Tolliver Leads Webber Nearly Kills Fan

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
2004 American Century ChampionshipSTATELINE, Nev. -- Former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver birdied the last three holes to take a narrow lead over former hockey player Dan Quinn on Saturday in the second round of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe.
Tolliver nearly chipped in from a bunker for an eagle on the par-5 16th, hit within 7 feet on the par-3 17th, then drove the ball 330 yards on the 501-yard, par-5 18th before hitting his second shot within 25 feet and two-putting for a 1-under 71.
He has 51 points in the modified Stableford scoring system that puts a premium on eagles and birdies, followed by Quinn with 49, actor Jack Wagner with 47 and former NHL star Mario Lemieux with 44 heading into Sunday's final round.
'I hung in there and did all right down the stretch but messed up quite a few pretty easy shots,' said Tolliver, a two-time winner and defending champion in the $500,000 tournament at the 6,972-yard Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
'I'm just going to try to not get drunk tonight. It wore me out last night,' he said about an outdoor concert he attended Friday night by John Mellencamp. 'I may go home and watch Country Music Television.'
Quinn, Wagner and Lemieux all shot 70 -- the best rounds of the day. But Quinn came an inch short of dropping a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and missed a 10-footer for eagle on the 18th, and Wagner had a bogey on No. 17 when he missed a 6-footer for par after grazing the hole on a 40-foot birdie attempt.
'I think Billy Joe proved today that the last three holes are what makes this tournament so special because he finished birdie, birdie, birdie,' Wagner said. 'It was a very good round for me to hang in there with these guys.'
Quinn, who has won the tournament four times, said he didn't play well.
'But I somehow scraped together a 2-under round,' he said. 'It will be wide open (Sunday). With this format, it will come down to the last six or eight holes out there.'
Lemieux predicted the final three holes would determine the winner.
'It looks like it is going to take a lot of birdies again,' he said. 'I didn't expect to be in this position. This is always a great tournament for us, great competition and the setting is awesome.'
Many of the past and present sports stars and entertainers in the field gamble and party in the Tahoe casinos into the wee hours during the weekend. But Wagner said he may have an advantage because 15-year-old son Peter is caddying for him this week.
'It's movie night. It will probably save me a couple thousand dollars not going to the casinos,' Wagner said.
The scoring system awards six points for eagle, three points for birdie, one point for par, none for bogey and minus two for double bogey or worse.
Many of the contestants have their sights set lower than the $100,000 winner's check. Kevin Nealon's backers wore T-shirts that read 'Team Nealon' on the front and 'Shooting for the middle of the pack' on the back.
The biggest gallery on the course, more than 200 people, followed Chris Weber and Charles Barkley, who are wagering $50,000 for charity for the second year in a row on who will do worse.
The crowd roared when Barkley sank a 45-foot putt for a rare par on the par-3, 17th, where two dozen boats anchored along the hole were turned with bows facing away from the shore after actor Matthew Settle sliced a shot into one on Friday and broke its windshield.
On No. 18, Webber chided the crowd when his second shot wide right ended up in a sandy waste area.
'I was hoping you guys were going to kick it back in the fairway,' said Webber, who has minus-48 points to last-place Barkley's minus-53.
Webber's third shot smacked into the back of Jeff Ortega of Rocklin, Calif., who was standing off to the right less than 10 yards away with his son, Tony.
'I almost killed you!' Webber shouted as he rushed over to apologize.
Ortega said he probably would have preferred to have been hit by Barkley 'because Webber hits it a little harder than Barkley.'
'But hey, I got a handshake,' Ortega said.
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

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    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

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    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”