Shark Attack at Merrill Lynch Shootout

By Associated PressDecember 7, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Merrill Lynch ShootoutNAPLES, Fla. - Woody Austin and Mark Calcavecchia shot an 8-under 64 in modified alternate-shot play Friday for a share of the first-round lead with Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman in the Merrill Lynch Shootout.
 
Tournament host Greg Norman and Bubba Watson were a stroke back, and defending champions Jerry Kelly and Rod Pampling opened with a 66 on the Norman-designed Tiburon Golf Club course.
 
After a best-ball round Saturday, the event will finish Sunday with a scramble.
 
The teams of Scott Hoch-Kenny Perry, Steve Elkington-Scott McCarron, Anthony Kim-Mark O'Meara, Charles Howell III-Nick Price, Brad Faxon-Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco-Camilo Villegas opened with 68s. Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink had a 69, and Fred Couples and John Daly were last in the 12-team event after a 70.
 
Funk, one of the more accurate drivers in golf, and Sluman, known for his strong iron play, made for a perfect pairing in the modified alternate shot, the more difficult of the three formats in the unofficial PGA TOUR event.
 
'After the start we had, we didn't really feel down about anything, but just kept plugging along, plugging along, and finally the tide turned and we started hitting it close,' said Funk, a winner this year on both the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.
 
'If I didn't have Fred as a partner, I would probably still be on the second hole looking to make a triple bogey or something,' said Sluman, the tournament winner with Hank Kuehne in 2003 and 2004. 'He's the all-time great partner. You know he's going to drive it in every fairway out here, and he did.'
 
Funk and Sluman, a rookie this year on the Champions Tour, overcame a poor start. They were 1 over after five, and Sluman had to make a 6-footer to avoid a double bogey on No. 3. But Funk slid in an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 6.
 
'I just barely limped one in the hole,' Funk said.
 
That started a run where the two played the final 13 holes in 9 under. Sluman hit the approach shot and Funk made the putt on Nos. 6, 7, 8, 11, 14 and 17, and they switched it with Funk's approach on Nos. 12, 13 and 16.
 
Calcavecchia, playing in his 14th Shootout, and Austin, who had never been invited to an offseason tour event before, stayed out of trouble and birdied six of the final nine holes and just missed on a couple of others.
 
'We were in such good shape every hole,' Austin said.
 
Norman, who has won his own event once, and Watson birdied Nos. 14, 15 and 18 to get within a stroke.
 
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    Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

    By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

    So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

    She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

    So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

    “I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

    So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.


    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


    “Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

    Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

    World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

    “When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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    Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

    Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

    He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament



    In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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    River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

    By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

    Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

    Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

    “It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

    While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

    It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

    “I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

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    First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

    By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

    It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

    Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.