Woods trying to close out victory Down Under

By Associated PressNovember 14, 2009, 7:56 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Tiger Woods has been saying since he first showed upon the PGA Tour that he plays only to win.

Lately, he has been making just as many headlines when he loses.

In the 268 official tournaments that Woods has played around the world as apro, he has never gone three consecutive events without winning when he held atleast a share of the 36-hole lead.

That streak was in jeopardy Sunday in the Australian Masters, where Woodslooked to be in control with a three-shot lead until stumbling to an even-par 72in the third round to fall into a three-way tie with the Australian duo of GregChalmers and James Nitties .

For that, Woods was thankful.

“I played myself into a tie for the lead, and I could have easily playedmyself straight out of the tournament,” Woods said Saturday. “But I grinded, Ihung in there and turned it around. That’s a huge positive.”

He took a lousy session on the practice range onto the course at KingstonHeath, and it never got any better.

Woods blocked a 3-iron on the opening par 5 and failed to make birdie forthe first time all week. He came up short of the third green with a wedge andthree-putted from the fringe for a bogey. He missed the seventh fairway well tothe right, and short-sided himself in a bunker on the eighth, both times makingunlikely pars.

The low point came at the 13th, where he was so angry after another shotsailed to the right that he slammed his driver into the ground and it bounced upand into the gallery. A surprised fan caught the club and returned it to him.

“That was my mistake,” Woods said. “I got hot after a bad tee shot andlet go of the club.”

The reaction will be far worse if he fails to win the Australian Mastersafter going into the final round tied with two players who are not among thegolf’s elite.

Nitties just finished his rookie season on the PGA Tour and easily kept hiscard, although he is No. 223 in the world ranking. Chalmers, who hasn’t won inAustralia in 11 years, also finished among the top 100 on the PGA Tour moneylist and is No. 194 in the world. His goal this year was not to return toQ-school.

Two shots behind them were Jason Dufner and Cameron Percy .

Woods was the 36-hole leader at the Tour Championship only to be passed inthe third round by Kenny Perry and beaten in the final round by Phil Mickelson .Then came the HSBC Champions last week in Shanghai, where Woods was tied withNick Watney after 36 holes, both were passed by Mickelson and Lefty went on towin again.

In the Australian Masters, where Woods faced lesser competition, he has farmore to lose.

Of his six victories this year, the easiest might have been the Buick Open.He had the lead going into the final round, but 12 of the 13 players within fiveshots of the lead were ranked outside the top 100. He had more to gain than hedid to lose.

When that was mentioned to Woods after he won by three shots, he agreed.

“Plus, you had a golf course where anyone could get hot and go low,” hesaid at the time.

That probably won’t be the case at Kingston Heath, which can be difficult tonavigate in only a slight breeze. This is old-style golf, more about angles thanpower. Whenever Woods missed a shot over the first two days, he at least missedon the right side. Not so on Saturday, when he had to work for pars and droppedtwo shots, usually by hitting in the one place he couldn’t.

“I hit some really good shots out there, but also I hit some terrible golfshots,” Woods said. “It was either-or. There was no gray area. I didn’t reallyhave any borderline shots.”

Chalmers and Nitties don’t have the pedigree, which is not to suggest theyare incapable.

Nitties played bogey-free in the third round, although he cringed after somany putts that burned the edge of the cup. Chalmers rolled in some big putts inthe middle of his round to take the lead, only to give it back with two shortmisses at the end.

They were at 10-under 206 and will be in the final group before a hometowncrowd.

The gallery has turned out in record numbers this week, their first chanceto see Woods in Australia since 1998, no guarantee of seeing him again until thePresidents Cup in 2011 at Royal Melbourne, assuming he qualifies.

No one was sure what to expect in terms of a gallery favorite Sunday.

At a World Golf Championship in Spain a decade ago, Woods battled down thestretch with Miguel Angel Jimenez , and the Spanish gallery cheered when Woodshit a chip into the water on the 17th at Valderrama and made triple bogey. Theyroot for their own in Spain.

Nitties believes the gallery will root for a good show.

“You can hear the roars are huge for Tiger and the roars are huge for us ifwe hole a putt, which is awesome,” he said. “I wouldn’t like it if everyonewas going against Tiger or an American guy or a European guy. Obviously, Tigergets massive roars because he does special stuff. But the crowd is really hopingthat we do well, and hoping that Tiger does well.”

It’s the golfing public that might not go so easy on Woods if he doesn’twin.

Alas, he is not the only one facing such pressure. One online betting agencyin Australia was so sure Woods was going to win that it paid out all its bets—$150,000—after he took a three-shot lead after the second round.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.