Scott 36-Hole Leader at Byron Nelson

By Associated PressApril 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 EDS Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas -- Adam Scott returned to Australia after the Masters. It was a short visit.
 
I felt like I was still playing good and I shouldnt waste that at home, Scott said.
 
So instead of staying home for a second week, Scott was a deadline entrant into the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, where Friday he shot a second-round 67 to take the lead at 5-under 135.
 
That was good for a one-stroke lead over fellow Aussies Mark Hensby (67) and Mathew Goggin (69), and Scott McCarron (66), who missed all of last season recovering from right elbow surgery.
 
Scott began his round with four straight birdies. Though he managed only one more to go with two bogeys, that was enough to give the only one of the worlds top 10 players at the Nelson sole possession of the lead.
 
It would have been nice to get a couple more after my start, said Scott, 10th in the latest rankings. But Im pretty happy.
 
McCarron, who for seven months before his surgery in August 2006 played with a muscle torn away from the bone in his elbow, had a bogey-free round with a pair of birdies on each side. More encouraging was playing healthy.
 
There was a long time there where I did not know if that was going to happen, McCarron said. Im just happy to be playing without pain. Im taking baby steps to get where I can play and compete again. This is a big step obviously.
 
Hensby had his only two bogeys in his first three holes, during the same stretch of Scotts birdie string. But Hensby made an 8-foot birdie at the 180-yard 13th hole and played bogey-free the rest of the round, including a 4-under 31 on the front nine.
 
The fairways at the redesigned TPC Four Seasons course firmed up, but wind still gusting more than 25 mph made scoring conditions tough again. The cut of 3-over 143 was the highest at the Nelson since 2000. The last time a second-round leader had a higher score was 1984.
 
Trevor Immelman followed his opening 78 with a 75 and became the first Masters champion since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1994 to miss the cut in his next tournament.
 
Ryan Moore (70), who shared the first-round lead with Goggin and Eric Axley, had five birdies and five bogeys. He dropped two strokes off the pace into a tie for fifth with Justin Leonard (bogey-free 66), Parker McLachlin (69), Charley Hoffman (68) and Roland Thatcher (68). Axley shot a 74.
 
Thatcher, a 2007 Nationwide Tour grad who played in one of the last groups of the day, matched Scott for the lead with birdies at Nos. 14 and 16. But Thatcher finished with consecutive bogeys, hitting over the green at the 198-yard 17th before putting his final tee shot into a lake.
 
After his 25th-place finish at the Masters, Scott played a couple of rounds at home, then decided he should be back on tour rather than wasting it at Sanctuary Cove.
 
The opening string of birdies on Nos. 10-13 in the morning at the redone TPC pushed Scott into the lead. He matched Moore after chipping to 7 inches at the 323-yard 11th, then added two more birdies, an 8-footer at No. 12 followed by a 19-footer.
 
I just managed to hit a few good shots in a row, Scott said. There werent too many after that. It was just a matter of hanging in there. It was a bit of a battle, a fair bit of scrambling going on. The conditions were tricky.
 
Scott hit only five of 14 fairways. He missed the green on his approach from the rough for a bogey at the 406-yard 14th, but played even the rest of day.
 
Two years ago in his only other Nelson appearance, Scott shared the lead in each of the first three rounds. A closing 71 left him in third place behind Brett Wetterich and Immelman.
 
The Masters was the lowest finish for Scott in the five PGA TOUR events hes entered this season. He opened defense of his Shell Houston Open title with a 63 before later withdrawing because of illness.
 
Ive really played pretty good all year, Scott said. Its been a matter of trying to put four days together. So, yeah, its kind of a continuation, and thats why I came back.
 
Hensby has struggled all season. He made the cut for only the third time in 10 starts.
 
After securing his Tour card with a runner-up finish in his final event last year, Hensby started this season by missing six straight cuts, then withdrew from his seventh tournament after an opening 79.
 
Yeah, I actually thought Id play well this year, Hensby said.
 
Its been four years since Hensby got his only tour victory, in the same season that he finished 15th on the money list. But hes never been able to recapture that form.
 
Id say I really didnt know what I was doing that year, to be honest, Hensby said. I played well, but I never really had an idea of what I was really doing with my golf swing.
 
All three of Hensbys cuts have been in the last month, which coincides with the time since he started working with a coach.
 
Notes
 
Defending champion Scott Verplank was 1 over after a 69. The only one of the last 20 Masters champions to win their next tournament was Tiger Woods, in 1997 at the Nelson. Frank Lickliter II had the low round of the day: a 65 that included eight birdies and three bogeys. He was tied for 10th at 138. Goggin had a double bogey at No. 9, but got those strokes back with consecutive birdies.
 
