Mahan, Knox co-lead Pebble Beach after Day 1

By Doug FergusonFebruary 8, 2013, 12:37 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Hunter Mahan was bracing for the worst of Pebble Beach, his golf bag weighed down with rain gear and everything else to handle nasty weather.

Instead, he was reminded how much he loves this place.

It helps that Mahan drilled a 3-wood onto the 18th green for a two-putt birdie that gave him a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead to par with Russell Knox in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Better yet, the rain everyone was expecting early in the afternoon never showed up.

So when Mahan was asked about the most interesting part of the day, all he could think of was that it was boring – in a good way.

'I had a good time with my partner. The pace was great. The weather was good,' he said. 'I think the most interesting thing was we had perfect weather when it was supposed to rain at noon. We were all expecting rain. The bag probably weighs 100 pounds right now.'


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Mahan took advantage of a gorgeous day by attacking Pebble Beach, the place to be when the conditions are calm. He missed only two greens – one of those on the edge – and had only one birdie attempt longer than 20 feet.

It was a good start, but nothing more. With three very different courses in the rotation, weather that can change without notice and one course with a different par, no one has a good idea where they stand until after three rounds on Saturday.

Knox, who grew up in northern Scotland and has family roots in California, made the most of his limited starts on the PGA Tour. He had a 6-under 64 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Knox finished out of the top 125 on the money list last year as a rookie, so his opportunities will be limited this year.

'I came in here with a lot of confidence because I feel like I've been playing very well,' Knox said. 'Just haven't had the chance to play. It was nice to get off to a good start.'

The best round might have belonged to Seung-yul Noh of South Korea, who played at Spyglass Hill. It's typically the toughest of the three courses when conditions are benign, and such was the case on Thursday.

Pebble and Monterey Peninsula played nearly a half-shot under par, while Spyglass was almost a half-shot over par.

Noh reached 7 under until making bogeys on the last two holes for a 5-under 67, which only slightly soured his day. He still had the best score at Spyglass.

'Still a good score. I'm really happy with that,' Noh said.

Even more impressive is that he felt half-asleep. Noh played in Dubai last week and is still coping with jet lag.

Also at 5 under were Scott Langley (65 at Monterey Peninsula) and Matt Every, who had a bogey on his final hole at Pebble Beach for a 67.

The day was not without a few adventures.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among the newest members at Augusta National, beaned a spectator on the sixth hole. Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, had a four-putt on his way to a 3-over 73 at Monterey Peninsula. John Daly had a three-putt from 3 feet on the seventh hole and took four to get down from about 18 feet just off the ninth green. He had a 77.

Vijay Singh had a 72 at Pebble Beach, evidence that the PGA Tour still has not decided whether he will be suspended for using deer-antler spray, according to a Sports Illustrated report and later confirmed by Singh's statement last week in Phoenix. The spray is said to contain an insulin-like growth hormone on the Tour's list of banned substances. A decision is not expected this week.

Phil Mickelson, going after a record-tying fifth win in this tournament, couldn't make as many putts at Monterey Peninsula as he did in his wire-to-wire win at the Phoenix Open last week. He opened with a 69 at Monterey Peninsula.

'One of the things I've learned over the years here is you need to be patient,' Mickelson said. 'There's plenty of birdie holes throughout the three courses. Hopefully, I'll get a good run tomorrow and try to shoot myself up into contention.'

Lee Westwood made his debut in this tournament by playing with his father, and while he had a 68, he's not sure the score had any bearing on having a good time. Westwood was at Pebble Beach, and while it was a good start for him, he made up ground in the wrong places.

The scoring at Pebble comes on the opening seven holes. He played those in 1 under, missed three putts inside about 12 feet. Then, he picked up four birdies over his final 10 holes.

'But it was nice doing it all with Dad and being able to walk the fairways,' Westwood said. 'You sort of tick off bucket-list courses, and Pebble Beach would definitely be one of them. To actually play in a competition in the AT&T with your dad and tick that one off something really special.'

About the only thing Mahan doesn't like about this tournament is his memories, particularly two years ago. He made a furious rally on the back nine, twice was tied for the lead, and then reached the par-5 18th in two in the final round. But he three-putted for par, giving D.A. Points a cushion. Mahan was runner-up by two shots.

'It was disappointing to finish second in 2011, so I definitely want to win here,' he said. 'This is an historic tournament, so I think anyone that tees it up here knows the importance of it and knows that to be a champion, what this would mean. I'm excited to be in this position right now, but obviously there's a lot of work to do. I do look forward to this every year, and definitely want to win this tournament at some point in my career.'

DIVOTS: Heath Slocum made four eagles in 1,602 holes that he played on the PGA Tour last year. He made two in a 13-hole stretch on Thursday, hitting a 3-wood to 7 feet on the sixth hole at Pebble Beach and a 3-wood to 7 feet on the 18th hole. He opened with a 69. ... David Duval, making his first start of the year, opened with a 79 at Spyglass and later said on Twitter his knees were troubling him and he had a hard time walking the course. ... Geoff Ogilvy had a 73 at Spyglass. He needs to finish about fifth this week to qualify for the Match Play Championship, which he has won twice.


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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.