Overton leads Frys.com Open after first round

By Doug FergusonOctober 11, 2013, 12:01 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Coming off his worst year, Jeff Overton opened the new PGA Tour season on a good note.

Once he finally made a putt Thursday in the Frys.com Open, Overton felt as if he couldn't miss. Over the last 11 holes at CordeValle, he made three birdie putts over 25 feet and a 20-foot eagle putt when his gamble paid off on the par-5 ninth.


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He finished with a tap-in birdie on the 18th for a 7-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Brian Harman.

''It really helps if you can get off to a good start,'' Overton said. ''It would be great if we can continue this thing and keep it rolling.''

Harman finished with back-to-back birdies from short range and had eight birdies on his round. Kyle Stanley had a 66.

The group at 4-under 67 included Michael Putnam, who won the Web.com Tour money title last season to earn full status, and Brooks Koepka, the most traveled player at the Frys.com Open. This is the fourth tour Koepka has played this year. He earned his European Tour card by winning three times on the Challenge Tour. He also played a Web.com Tour event, and the Florida State alum is headed to China in two weeks for the BMW Masters.

Ryo Ishikawa, who had to earn his card back at the Web.com Tour Finals, opened with a 69. Hideki Matsuyama, one of three players at the Presidents Cup last week, had a 70.

The PGA Tour season is starting in October instead of January for the first time in history. The official season ends next September at the Tour Championship, although there will be a six-week break leading to the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Officially, it was the start of the 2013-14 season Thursday. It was different from previous ''season openers'' in Kapalua.

The temperature was struggling to climb past 50 degrees when Bryce Molder, wearing rain pants to cope with the morning chill, hit the first shot of the year. He yanked it left and nearly couldn't find it, which would have meant going back to the tee to his third short.

The fairways weren't 80 yards wide. And it wasn't a tropical 80 degrees.

Jhonattan Vegas felt even worse.

He was on the putting green, in the third group, when he had to use the bathroom. He thought he had plenty of time. He was wrong. Vegas was a few seconds later to the tee box, meaning a two-shot penalty. His first swing of the new season technically was for birdie from 412 yards away. He made par, plus two shots for a double bogey.

''I was just caught off guard,'' he said. ''It never crossed my mind I would be late to the tee. I made a mistake and I paid the price. It's not an easy way to start the year''

He opened with a 76.

Overton, who remains the only American to play in the Ryder Cup without ever having won on the PGA Tour, had a year in which just about everything went wrong. He didn't play in any of the majors for the first time since 2007. He was disqualified from Colonial when he thought he could use a training aid to practice putting when there was a delay at the turn. He opened with a 69 in the John Deere Classic and had to withdraw when he felt shooting pain in his right wrist.

And he was the alternate who didn't get in the PGA Championship, leading to a series of angry tweets toward the PGA of America for not giving him an exemption to a guy who played in the Ryder Cup at Wales three years earlier.

Overton said only that ''everything is all good'' when asked about his relationship with the PGA of America.

He hopes the same can be said about his game this year, especially after spending the last few months moving to a stronger grip to alleviate recurring pain in his left wrist. It worked beautifully on a sunny day in the foothills south of San Jose, especially the baby cut he hit into 20 inches on the 18th.

The most important shot he hit all day might have been a 6-foot putt for par on the seventh.

Overton hit the ball so well on the first six holes that he had only one birdie attempt longer than 15 feet and missed everything. But he made the par putt on the seventh, and seeing the ball go into the hole was all it took to send him on his way.

''Next I knew, I made everything,'' he said. ''I saw the ball go in the hole one time, and was just chipping and putting it in – just everything. It was just one of those days that went my way at the end.''

He all had a gamble pay off, hitting 3-wood into the breeze from 244 yards to a green guarded by water. He aimed right and caught it perfectly with a draw, and the ball settled 20 feet away to set up eagle.

DIVOTS: Nine players are still looking for their first birdie of the year. ... Alex Aragon came to the course Thursday morning as the first alternate expecting a long day of no golf. He got the word at breakfast that John Merrick had to withdraw, and he opened with a 68. ... Robert Allenby opened with a 68. It was the first time since The McGladrey Classic one year ago that he broke par in the opening round.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


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There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”