De Jonge leads by 1 over group including Spieth, Stenson

By Doug FergusonMarch 14, 2015, 12:06 am

 PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) - Brendon de Jonge rolled in a pair of long putts on his way to a 2-under 69 and the 36-hole lead Friday in the Valspar Championship. Based on the holes remaining, he is halfway home to his first PGA Tour title.

Considering how many players are still in the mix - essentially everyone who made the cut - the weekend might feel even longer.

Only seven shots separated de Jonge from the players who made the cut on the number, the first time the first-to-worst gap has been that small since the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George's.

"Obviously, gives you a good chance for the weekend," de Jonge said. He was at 6-under 136, the highest score to lead after 36 holes at Innisbrook in six years.


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De Jonge said that after he finished his round in the morning, uncertain how hard the wind would blow and who might get hot with the putter. The wind died, no one could sustain a great round without a few mistakes and he had the 36-hole lead for the fourth time in his career.

But not by much.

Jordan Spieth made a birdie putt from the fringe on the 18th for a 4-under 67 to match the best score of the round. Henrik Stenson, playing the Copperhead course for the first time and apparently enjoying it, made eagle on his first hole and wound up with a 70.

They were one shot behind, along with Ryan Moore (68), Kevin Streelman (69) and Derek Ernst (70).

Ernst, who had only one round in the 60s this year, ran off five straight birdies around the turn to reach 8 under par until he started missing greens, missing putts and making bogeys to fall one shot behind de Jonge.

"Starting the day if you told me I would have shot 1 under I would have been very happy with it," Ernst said.

Lucas Glover had a 69 and joined Moore and Streelman as the only players to break 70s for both rounds. He was two shots behind, along with Sean O'Hair (72), Ricky Barnes (72) and Ian Poulter (70). Poulter hasn't been to Innisbrook since 2010, and he was asked what had kept him away.

"Because I'm a buffoon," Poulter said. "I mean, stupid. This golf course I can compete on because it's fiddly, it's position off the tee, small greens, need to chip it well, good pace putting when you're above the hole. All those things I do well."

Poulter recalls the greens being sloppy the last time he played, and so he instructed his caddie to never allow him to return. Seven holes into his pro-am round, he said he told his caddie, "What the ... was I doing not being here?"

Justin Thomas (72) and Vijay Singh (70) were in the group at 3-under 139, with Luke Donald (68), Matt Kuchar (70) and Patrick Reed (68) among those four behind.

Adam Scott is about the only guy who doesn't have a chance because he didn't make the cut. Scott missed four putts from inside 5 feet on his way to a 75 and missed the cut by three shots. It's the first time he had the weekend off at a golf tournament since the 2012 Byron Nelson Championship.

What makes Innisbrook so mysterious is that players are irritated by the shots they left out on the course, only to realize they're not in bad shape. Such was the case of Stenson, who made a 25-foot eagle on his opening hole, a 20-foot birdie putt on his final hole and nothing but pars and two bogeys in between.

"I didn't get it close enough to give myself too many birdies," Stenson said. "All in all, pretty pleased."

Spieth rammed in a 20-foot birdie on the third hole that he said left a ball mark on the back of the cup. So that was a good break. He made a 30-foot birdie on No. 6 and rolled it in from 18 feet on the final hole. That was enough to put him in the final group, even if he's not sure how he got there.

"This is one of those random places where you feel like you should have shot better than you did, but you're not out of it," he said. "You can make birdies. The problem is there is trouble around every corner."

There was even trouble in the fairway. Early in the round, Charley Hoffman stopped when he saw a 10-foot alligator walking across the third fairway.

"We weren't going anywhere fast," Hoffman said. "And neither was he."

DIVOTS: Jonathan Byrd made a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th hole, but he ended up missing the cut for the first time in 12 trips to Innisbrook. ... Ernie Els snapped an iron across a pine tree trying to play a shot on the 16th hole. He recovered fine, except for a three-putt from 6 feet for double bogey. He missed the cut.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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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.”