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    Murray fixes swing flaw, recovers momentum

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 2:24 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Grayson Murray fixed a flaw in his swing and hit the ball well enough that blustery conditions weren't an issue for him Thursday in the Valero Texas Open.

    Coming off a missed cut at Hilton Head last week, Murray made seven birdies for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead. His only mistake was a double bogey from a greenside bunker on the par-3 seventh hole.

    ''Just the fact I did give myself enough opportunities today for birdie, it took a lot of pressure off,'' Murray said.

    Of the five players at 68, only Chesson Hadley played in the morning side of the draw, and he called it among his best rounds of the year because of gusts. The wind died in the afternoon and scoring improved slightly on the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore, Billy Horschel and Matt Atkins each posted 68. Horschel and Moore played bogey-free.

    ''Struck the ball really well, something that we've been working hard on,'' Horschel said. ''Could have been better, yeah. I didn't really make anything out there today. But I'm happy with it.''

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the course, played the Texas Open for the first time since 2010 and shot a 74. Adam Scott failed to make a birdie in his round of 75. Scott is at No. 59 in the world and needs to stay in the top 60 by May 21 to be exempt for the U.S. Open.

    Harris English was in the group at 69, while two-time Texas Open champion Zach Johnson, Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker were among those at 70. Johnson saved his round by going 5 under over his final five holes, starting with a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th hole. He birdied the last three.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

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    Murray was coming off a pair of top 15s at Bay Hill and the Houston Open when his game got away from him last week in the RBC Heritage, and he shot 74-70 to miss the cut. He got that sorted out in the five days between teeing it up in San Antonio.

    He said he was coming down too steep, which meant he would flip his hands and hit a sharp draw or pull out of it and hit it short and right.

    ''I was hitting each club 10 yards shorter than I normally do, and you can't play like that because your caddie is trying to give you a number and a club, and you keep hitting these bad shots or keep coming up short,'' Murray said. ''I got back to the basics with the setup and the takeaway, got my club in a better position at the top, which kind of frees my downswing. Then I can start going at it.''

    Even so, Murray thought he wasted his good start - three birdies in his first six holes - when his bunker shot at No. 7 came out with no spin and rolled off the green into a deep swale. He hit his third short to about 7 feet, but missed the putt and took double bogey.

    ''I would have loved to limit that to a bogey because bogeys don't really kill you - doubles are the ones that now you've got to have an eagle or two birdies to come back with, and out here it's kind of tough to make birdies,'' Murray said. ''But I kept my head. My caddie keeps me very positive out there, that's why I think we could finish 4 under the last nine holes.''

    Only 34 players in the 156-man field managed to break par.

    Horschel missed four birdie chances inside 18 feet on the back nine. What pleased him the most was the way he struck the ball, particularly after his tie for fifth last week at the RBC Heritage. Horschel was one shot behind going into the last round and closed with a 72.

    But he's all about momentum, and he can only hope this is the start of one of his runs. Horschel won the FedEx Cup in 2014 when he finished second and won the final two playoff events.

    ''I'm a big momentum player. I've got to get the train moving forward,'' he said. ''I've always been a guy who gets on a little roll, get that train moving and jump in that winner's circle.''

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    LPGA back in L.A.: Inbee Park leads by 1

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 1:53 am

    LOS ANGELES - Inbee Park's flirtation with retirement is in the rear-view mirror.

    Backed by a large contingent of South Korean fans, Park shot a 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead Thursday in the opening round of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in the LPGA's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

    Showers ended shortly before Park's threesome, including second-ranked Lexi Thompson, teed off at windy Wilshire Country Club just south of Hollywood.

    Using a new putter, Park birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine before a bogey on the par-4 17th. She quickly recovered and rolled in birdie putts on the second and fifth holes to finish off her round.

    ''I never played a tournament outside Korea having this much Korean supporters out,'' Park said. ''I almost feel like I'm playing back home. It's almost like a little Korea.''

    That applies to the food, too, with nearby Koreatown's restaurants beckoning.

    ''Too many,'' Park said.

    The third-ranked Park banished the blade-style putter she used in her Founders Cup victory last month in Phoenix, a playoff loss in the ANA Inspiration and a tie for third last week in Hawaii. She went back to one that feels more comfortable and has brought her success in the past.

    ''Last week was just an awkward week where I missed a lot of short ones and I just wasn't really comfortable with the putter,'' Park said, ''so I just wanted to have a different look.''

