Mark Calcavecchia seeks win on 20-year anniversary

By Doug FergusonJuly 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Past champions gather at St. Andrews every time the British Open returns to the home of golf. Just his luck, the first time Mark Calcavecchia was invited to the party, he was holding the Claret Jug.
And it wasnt quite empty.
He had been celebrating one last time his 1989 playoff victory at Royal Troon when it was time for the dinner, and Calcavecchia was still not up to speed on British colloquialisms.
We were drinking champagne out of the jug, he said Friday. There was something on the invite that said 7:30 for 8:00, and I had no idea what that meant. Time kind of went by and I dont think I rinsed the jug real well. I think there was still some champagne swishing around in there when I brought it back.
Mark Calcavecchia
Mark Calcavecchia won the Open Championship 20 years ago. (Getty Images)
Calcavecchia looks forward to the dinner next year at St. Andrews.
And based on the way he has played the opening two rounds at Turnberry, he might just have the Claret Jug with him again.
Around the toughest stretch, with shots into a chilly wind and over cliffs along the Firth of Clyde, Calcavecchia came up with just enough birdies to carry him to a 1-under 69 that left him one shot out of the lead.
At 49 and with a body that is breaking down, he isnt sure he can win anywhere until he gets to the Champions Tour next year. Links golf is different, though, and Calcavecchia didnt need to see 59-year-old Tom Watson atop the leaderboard to know that.
Im swinging well enough, and Im driving it great, Calcavecchia said. I seem to be hitting a lot of fairways. So if I can keep doing that, obviously if you can keep it out of the tall stuff, youre going to have a better chance.
There is one element that Calcavecchia has had on his side.
Im getting some good bounces, getting lucky on occasion, he said, which always helps.
Turnberry turns nasty starting at the par-3 fourth, a stretch of holes that run into a wind rarely felt in these parts, coming off the land and slightly from the north. Thats where everyone was dropping shots.
Calcavecchia played them in 1 under.
The key was somehow reaching the 10th green and holing a 40-foot birdie putt, a good sign that he could post a good score. With the wind in his favor, he poured it on. Calcavecchia hit a 7-iron to 2 feet on the 12th, then a 6-iron on the 14th that hopped onto the green and caught part of the lip before settling a few feet away.
I just wanted to stay away from big numbers, which a lot of guys were making out there ' doubles and triples and quads and whatever, he said. A few bogeys here and there werent going to kill you.
The surprise is the timing of Calcavecchia seeing his name on the leaderboard. After good weeks at Pebble Beach and Riviera, he has gone into a funk. He hasnt finished in the top 20 since February, and in five tournaments he has either missed the cut or withdrew as his back gets cranky.
He had to play 36 holes last Sunday to compete the rain-delayed John Deere Classic, and it about killed him.
This is about the second time this year I didnt struggle to make the cut, so Im just happy with that, he said. Im usually choking so bad coming down the last few holes on Friday because I want to play the weekend. I felt great today. Even when I was 2 over through five, I knew I was going to make some birdies somewhere.
Perhaps its a coincidence that Calcavecchia won his British Open at Royal Troon, about 15 miles up the Ayrshire coast, when he shot 68 in the final round and got into a three-way playoff with Wayne Grady and Greg Norman, who shot 64 that day. Calcavecchia birdied the last two holes to win.
He is among the few U.S. players who were at Turnberry when it last hosted the Open in 1994, and they were grilling him on the charter flight from Illinois. Asked if he was a mentor to younger players, such as co-leader Steve Marino, Calcavecchia chuckled.
I would never think Im the type of guy anybody could learn anything from, to tell you the truth, he said. And I think experience is way overrated. All that means is Ive hit more bad shots than all the guys that are 20 years old, and theyre lingering in my brain.
There havent been too many bad shots over 36 holes at Turnberry. The question is whether he can hold up for two more rounds.
And if that happens, what will be in the bottom of the Claret Jug.
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

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    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

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    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

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    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

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    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

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    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

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