Tiger Takes Command at East Lake

By Associated PressSeptember 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- A stunning six-hole stretch that Tiger Woods played in 7 under par gave him control of the TOUR Championship on Friday. He followed that with nine holes of mediocrity, which gave everyone else a chance.
 
Tearing apart a defenseless course at East Lake, Woods made five straight birdies and capped off his amazing run with a 70-foot eagle putt on the par-5 ninth hole to make the turn in 28. But he went five holes before his next birdie, and he had to settle for a 7-under 63 that gave him a three-shot lead over Woody Austin.
 
Woods was at 13-under 127, his best start to a tournament since he was 15-under through 36 holes at Firestone in 2000, which he went on to win by 11 shots.
 
At least at East Lake, he has some competition.
 
Austin had his second straight 65 and will play in the final group with Woods, thankful he wasn't too far behind.
 
'He's not hard to beat if you're playing as well and you're right there,' Austin said. 'But if you let him get in front of you, like I said, he's hard to catch.'
 
Not hard to beat?
 
Remember, it was Austin who suggested he outplayed Woods in the second round of the PGA Championship, the day Woods tied a major championship record with 63 and Austin shot 70.
 
Austin went on to finish second at Southern Hills, and he'll get a chance to play with the world's No. 1 player on Saturday in presumably sunny conditions. Woods and 19 other players had to return Friday morning to complete the first round, and he wound up play 25 holes and finishing in time to beat the rumble of thunder.
 
Woods' string of birdies, which included a bunker shot he holed from 60 feet on No. 5, filled East Lake with plenty of electricity. But it might have taken all the drama out of the FedExCup finale.
 
Woods is atop the playoff standings, a victory would give him the cup and the $10 million prize. Steve Stricker, who needs to win to capture the cup, shot 67 and was nine shots behind. Phil Mickelson, who can only claim the FedExCup if he wins the TOUR Championship and Woods finishes worse than second, was seven shots behind after a 66.
 
Only a half-dozen players were within five shots of Woods, not a good sign considering Woods hasn't lost a 36-hole lead in three years.
 
Tim Clark followed his record-tying 62 at East Lake with a 69 and in the group at 9-under 131 that included defending champion Adam Scott (66) and Mark Calcavecchia (66). K.J. Choi, still mathematically alive for the FedExCup, had a 65 and moved to 8-under 132 along with Sergio Garcia (64).
 
Calcavecchia was atop the leaderboard at 9 under with a birdie on the 11th hole when he started hearing big roars on the other side of the golf course, and the video board kept showing Woods stretching the lead.
 
And what did he think about the 28 on the front?
 
'I was trying to figure out which holes he parred, actually,' Calcavecchia said. 'First three? He got off to a bad start. He could be in a slump. I noticed he made a bogey. I think he's losing it now.'
 
Woods did open with three pars, but his approach into 10 feet for birdie on No. 4 changed everything.
 
From the front left bunker, 60 feet from a hole he couldn't see, Woods' blasted out and the ball bounced three times before dropping into the cup for eagle. The next three birdies were a product of good shots to soft greens, the ball making a 'SPLAT' each time it landed.
 
And then the hole got in the way again.
 
He reached the 609-yard ninth hole in two, still 70 feet from the cup, and hammered the eagle putt. When it banged into the back of the cup, all Woods could do was cover his eyes as if to apologize.
 
'Pure luck,' Woods said. 'If you could have been right behind the golf ball and see how that thing was bouncing all over the place, it was actually quite funny.'
 
Stricker played a solid front nine and felt outclassed.
 
'I played pretty good,' he said. 'I was 2 under and I'm 5 down. You just start thinking, 'Jeepers, what just happened?' He's got a lot of offense, if you know what I mean. You're just waiting for that run of holes, and then he takes off.'
 
Stricker told caddie Tom Mitchell on the 10th tee that they might be witness to a 59, only it never crossed Woods' mind. He didn't even know he had shot a 28 on the front until he signed his card.
 
'You just play shot for shot,' Woods said. 'You place the golf ball and you don't worry about anything else. I didn't know I shot 7 under on the front nine. I don't know if it's a zone or not. I just felt that the rhythm was good.'
 
The swing was pretty good, too.
 
Those thinking about a 59 must have given up when Woods made par on the 10th and 11th, and hit the slope of a bunker on his approach from the rough on No. 12, leading to a bogey. He finished with an 18-foot birdie that gave him a three-shot cushion over Austin.
 
Woods has never lost a PGA TOUR event when leading by more than one shot going into the final round, although he still has one more round for that streak to be activated. He is 29-6 with a 36-hole lead, last losing from that position at the 2004 Byron Nelson.
 
The way he was going, the TOUR Championship could have effectively ended before the weekend.
 
'Luckily for all of us, he kind of slowed down a little bit and kept a tournament of it,' Scott said.
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”