    The 29-year-old Hall of Famer recently said she was 50-50 about retiring before returning to the tour in early March after a six-month break. Momentum has been going her way ever since.

    Marina Alex was second. Thompson was one of seven players at 68 in partly sunny and unseasonable temperatures in the low 60s.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    Alex tied Park with a birdie on No. 11. The American dropped a stroke with a bogey on the par-5 13th before rallying with a birdie on No. 14 to share the lead.

    Alex found trouble on the par-4 17th. Her ball crossed over a winding creek, bounced and then rolled into the water, leaving Alex looking for it. Eventually, she salvaged a bogey to drop a shot behind Park. After a bad tee shot on 18, Alex managed a par to close at 67.

    ''I made a lot of the putts that I shouldn't, I wouldn't have expected to make,'' she said. ''I made two great saves on 17 and 18. Kind of got away with some not-so-solid golf shots in the beginning, and I capitalized on some great putts.''

    Thompson returned from a two-week break after finishing tied for 20th at the ANA Inspiration, the year's first major.

    She bogeyed her second hole, the par-4, 401-yard 11th, before settling down and birdieing four of the next eight holes, including the 14th, 15th and 16th.

    ''I changed a little thing that slipped my mind that I was working on earlier in the year,'' said Thompson, declining to share the change in her putting technique. ''I don't want to jinx it.''

    ANA winner Pernilla Lundberg was among those in the logjam after a 68.

    Natalie Gulbis was among five players tied for 10th at 69. Playing sparingly the last two years, Gulbis put together a round that included four birdies and two bogeys.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng struggled to a 74 with five bogeys and two birdies.

    The venerable course with views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory wasn't any kinder to eighth-ranked Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie.

    Both had up-and-down rounds that included three bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 10 for Kerr and five bogeys, including three in a row, for Wie. Wie, ranked 14th, had a few putts that lipped out.

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    Horschel (68) builds on momentum at Valero

    By Will GrayApril 20, 2018, 12:32 am

    Billy Horschel only ever needs to see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

    While some players require a slow ascent from missed cuts to contending on the weekend, Horschel's switches between the two can often be drastic. Last year he missed three straight cuts before defeating Jason Day in a playoff to win the AT&T Byron Nelson, a turnaround that Horschel said "still shocks me to this day."

    The veteran is at it again, having missed five of six cuts prior to last week's RBC Heritage. But a few tweaks quickly produced results, as Horschel tied for fifth at Harbour Town. He wasted no time in building on that momentum with a bogey-free, 4-under 68 to open the Valero Texas Open that left him one shot behind Grayson Murray.

    "I'm a big momentum player. I've got to get the train moving forward," Horschel told reporters Thursday. "I've always been a guy who gets on a little roll, get that train moving and jump into the winner's circle. So yeah, it would have been great to win last week, but it was just nice to play four really good rounds of golf."


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Many big names tend to skip this week's stop at TPC San Antonio, but Horschel has managed to thrive on the difficult layout in recent years. He finished third in both 2013 and 2015, and tied for fourth in 2016.

    With a return next week to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans where he notched his first career win in 2013 and a title defense in Dallas on the horizon, Horschel believes he's turning things around at just the right time.

    "Gets the momentum going, carry it into this week, next week, which I've had a lot of success at," Horschel said. "Really the rest of the year, from here on in I have a lot of really good events I've played well in."

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    Three years later, PXG launches new iron

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 19, 2018, 11:22 pm

    Three years is a long time between launches of club lines, but Bob Parsons, founder and CEO of PXG, says his company had a very good reason for waiting that long to introduce its second-generation irons.

    “Three years ago, when we introduced our first generation 0311 iron, we made a commitment that we would not release a product unless it was significantly better than our existing product,” Parsons said. “:Our GEN2 irons are better than our GEN1 irons in every respect. We believe it’s the best iron ever made, and the second-best iron ever made is our GEN1 iron.”

    PXG’s 0311 GEN2 irons, which officially went on sale today, feature what the company says is the world’s thinnest clubface. They have a forged 8620 soft carbon steel body and PXG’s signature weighting technology. The hollow clubheads are filled with a new polymer material that PXG says not only dampens vibration, but also produces higher ball speeds and thus more distance.

    The irons come in four “collections” – Tour Performance, Players, Xtreme Forgiveness and Super Game Improvement.

    Cost is $400 per iron, or $500 for PXG’s “Extreme Dark” finish. Price includes custom fitting. For more information, visit www.pxg.com.