Rookie Henley holds early Day 2 Sony lead after starting 63-63

By Doug FergusonJanuary 12, 2013, 1:57 am

HONOLULU – Two days into his PGA Tour career, Russell Henley was on his way to breaking a record.

Henley putted for birdie on every hole on his way to a second straight round of a 7-under 63, giving him a two-shot lead over fellow rookie Scott Langley among early starters Friday in the Sony Open. He was 14-under 126, which would break the 36-hole scoring record at this event by two shots.

''It's pretty surreal,'' Henley said.

In the first full-field event of the season, the rookies were leading the way. All they did on another windy, warm day along the shores of Oahu was trade places atop the leaderboard. Langley opened with a 62 and followed that with a 66. That typically would be enough to stay in the lead.

Langley said he tried to stay aggressive, and then he felt he had no choice. He birdied his last three holes to reach 128.

Unless anyone could catch them in the afternoon, they would play together a third straight time, in the last group going into the weekend. The college grads first were linked when they shared low amateur honors at Pebble Beach in the 2010 U.S. Open.

''It's never easy to back up a really good round, I kind of got off to a little slower start,'' Langley said. ''But it was certainly nice to finish the way I did and kind of get back in it with Russ. He played so well, and I was just trying to keep pace as much as I can. To finish that way was really good.''

The previous 36-hole record at the Sony Open was 128 by five players, most recently John Cook in 2002.

Among the late starters was Scott Piercy, who opened with a 64 and already was at 10 under for the tournament as he headed to his back nine.

Dustin Johnson won't get a chance to match Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the two Hawaii events. Johnson, who won last week at Kapalua, withdrew after playing nine holes because of the flu.

Chris Kirk made a pair of tap-in eagles – a 5-iron into the wind to 3 feet on the ninth, a 7-iron with the wind to 2 feet on the 18th – for a 62 that put him at 10-under 130 along with Tim Clark, who had a 66.

Pat Perez, working on his new attitude of seeing silver linings instead of black clouds, ran off three straight birdies early in his round for a 63 and was another shot back.

Henley took over the lead for the first time with a shot into 8 feet to a front pin on No. 2, his 11th hole of the day. With birdies on the fifth and sixth holes, it looked as though he might pull away when he stretched his lead to four shots.

Langley came to life with a 7-iron and a 20-foot birdie putt on the seventh, then a sand wedge into the par-4 eighth and more work than he wanted on the par-5 ninth, when he got up-and-down for birdie from near the hospitality tent to the right of the green.

''This feels like a Monday qualifier,'' Langley said of the low scores, not to mention the company he has been keeping. Langley and Henley were born two weeks apart.

They became friends after Pebble Beach when they flew together to Royal Portrush for the Palmer Cup, and they helped each other on the practice range when their games were in need of repair.

The difference was their road to the PGA Tour.

Henley won a Nationwide Tour event while still at Georgia, and then he won twice on that tour last year to easily finish among the top 25 on the money list.

Langley, a former NCAA champion from Illinois, went through a bad patch last year when he finished last in the second stage of Q-school and had no status. He kicked around the smaller tours, tried a few Monday qualifiers, and then made his way through Q-school and earned his card with two shots to spare.

They're neck-and-neck going into the weekend, both hopeful they ride their momentum.

The surprise might be Clark, who was runner-up at the Sony Open two years ago until he suffered a mysterious elbow injury that cost him a year of trying to figure out what was wrong and how to get better. He is close to healthy now, and it's starting to show.

''Obviously, I've still got to take care of myself and look after it,'' Clark said. ''But at least coming out to the golf course, I feel like I'm pretty much 100 percent.''

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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.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


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.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“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.”