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DJ, Hossler share 36-hole Pebble Beach lead

By Doug Ferguson, Associated PressFebruary 10, 2018, 1:06 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - Dustin Johnson already was feeling good about his game heading over to the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Another day of gorgeous weather in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am made him feel even better.

Johnson ran off three straight birdies to start his round, made four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn and wound up with a 7-under 64 on Friday to share the 36-hole lead with Beau Hossler.

''Probably my lowest by about seven shots at Monterey Peninsula, so I was happy with that,'' Johnson said. ''It's probably the first time, too, I think we have ever played over there with nice weather. So it was definitely a good day.''

He only slightly exaggerated, but not by much. In four times playing at Monterey Peninsula since it joined the rotation, he broke 70 only one time and twice shot 73. The evidence of the different day he faced came early. Johnson hit a 9-iron on the 176-yard hole that plays downhill. A year ago, he hit 4-iron. On the 434-yard 13th hole a year ago, he ''roasted'' a driver and a 3-iron. This year, he hit 3-wood and had 85 yards left.

''But I was right behind the tree,'' he said.

Hossler, the PGA Tour rookie best known in these parts for contending on the weekend at Olympic Club in the 2012 U.S. Open when he was 17, was flawless at Spyglass Hill in a round of 67 to join Johnson at 12 under par.

Hossler has not made a bogey this week. He holed an 18-foot par putt on the 10th hole at Pebble on Thursday. For his second round, he never came close to bogey, hitting all but two greens in regulation and having standard chips on those.

Hossler heads over to Monterey Peninsula, while Johnson spends his last two days at Pebble Beach.

They were two shots ahead to par on Julian Suri (67 at Monterey Peninsula) and Troy Merritt (67 at Spyglass Hill).

Lurking another shot behind were Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

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Mickelson hasn't won since the British Open in 2013 at Muirfield, and he finally started to see some reasonable results after a sluggish start this year. Mickelson was tied for the lead at one point when he ran off three straight birdies at Monterey Peninsula, though he made only two more over his final 11 holes for a 65.

Rahm was at Pebble Beach and holed his share of 6-footers for birdie for a 67. Just as big was the 8-foot putt he made on the 18th hole for par when he hit 3-wood to the right behind a tree, pitched nicely under the limbs and over the bunker just through the green, and then his chip ran downhill by the hole.

Jason Day had a 65 at Monterey Peninsula and was in the group at 9 under that included Steve Stricker (66 at Monterey Peninsula).

Jordan Spieth found some touch with the putter to make five birdies on his opening nine holes at Monterey Peninsula, and he wound up with a 66, though he remained seven shots behind Johnson.

''I saw a couple putts go in early and normally that's all I need to kind of stop skiing uphill and start to turn downhill,'' Spieth said.

Rory McIlroy went downhill.

He was hanging round at 5 under, not far from the lead, when he drove to the front of the par-4 fifth hole at Monterey Peninsula, leaving him a 70-foot eagle putt. He ran that about 6 feet past the hole, and then missed his birdie putt. But then he missed his par putt from 3 feet, and it ran about 6 feet by the hole, and he missed that one. That's five putts for a double bogey, and two more bogeys led to a 74 and left him in danger of missing the cut.

Hossler, who played at Texas, is part of the new generation who thought they could take on the best from when they were in college. He's not one to be intimidated by the world's No. 1 player (they are represented by the same manager), and that won't be an issue on Saturday, anyway.

Johnson is part of the celebrity rotation at Pebble Beach. Hossler figures to be in relative solitude at Monterey Peninsula.

''I try and not let those things affect me,'' Hossler said. ''But yeah, playing on a moving day-type day, not at the home track for the tournament, that's certainly different really most weeks out here.''

Johnson was full of good news on Friday - his 64 for a share of the lead as he goes for a third victory at Pebble Beach, and he found out that his dad bowled a 300. The world's No. 1 golfer grew up with bowling and said he once had a chance at a perfect game.

''I bowled 11 (strikes) in a row,'' he said, breaking into a smile, ''and then I gassed it.''

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OB tee shot, bunker trouble dooms Rahm to MC

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:24 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The key to surviving Carnoustie is avoiding the bunkers.

Jon Rahm found three bunkers to close out the front nine Friday, the start of a triple bogey-double-bogey run that led to a second-round 78 and missed cut at The Open.

“All of them were as bad a lie as they could have been,” he said. “Besides that, things didn’t happen. I can’t give an explanation, really. I don’t know.”

Rahm’s troubles started on the seventh hole, a par 4 with a steady left-to-right wind. Out of bounds loomed left, and Rahm, who primarily plays a cut shot, hadn’t missed left all week. This time, his ball didn’t curve, and the OB tee shot led to a triple.

“Whenever I start missing shots to the left,” he said, “it’s really hard for me to play.”  

After a career-best fourth-place finish at the Masters, Rahm has now missed the cut in consecutive majors.

“Right now I’m not in any mental state to think about what happened, to be honest,” he said.

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Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

Bernhard Langer did not.

The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

"You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

"I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

"I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.