Love back in familiar place at Sony

By Doug FergusonJanuary 15, 2010, 5:05 am

2007 Sony OpenHONOLULU – Davis Love III has not played a tournament in two months. Robert Allenby probably should not have played at all. And then there was Troy Merritt, who had never played a PGA Tour event in his life until Thursday in the Sony Open.

They were among six players tied for the lead on a windy day at Waialae that swept into all sorts of possibilities.

The first full-field event of the PGA Tour season produced quite the log jam, with Allenby and his severely twisted ankle and John Merrick the latest to join the fray at 5-under 65.

The other two were defending champion Zach Johnson and Ryan Palmer, linked in a peculiar way. Johnson is a big believer in taking one day at a time. Palmer read about Johnson’s tenet in the tournament program while looking for something to read, and it inspired him.

When the sun finally disappeared along the shores of Waikiki, everyone had a story. They also had company, for 10 other players found themselves only one shot behind at 66.

Even more surprising is that so many low scores came on a day of swaying palm trees from wind so strong that Masters champion Angel Cabrera, among those at 66, reached the 498-yard ninth hole with a wedge, and Pat Perez hit a 7-iron out of the rough from 210 yards on the tough opening hole.

Perhaps the best indication that this would be a strange day came from a standardbearer.

Merritt, a 24-year-old from Boise State, was walking down the third fairway Thursday morning when someone pointed out that the wrong name was on the hand-held scoring sign. It said Merrick.

Their names sound the same and are almost spelled the same.

“We have lockers right next to each other,” Merrick said. “Probably will all year.”

It was only fitting they wound up with the same score.

The round was almost complete. Tom Gillis had a 25-foot eagle putt on his final hole when he decided it was too dark to continue. He will return Friday morning to putt, then start his second round.

Indeed, this was a peculiar start for the first full-field event to the season.

It started with Love, who had not felt grass under his feet for the last month. It was either so cold along the Georgia coastline that he was hitting balls into a net in his garage, or he was in Idaho for a winter vacation.

No sooner had he checked into his hotel Saturday night, Love raced out to the 11th green to get onto a golf course, and he putted until he could no longer see the hole. The way he putted on Thursday, he didn’t need to see it.

Love played bogey-free and was among the first to post a 65.

“I was optimistic,” Love said. “But I was anxious about competing. Once I got it going, once I got under par … I’ve been out here a long time. You don’t forget.”

Merritt lingered, even if no one knew who he was. He was playing alongside 21-year-old Rickie Fowler, whom everyone seems to know, yet it was Merritt who provided the pure shots and the timely putting. Merritt had told his fiancee he would be thrilled with 3-under par, and one can imagine how he felt when he birdied his last hole for a 65.

“Things went way better than I thought,” Merritt said.

Allenby was the only player at Waialae who arrived with a winning streak. He won in the Nedbank Challenge, then the Australian PGA, and was going for a walk with his wife, Sandy, when he took a bad step off a curb and twisted his ankle.

The Australian wasn’t sure he could play and might have left any other tournament. Then again, he flew 12 hours from Florida and didn’t much feel like turning around.

“And the weather is better,” Allenby said.

He played gingerly on the taped right ankle, however, and had a hard time hitting a fade. That didn’t keep him from firing a 4-iron at the flag on the tough par-3 fourth for a birdie.

“My putting was the best part of the day,” Allenby said. “I did hit some good shots, but my putting was good. It’s the same as I left off last year.”

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Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 4:10 pm

Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.

Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.

No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.

No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.

No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.

No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.

No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.

And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.

Woods bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop out of the lead and almost dropped - at least - one more shot at the par-4 18th. But his tee shot got a lucky bounce and he turned his good fortune into a par.

Woods shot 5-under 66 and finished the day at 5 under par.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 4:05 pm

Tiger Woods made six birdies and one bogey on Saturday for a 5-under 66 in the third round of The Open. We're tracking him as he vies for major No. 15.

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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 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:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

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 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 marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.