KAPALUA, Hawaii – The winners assembled at Kapalua are pampered like no other stop on the PGA Tour.
They get a free room at the Ritz-Carlton with magnificent views of the Maui coastline, amenities that include a butler-drawn bath and spa treatment. It’s the easiest tournament all year to win with only 28 players, and no cut means free money.
Hardly anyone expects paradise inside the ropes, too.
On another day of relatively calm conditions Friday, Lucas Glover had another hot stretch that carried him to an 8-under 65 in the SBS Championship, giving him a three-shot lead over John Rollins and the lowest 36-hole score at Kapalua in five years.
“We were talking about this at breakfast,” he said. “Nobody who’s been to Hawaii has seen it this calm. This is nice for us. We get to be a little more aggressive. Club selection is a lot easier. I wouldn’t mind seeing it come up and having some goofy stuff go on, just for fun.”
Glover couldn’t help but notice on his way to the Plantation Course on Friday that the Pacific Ocean had rarely looked so still, an expanse of deep blue without the raging white caps produced by the typical trade win. Rollins watches this tournament on TV when he’s not eligible, and he usually sees flags and trousers whipping in the wind.
“You come over with the mindset the wind is going to howl,” Rollins said. “If I’m home watching in on TV, guys pants are whipping in the wind, they’re hitting short clubs from crazy yardages, they’re defensive on every shot. To get rounds like this is fantastic.”
That doesn’t make winning any easier.
Glover was at 15-under 131 and will be in the last pairing Saturday with Rollins, who played bogey-free for a 66.
The group at 11-under 135 featured defending champion Geoff Ogilvy (66), Sean O’Hair (67), Matt Kuchar (68) and Martin Laird (68), with Masters champion Angel Cabrera slowing after a good start for a 68 that put him five shots behind.
If not for Glover’s big surge, it could have been really tight.
Early in the second round, 11 players were tied for the lead at 7 under. Glover was making pars and losing ground until he turned it around with a 7-iron into the par-5 sixth green and a two-putt birdie. That was the start of a six-hole stretch that he played in 6 under, and another run of birdies on the back nine put him ahead.
Even so, one par was as meaningful as some of his birdies.
After running off three straight birdies, Glover hit into a bunker on the par-3 eighth and couldn’t believe his bad luck when the ball ran down the face and all the way to the back of the bunker, on a slight slope, forcing him to play the shot with both feet out of the sand. He did well to blast out to 12 feet and make par.
“That felt good taking that to the ninth tee,” he said.
Glover hit a pair of 3-woods, the second one to 12 feet for an eagle, then he stuffed a wedge inside 4 feet on the 10th for birdie.
Just like that, he was back in control, and Glover made sure he stayed there with a few more birdies late in his round, including a wedge that bounced off the flag at the 16th and settled next to the cup.
“I’m pretty aggressive, anyway, so I’m going to have to pick my spots,” Glover said. “I’m going to have to make some birdies. These guys are the best players in the world, and they’re going to be coming after me.”
O’Hair noticed Glover at 11 under when he walked off the 13th green. The next time he saw a leaderboard along the 17th fairway, he saw Glover at 14 under, and everyone else moving up a couple of notches, too.
“There’s quite a few players out there that can win this thing and are playing some nice golf,” O’Hair said.
Glover had the lowest 36-hole score at Kapalua since Vijay Singh also was at 131 in 2005. The record was a 17-under 129 by Ernie Els in 2003, when he set a PGA Tour record at 31 under for a 72-hole event.
More wind might make a three-shot lead feel like nothing. Even in peaceful conditions, Glover realizes he has a long way to go.
“It’ll be hard to catch him if he’s playing as well as he is,” Ogilvy said. “But he’s going to have to keep playing well. In the wind, four or five shots can disappear. But if he’s even par on the front nine, three-fourths of that lead could be gone. We all know that if the weather is benign, we have to go low.”
Ogilvy played bogey-free and continues to pitch the ball cleanly, which he did last year in winning by six shots. O’Hair made a late push when he saw Glover’s score, pounding a 3-wood on the final hole that set up an eagle.
“You don’t see a leaderboard for three holes, and everyone is two shots better than the last time you saw one,” Ogilvy said.
He might want to get used to that. Moderate wind is expected for the weekend.
Glover stays hot at SBS Championship
KAPALUA, Hawaii – The winners assembled at Kapalua are pampered like no other stop on the PGA Tour.
Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie
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.
McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1
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
Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience
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.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
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.