Leonard keeps share of Disney lead

By Doug FergusonOctober 22, 2011, 8:17 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. –  Justin Leonard took his hand off the club not long after contact on the fifth fairway, unhappy with another shot that was not up to his standards, knowing he would have to scramble just to avoid dropping another shot.

From 70 feet away, his chip-and-run banged into the pin and dropped for a birdie.

His 3-wood into the par-4 ninth sailed into the gallery, leaving him behind a bunker some 35 yards from the flag, such a tough shot that he hoped only to get it close enough for a reasonable putt at par. He holed that for birdie, too.

Leonard has been used to this kind of days in what has become his worst year on Tour. Saturday at Disney, he managed to turn it into a 70 that put him in a tie for the lead with PGA Tour rookie Kevin Chappell in the Children's Miracle Network Classic.

'Today, I scored,' Leonard said. 'And it's something I have not been doing at all this entire year.'

Chappell was much more consistent in a round of 66, overcoming a bogey on the opening hole and giving himself a steady diet of 10- to 15-foot birdie putts throughout the day on the Magnolia Course.

They were at 14-under 202, one shot ahead of 21-year-old Bio Kim, who needs at least a two-way tie for second to secure his Tour card for next year.

The race for the PGA Tour money title had some possibilities, but only briefly.

Luke Donald, who trails Webb Simpson by $363,029, was tied for fourth when he reached the par-5 14th hole. Donald was only three shots out of the lead and three shots ahead of Simpson. When he walked off the green, Donald was in a tie for 14th, tied with Simpson and six shots behind.

For the second straight day, Donald hit a shot into the hazard on the 14th. He three-putted for double bogey, ending his PGA Tour streak of 483 holes without a three-putt. He had to settle for a 70, while Simpson shot 69 to move one ahead of Donald, and only four shots behind the leaders.

'Yesterday I hit a dozen really poor shots, shot 71 and today I hit two really poor shots, but unfortunately they cost me and almost shot the same score,' Donald said. 'It's just the way golf is sometimes.'

Simpson is likely to win the money title at this stage, as Donald would need no worse than a two-way tie for second. He was tied for 14th, five shots behind. Donald figured he would need a 62 in the final round.

'I'm a little more confident than I was two hours ago,' Simpson said, not making it clear if he was talking about his 32 on the back nine or his chances of capturing the money list.

Leonard, who is No. 144 on the money list, is moderately surprised to be atop the leaderboard in the final tournament of his worst season on Tour. Even though he already is exempt for next season, he has never finished out of the top 125 on the money list. And he hasn't been playing much golf late in the afternoon on the weekend.

This was the kind of round that easily could have gotten away from him. He opened with a sloppy bogey on the opening hole, and then some exquisite play with his short game.

The par-5 fourth hole won't get as much attention, but it might have been his best shot. From the back of a bunker, facing a shot in which the green ran away from him, it came out clean and stopped 2 feet away for birdie. On the fifth, he chipped in from 70 feet when he was hopeful of getting par.

He used the belly of his wedge to roll in a shot from just off the eighth green, and he hit a flop shot from 35 yards that dropped in for the most unlikely birdie on the ninth.

At the time, Leonard was swapping spots atop the leaderboard with Henrik Stenson, who even traded some short-game magic by holing out from a bunker on No. 6, right after Leonard's long chip-in for birdie. When Leonard rolled in the shot from off the eighth green, Stenson poked him in the behind with his putter and said, 'That's two, now.'

'The strength of my round was definitely from off the green,' Leonard said, smiling. 'I certainly didn't play great today, and to be able to hole ... really the two shots, 5 and 9, from off the green certainly is a huge boost. There are days when those things don't go our way, and the round can get away from me.'

There is plenty of work ahead. Leonard is atop the leaderboard going into the final round for the first time since Disney two years ago, when he lost in a playoff to Stephen Ames. Sunday will be only the third time Leonard has been at least tied for the lead going into the last round in the last six years. He didn't win the other two.

Eleven players were within four shots of the lead, a group that includes Simpson and five players who are trying to get inside the top 125 on the money list to secure their Tour cards for next year.

Kim is at No. 168 and appeared to fall from the pack when he drove into the woods on No. 5 and wound up with a double bogey to fall three shots behind. That was the last mistake he made, however, and with three birdies on the back nine, he is only one shot behind going into Sunday.

Nick O'Hern had a 70, while Stenson dropped two shots over the last five holes for a 72. They were at 12-under 204.

Chappell gives himself a C-plus for his rookie season. He played well down the stretch at the Texas Open only to finish second behind Brendan Steele, and a solid weekend at Congressional gave him a tie for third in the U.S. Open. That puts him in the Masters for next year, so Chappell has few complaints.

He is No. 83 on the money list and is playing Disney only to try to end the year on a good note. Winning would be ideal, and he looked comfortable throughout the day as he worked his way into a share of the lead.

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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.