Stricker shoots second 63 for lead at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
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FORT WORTH, Texas ' From its Ben Hogan trophy room to its status as the longest-running event at its original site, the Colonial Country Club is among the most venerable stops on the PGA Tour.
 
This week, the ol course is playing like a pitch-and-putt.
 
Steve Stricker shot his second straight 63 on Friday morning, giving him a 14-under 126 total that set records for 36 holes and for any consecutive rounds at the Crowne Plaza Invitational ' yet was barely enough to top a leaderboard filled with players taking advantage of light wind and pillow-soft greens.
 
Tim Clark, Vijah Singh and Shaun OHair shot 64s on Friday and were lined up right behind Stricker: Clark was one shot back, Singh one more and OHair yet another.
 
Vijay Singh shot a second-round 6-under 64, and sits two shots off the lead. (Getty Images)
Jason Day (65) was 10 under, Woody Austin (68) was another stroke back, and Ryan Palmer (63) was 8 under.
 
The weather, for two days in a row ' well, all week since weve been here ' has been unbelievable, Stricker said. Wind is what this course needs to get difficult, but we havent seen it yet. I kind of like whats going on right now.
 
Clarks two-round total of 127 matched the previous best for back-to-back rounds set by Justin Leonard in 03. Singhs two-round total of 128 matched the previous midway mark set by Kenny Perry in 2005. And theyre only good for footnotes because of Strickers 126.
 
Id rather have the trophy, Stricker said. Were only halfway through. Id like to keep making putts. That solves a lot of problems.
 
Colonial members can only shake their heads at these scores, especially after undertaking course alterations that were supposed to make things tougher, not easier. Some West Texas gusts would help show whether they miscalculated or if it really is just the calm conditions.
 
The cut line was further evidence of how tame the course is playing. It was even par (140). To put that in perspective, par wouldve beaten Hogan the last two times he won it, in 1959 and 53; he was 1 under in all three of his other victories here.
 
This course really rewards good play, Clark said. It favors everyone.
 
Singh is here for the first time since 2002, having withdrawn right after criticizing Annika Sorenstams spot in the field in 2003 then citing conflicts overseas for his continued absence.
 
Hes been fondly welcomed back by the galleries and has made himself right at home. Hes second-longest off the tee and has taken the sixth-fewest putts, leading Stricker in both categories.
 
Im really happy with the way Im swinging the club, Singh said. Im doing everything pretty good right now. Thats a good feeling.
 
He finds the conditions a little too good. Hes hoping for some extra heat to firm up greens that he finds too soft and too slow.
 
If you can hit the fairways, you can really attack the pin because you know theyre going to stop, he said.
 
Palmers low round pushed him up to seventh. It meant even more because this is home course and the gallery was filled with friends and family. He finished with a pair of birdies, capping it with a 16-footer that left him a bit emotional.
 
To put on a show for them was nice, it was unbelievable, he said. Ive been waiting for this day to come for a long time this year.
 
Chad Campbell hurt his calf so badly that others had to brace him, then he went down to the ground, while playing the 17th hole. The Masters runner-up withdrew, and hopes to be healed in time for the U.S. Open in three weeks.
 
Rory Sabbatini shot 69 to make the cut by a stroke. Coming off a win at the Byron Nelson last weekend, he has a long way to go this weekend if hes going to join Hogan as the only players to sweep the Dallas and Fort Worth events in the same year.
 
Ian Baker-Finch wont be playing this weekend, not after six bogeys and a double bogey left him with a 78.
 
Thats just lack of play, said Baker-Finch, who hadnt played a PGA Tour event since the 2001 Colonial, and he missed the cut then, too.
 
The 48-year-old Australian left the television booth to tee it up again this week in celebration of the 20-year anniversary of his Colonial victory.
 
Maybe when Im 50 Ill be able to play on the Champions Tour, he said. But Im happy to get back to the booth.
 
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    DJ triples last hole, opens with 76 at Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 6:18 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Dustin Johnson’s chances of winning The Open are likely already over.

    The world No. 1 hit his tee shot out of bounds on 18 on his way to a triple bogey, capping a miserable day that left him with a 5-over 76, 10 shots off the lead and in danger of missing the cut.

    Johnson didn’t talk to reporters afterward, but there wasn’t much to discuss.

    He didn’t make a birdie until the par-5 14th, bogeyed 16 and then made 7 on Carnoustie's home hole when his tee shot caromed out of bounds left.

    Johnson has missed the cut only once in nine previous appearances at The Open – in his first try in 2009.

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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”