Laird, the 2009 winner who was tied with Stewart Cink for the first-round lead, was in the group at 8 under after a 70. He had a double bogey on the par-4 seventh - his 16th hole of the day.

Spencer Levin, George McNeill, Ben Martin, Bo Van Pelt, Scott Piercy and Wes Roach also were 8t under. Levin and McNeill shot 63 - the best rounds of the week.

Levin birdied seven his last eight holes.

''I was 1 over through three, so to shoot 8 under is pretty cool,'' Levin said. ''I made a couple nice putts on my 17th and 18th holes, which kind of makes you feel a little better. I really didn't play that bad, I just didn't putt well yesterday. I probably played a little better today tee to green, but not much. It's just the putts went in today.''

McNeill birdied seven of his last 10 holes.

''Obviously, I knew what I had to do,'' McNeill said. ''I wasn't trying to really force anything, but fortunately got off to a decent start, and again in the middle of the round kept it going, and then a nice finish birdieing 18.''

Cink followed his opening 64 with a 75 to drop into a tie for 45th at 3 under. He had a quadruple bogey on the par-4 11th - his second hole of day - and made a bogey on the 12th. He also had a bogey on No. 6 and a double bogey on No. 7.

Stuart Appleby went the other direction, rebounding from a 74 with a 64 to move into a tie for 30th at 4 under.

Jarrod Lyle had a 71 to fall into a tie for 22nd at 5 under. The Australian is making his second PGA Tour start since a recurrence of leukemia some 18 months ago.

FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel missed the cut with rounds of 71 and 72. At No. 13, he was the top-ranked player in the field.

Sang-Moon Bae, the Frys.com Open winner Sunday in the season opener in Napa, Calif., also shot 71-72 to miss the cut.

 

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Woods on firing shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

“I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.

“I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.


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Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

“It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

“I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

Let it go.

Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

“I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

The only thing left to do?

Let it go.