Toms Shares Top Spot at Travelers

By Associated PressJune 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
Travelers ChampionshipCROMWELL, Conn. -- David Toms shot a 5-under-par 65 Friday to move into a tie for the second-round lead at a blustery and rainy Travelers Championship.
 
Toms, who has had five top-10 finishes this year, shares the lead at 8 under with journeyman Jay Williamson, who fired a 66 for the second day in a row while playing in just his second PGA TOUR event of the year.
 
Toms, who started on the back nine, went to 9 under after an eagle on the par-4 second hole, pitching in his approach from 84 yards. But after a 21-minute rain delay, he bogeyed the seventh hole to fall back into the tie.
 
He said he failed to adjust to the slower greens after the rain.
 
'I missed puts at six, seven, eight and nine and they were all on the low side, not quite hard enough,' he said.
 
Williamson closed his round by making birdie on the 17th and the 18th holes while playing into a 25 mph wind, with gusts at more than 35 mph.
 
'Obviously I drove it well,' Williamson said. 'I mean, you cannot play a day like today out of the rough.'
 
Rain delayed play briefly for the second straight day.
 
Williamson, ranked seventh on the Nationwide Tour money list, would earn a PGA TOUR exemption with a win here. At 40, he said he constantly thinks about whether playing the game is still worthwhile.
 
'I've learned that there is one place to play golf for a living, and that is on this TOUR,' he said. 'I'd much rather go to Flint (the next PGA TOUR stop) than Peek n' Peak (the next Nationwide event).'
 
Playing Hartford on a sponsor's exemption, Williamson missed the cut in his other TOUR appearance this year at the Honda Classic in March.
 
Williamson, a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, used a little Yankee ingenuity along the way, too.
 
He began this day with a screw loose -- on his driver. He consulted a rules official on his second hole, who helped him out with a Swiss Army knife.
 
'Turned out we got it fixed and I was off to the races,' he said.
 
First-round leader Hunter Mahan followed up his 62, with a 1-over 71, dropping to 7 under.
 
Mahan lost the lead on the seventh hole, a 443-yarder straight into the teeth of the wind. His drive landed in a fairway bunker on the right and his approach dropped about 40 yards short of the green. Mahan's chip went by the hole about 9 feet and he missed the comeback for par, which dropped him to 7 under for the tournament.
 
'It's a bit gusty out there,' he said. 'It makes going after pins tougher, hard to get your distance better and just control is tough.'
 
Olin Browne, the 1998 champion here, finished at 3 under for the day and is two strokes off the lead. Browne, who also started on the back nine, bogeyed his first two holes on the day, but eagled his next two -- his first two eagles of the year.
 
He said his wedge approach on the 412-yard 12th hole got him going.
 
'Everyone is yelling, 'Go in,' and usually that one ends up two to three feet behind the hole, and you think, 'Man that was close.' But this one dropped.'
 
Former U.S. Open champ Corey Pavin also shot a 66, despite three-putting the 18th, to move into contention at 4-under par. Pavin, who has played in this tournament 14 other times, said the veterans such as he and Browne definitely have an advantage in knowing how to play this course on a windy day.
 
'I think you have to be patient, and I think patience comes with old people like us,' he said.
 
The course wasn't as kind to Masters champ Zach Johnson, who shot a 74 and will miss the cut. Vijay Singh shot a 71, and is 1 under for the tournament. That puts him in a tie for 34th place.
 
Defending champion J.J. Henry is also one of the 79 players to make it to the weekend, slipping in at the cut line of 1 over.
 
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.


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    Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

    Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

    But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

    Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

    “It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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    After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

    In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

    No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

    Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

    “I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

    Let it go.

    Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

    “I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

    It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

    During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

    Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

    “It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

    McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

    It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

    “I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

    The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

    Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

    The only thing left to do?

    Let it go.

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    Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.

    Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.

    Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    There is, however, one running wager.

    “Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”

    Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.

    Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.

    “I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.