Reed fires another 63 for two-shot lead at Humana

By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2014, 11:52 pm

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Before Patrick Reed earned his PGA Tour card in December 2012, he successfully Monday-qualified for six events and made 12 starts that year.

That experience, with wife Justine at his side as his caddie, has come in handy in the first two rounds of the Humana Challenge.

''For sure,'' Reed said. ''It's a birdie-fest, this tournament is. ... It's pretty easy to get in that Monday-qualifying mindset, due to the fact that you're playing three different courses. So, the first day, it's like, 'All right, well, let's see how we do against the guys in my course there.' And the same thing every day.''

A day after shooting a 9-under 63 at PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course to take the lead, Reed had another 9-under 63 down the road Friday at tree-lined La Quinta Country Club to stretch his advantage to two strokes over Brendon Todd.


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''It's great to have that feeling that you can go out and shoot 63,'' said Reed, the Wyndham Championship winner in August. ''And to actually do it two times in a row shows that what we have done during the offseason and what we're doing now is working.''

Justine is pregnant with their first child, and her brother, Kessler Karain, is subbing as Reed's caddie. Justine has walked every hole with her 23-year-old husband this year and plans to rejoin him inside the ropes after the baby girl arrives around Memorial Day.



Justine got a good look at his best shot of the day, a high 5-iron approach on the par-5 fifth that landed softly and rolled to 4 feet to set up an eagle. He also had eight birdies and his lone bogey in 36 holes.

''That tee shot on 5's not easy,'' Reed said. ''You have to hit a perfect high cut around that tree and if it goes straight, you're actually through the fairway. You have to hit a hook around those trees. And when I hit a perfect drive like that, had a perfect number for a 5-iron to the left flag. When I hit something three-quarters or 85 percent, it's normally a little draw, so I just aimed it in the middle of the green and hit it up there to 4 feet. That was kind of just perfect for me.''

La Quinta has been that kind of place for the former Baton Rouge, La., high school champion who helped Augusta State win NCAA titles in 2010 and 2011. When Reed earned his PGA Tour card back in 2012, it was at PGA West.

Todd had a 63 on the Palmer course. He's the only player without a bogey.

''Obviously, both days were really solid,'' Todd said. ''Bogey-free was huge. ... Before I knew it, I was at 7- or 8-under with a few to play, feeling like I should birdie every hole. ... The weather's been so good, I'm not surprised to see what Patrick did.''

The temperature climbed into the 80s and it was so calm the ponds looked like glass, the water as still as the plastic swans PGA West uses to scare away geese.

Ryan Palmer was third, three strokes back at 15-under, after a 65 at La Quinta. He also made a short eagle putt on the fifth hole.

''Overall, it was another great day,'' said Palmer, coming off a tie for eighth in the Sony Open in Hawaii. ''Another great finish, hanging in there, staying strong.''

Charley Hoffman, the 2007 winner, was 14-under after a 66 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Private Course. He had five straight birdies on the front nine.

''There's water, there's trouble if you short-side yourself, but if you're hitting good shots, the greens are good and you can make a bunch of birdies,'' Hoffman said.

Bill Haas and James Driscoll were 13-under. Haas, the 2010 winner, had a 66 on the Nicklaus course, and Driscoll shot 63 at La Quinta.

Charlie Beljan was another stroke back, shooting 64 on the Nicklaus course.

Matt Every and playing partner Will MacKenzie were 11-under in a group that included Kapalua winner Zach Johnson.

Every settled for a 68 on the Palmer course after playing an early five-hole stretch in 6-under with four birdies and an eagle. MacKenzie had a 66.

''I was just striping it,'' Every said. ''I was hitting it close and then the greens, we were first off, so the greens were perfect, and I was rolling them in.''

After a long wait at the turn, he made a double bogey on No. 10.

''We flew around the front,'' Every said. ''Then we got to the back and there was a logjam.''

Johnson had an eagle, six birdies, two bogeys - on his first two holes - and a double bogey in a 68 on the Nicklaus course.

''I would like to start over, but this is a tournament of patience,'' Johnson said.

Playing alongside Johnson, Keegan Bradley had a hole-in-one in a 66 that left him 9-under in his first start of the year. His 176-yard shot on the third hole landed about 10 feet short of the pin and rolled in.

''A little baby 7-iron,'' Bradley said.

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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”