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Palmer leads Rahm by 1 in Farmers

By Doug FergusonJanuary 27, 2018, 1:15 am

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Palmer is the 36-hole leader in the Farmers Insurance Open. Jon Rahm is right behind, poised to reach No. 1 in the world. And for the first time in 29 months, a PGA Tour event will feature Tiger Woods on the weekend.

Palmer finished eagle-birdie on the North Course at Torrey Pines for a 5-under 67. That gave him a one-shot lead over Rahm, the defending champion who birdied two of his last three holes on the North for a 66.

The biggest buzz, as usual, was for Woods. He kept his fairway-lined following in suspense over his closing stretch on the front nine Friday simply by trying to make the cut, and it came down to the very last hole.

A wild drive was saved by a perfect flop shot to escape with par on No. 6. Another superb chip on the reachable par-4 seventh set up a birdie, the first time all week he was under par. A chip that bounced hard and rolled off the back of the green led to bogey and left him one shot outside the cut line. From gnarly rough right of the fairway on the par-5 ninth, he hammered a 6-iron to the wrong side of the green, leaving him two putts from 75 feet to make birdie and get to the weekend.

A beautiful lag for a tap-in birdie gave him a 71.

“It was a grind. I fought hard,” Woods said. “Typical. Just me going out there and fighting for whatever I can get. It’s all good.”

There’s a reason Woods has gone so long — August 2015 at the Wyndham Championship — without making a cut. This was only his second PGA Tour since then, the greatest reminder of back surgeries that effectively cost two full years of golf.

He won the first battle — two more days.

Full-field scores from the Farmers Insurance Open

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The next one is a bit more ominous. He still was 10 shots behind Palmer, who is going through a minor resurgence of his own. Palmer, who was at 11-under 133, spent the last 18 months on life at home after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her last dose of chemotherapy a year ago, followed by 35 radiation treatments, Jennifer Palmer has had nothing but clean scans.

Then, Palmer had surgery on his left shoulder to clean out bone spurs and had not played since August until he headed to Honolulu two weeks ago.

“A lot of distractions behind me,” he said. “So we’re definitely playing a little more free and clear.”

The biggest distraction on another gorgeous day at Torrey Pines was a pair of bogeys early. He kept his patience, chipped in for eagle at the turn, and then finished with a beautiful approach to 12 feet on the par-5 eighth and a 20-foot birdie putt on the ninth.

And now he has to deal with a big presence in golf — Rahm.

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in a playoff last week in the California desert, moving him to No. 2 in the world. If he were to win this week, Rahm would go to No. 1.

He didn’t have his best stuff from tee-to-green. Rahm made enough key putts to keep him pointed in the right direction.

“I was able to get up-and-down for par, and not making mistakes and taking advantage of the birdie putts,” he said. “I probably shot the lowest I could shoot today.”

Palmer and Rahm will be in the final group with Luke List, who had a 66 on the South.

And even with Woods lingering toward the bottom, there are plenty of big names lingering going into the weekend. Jason Day had a 64 and was four shots behind. Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t fared all that on the South Course since the redo ahead of the 2008 U.S. Open, ran off a string of birdies on the front nine, salvaged a few mistakes with an eagle on No. 13 and finished with a birdie for a 68. He was five shots behind.

Rahm was five shots behind going into the weekend last year and closed with a 65, holing a 50-foot eagle putt on the final hole. That was his first victory, and he has added three more worldwide. Few players have more confidence at Torrey Pines.

Even when he wasn’t sure where the ball was going off the tee, he didn’t drop a shot.

“Things are going well, you’re playing good so you’re trying to get a little higher, a little higher,” he said.

The cut was at 1-under 143, which was starting to look out of reach for Woods. He missed two drives well to the left — by 65 yards on his opening hole, and deep into a hazard on his fourth hole, which led to double bogey to put him 2 over. He made the turn three shots out of the cut line, and then holed a 50-foot birdie putt to start his back nine.

His short game carried him from there, setting up birdies on the par-5 fifth hole and the short seventh hole.

The biggest adjustment to having been gone for so long is scoring. He was amazed to see so many players under par through two rounds.

“These guys are all going low and I haven’t done that in a long time,” Woods said.

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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.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“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.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1