Singh's early 63 holds up to lead Greenbrier

By Associated PressJuly 5, 2012, 11:40 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Vijay Singh and Jeff Maggert sent reminders that they're still able to compete with the younger crowd.

Singh had his best round in six months, shooting a 7-under 63 on Thursday in the Greenbrier Classic to take a one-stroke lead over Maggert, Jonathan Byrd and Martin Flores – and leave Tiger Woods eight shots behind.

''Gosh, I don't know where that came from,'' the 49-year-old Singh said. ''I've been playing pretty good golf for a while, but just never got any scoring going. But today seemed I hit it close and drove the ball really well, hit a lot of greens and made some nice putts.''

Last week at the tough layout at Congressional, only seven players posted first-round scores in the 60s.


Mosier: Tiger has much ground to make up

Tiger Tracker: Recap his round shot by shot

Photos: The Greenbrier Classic


Sixty-two players broke par Thursday on the Old White TPC course, with the greens far more forgiving than last year when they were reseeded and Scott Stallings won at 10 under.

Woods wasn't one of them. Coming off a victory Sunday in the AT&T National, he struggled with his putter in a 1-over 71 in his final tuneup for the British Open in two weeks.

Saying the greens rolled slower than those in his last three tournaments, Woods needed 31 putts on the course he played for the first time Wednesday.

''I was a little bit off with my game, and on top of that I didn't have the speed of these greens at all,'' said Woods, the Tour leader this year with three victories. ''I missed literally every single putt high today.''

Singh had his best effort since an 8-under 64 in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January.

Singh is playing in his ninth tournament in 10 weeks with two top-20 finishes in that span. Last week, he also got off to a fast start but shot 81 in the final round and tied for 49th.

Something clicked Thursday, when he made six birdies on the back nine, finishing with four straight.

''Hopefully it keeps going,'' Singh said. ''I don't feel tired. I feel really energized. I've been working really hard on my game, so it's nice to see something happen.''

Singh earned the last of his 34 PGA Tour wins four years ago and will be eligible to join the Champions Tour in February.

Maggert, a year younger than Singh, has had to earn his PGA Tour card through qualifying school in two of the last three years. He hasn't won since the 2006 St. Jude Classic and missed the cut in more than half his tournaments this year, including last week.

Although he feels he has a disadvantage off the tee compared with younger players on the 7,274-yard Old White, Maggert used strong iron play to make four birdies on his front nine.

Asked to describe his birdie putts, Maggert joked, ''At my age, it's hard to remember – short-term memory's going.''

He didn't need a big measuring stick – three of his six birdies overall were from less than 10 feet in a bogey-free round.

''I feel really comfortable here,'' Maggert said. ''There's a lot of guys out here in their 40s, late 40s, that can really play some good golf still. So it's not surprising to see some of the old guys up on the leaderboard.''

Byrd has five career wins and already has five top-10 finishes this year. He hadn't played since the U.S. Open and fought through a nagging cough to finish birdie-bogey-birdie Thursday.

Flores had a rare bogey-free round that was his second best of the year. He spent the majority of 2011 on the Nationwide Tour, now called the Web.com Tour.

Playing alongside U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson and Steve Stricker and starting on No. 10, Woods birdied two of his first three holes in his first Greenbrier Classic appearance.

On the par-5 17th, he drove into a hazard, took a penalty stroke and three-putted from 20 feet for double bogey.

Phil Mickelson matched Woods with a 71. Mickelson vowed to focus more on golf this time after taking advantage of the resort's numerous amenities with his family last year and missing the cut.

''I didn't play that bad (Thursday),'' Mickelson said. ''But I made some mistakes there that were just a little sloppy.''

Simpson, J.B. Holmes, Andres Romero and Garth Mulroy shot 65. K.J. Choi was among a group of seven at 66. Stallings birdied his final three holes for a 67.


 

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Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on jarrodlylegolf.com. ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.


Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship


Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”