Sabbatini and Uresti share lead at Turning Stone

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2010, 4:52 am

Turning Stone 2007 Logo

VERONA, N.Y. – Rory Sabbatini doesn’t have a problem reaching greens. He just has to get his putter working.

The 34-year-old South African hit all 18 greens in regulation for the second time in two months Thursday and shot a 7-under 65 that had him tied for the lead with Omar Uresti at the rain-delayed Turning Stone Resort Championship.

Sabbatini and Uresti both had seven birdies without a bogey and were one stroke in front of Brad Faxon, Brian Davis, Steve Elkington and Alex Cejka.

Despite shooting his best round since a 63 at the season-opening SBS Championship, Sabbatini needed 30 putts, five more than Uresti.

“It’s not often you can come off the golf course and jokingly say you should have birdied them all.” said Sabbatini, who was an alternate for last month’s British Open at St. Andrews but did not play. “But I did.”

John Mallinger, Chris Couch, Jonathan Byrd, Michael Bradley, Jason Dufner and Tim Wilkinson, who had to qualify on Monday, were tied at 67.

Because of a weather delay of nearly three hours, 24 players did not complete the first round. Among those who did not finish and were to complete the opening round on Friday morning were Chris Tidland, who was at 6 under with two holes to play, and Steve Wheatcroft, who was at 5 under after 16 holes.

Fifteen-year-old Gavin Hall, of Pittsford, N.Y., finished at 6-over 78 in his PGA Tour debut. Hall is bidding to become the second-youngest player in PGA Tour history to make the cut in a tournament.

The rain softened the 7,482-yard Atunyote Golf Club layout just enough to allow the players to aim at the pins on what turned into a sunny, humid day with a steady wind between 10 and 20 mph.

Sabbatini, who started on the back nine, birdied his first three holes before lightning and rain caused a 2-hour, 43-minute delay. He came back out and made birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 to make the turn at 31.

Although he made just one birdie on the four par-5s, Sabbatini birdied three of the four par-3s in a round he’ll likely replay in his mind a few times.

“I would say I played well,” he said. “I didn’t score anywhere near what my potential was out there. I had a really good ball-striking day, had a lot of short birdie putts that I missed, a lot of good opportunities that I squandered out there, but overall, you know, going out there I made it a pretty stress-free day.

“I like the layout, and they give us quite a bit of room out there to work with,” Sabbatini said. “Obviously, that little bit of rain we had early on this morning kind of softened the conditions up, so it made it pretty easy to be aggressive, especially to some of those pins.”

Uresti has missed the cut in four of his last five PGA starts, tied for 59th last month at the Reno-Tahoe Open, and had had only one round in the 60s since mid-June.

A new putter made all the difference Thursday.

“If you look at my rounds and my stats recently, I’ve been having 32 to 34, even 35 putts a round and only shooting a couple over,” Uresti said. “So to get it down to where I did today at 25, that’s 10 strokes off the score right there, or at least nine. That’s what’s been hurting me. Today it felt really good in my hands. I felt confident, and I was trying not to take so much time over it.”

Uresti made five birdies on the back side, his best coming at the par-4 13th. He hit a 3-iron into the wind to 44 feet and made the putt, which broke nearly 8 feet. Unfortunately, he had to ask his caddie what happened.

“It stopped on the front lip, and I put my head down and didn’t see it drop,” Uresti said with a smile. “It’s just a matter of getting it in the hole. It helps just to be able to throw up a number. It feels pretty good.”

Hall, who had a gallery of around 200 – by far the largest of the day – following him, was upbeat despite a round that included two bogeys, a double-bogey, and a triple-bogey.

“It was a good day, it was all right, just a struggle from the first hole,” said Hall, who made 11 pars and two birdies. “But that’s going to happen in golf. It was just unfortunate, one of my bad days of golf happened at a PGA Tour event.

“I still have a lot of confidence,” he said. “I’ve never had a big crowd like that around the ropes. It was just a different feeling, so I was out of rhythm most of the whole day. I definitely learned a lot, and if I can improve a little more here and there I think I’ll play well (Friday). I’ve already had a 62 this year, so I think there’s one out there.”

Getty Images

Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.



"I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

"What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

Getty Images

Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

And now, Greg Norman.

Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.

 

Getty Images

DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

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

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

Getty Images

Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

“We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

“The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

(All Times Local)

Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.