Scott shares Barclays lead; Rory rallies to make cut

By Doug FergusonAugust 22, 2014, 10:19 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. - Now that the majors are over, Adam Scott is going after the only big prize left this year - a shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup title.

Scott ran off four straight birdies in the middle of his round Friday, and then closed with an approach that settled a foot from the cup for a tap-in birdie and a 6-under 65. That gave him a share of the 36-hole lead with Cameron Tringale at The Barclays.

Three dozen players were within five shots of the lead, a group that includes British Open and PGA champion Rory McIlroy. The world's No. 1 player, going after his fourth straight victory, shook off some rust on the range and was nine shots better than his opening round with a 65.

Scott won The Barclays a year ago at Liberty National, and it felt like a bonus in a year in which he won his first major at the Masters. He never had a serious chance at any of the majors this year, and he is looking at the FedEx Cup playoffs differently.


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''There's so much to play for, and for me to be satisfied with the year, I need four really great weeks,'' Scott said.

Scott and Tringale were at 8-under 134. Kevin Chappell (67), Brendon Todd (69) and Jim Furyk (69) were one shot behind. The group two shots back included Henrik Stenson (64), Jason Day (64) and Ernie Els, who is playing his sixth straight tournament and shot a 68.

Some scorecards needed more than just numbers, starting with Phil Mickelson.

Lefty took a bogey on the ''five-and-dime'' fifth hole, thusly named because Byron Nelson always used a 5-iron and a wedge. Mickelson, like so many other players, tried to drive the green and took a wild detour. His shot bounced into the grandstand, behind a row of seats on the thin carpet of the hospitality area. Instead of dropping into deep grass, he chose to play it out of the bleachers, right next to a half-filled glass of beer on a table.

It went too long, over the green and into a bunker, though it gave the crowd a thrill.

''It wasn't hard to make contact. It was hard to hit it on that skinny little green and get it to stop,'' Mickelson said.

He compared it with trying to hit a shot off the cart path, except the carpet ''doesn't scrape up your club as much.''

Mickelson birdied his last hole for a 72 to make the cut on the number.

Seung-Yul Noh made a bogey by playing off the wrong green - except it turned into a triple bogey because he didn't know that he wasn't allowed to hit off the putting surface from a different hole. His tee shot on No. 11 was so far right that it landed on the third green. Noh took a divot off the green, and a rules official drove up and told him the rule, which comes with a two-shot penalty.

McIlroy kept his excitement to birdies. The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland said he took a week away from golf to celebrate his big summer - two majors and his first World Golf Championship - and paid for it with an opening 74. But the range session Thursday afternoon did wonders, and he went from below the cut line to within five shots of the lead.

He also made those ''Freaky Friday'' rounds that ruined so many tournaments a distant memory.

His last four second rounds have been 66, 64, 67 and 65. That's more like ''Fun Friday,'' and they've put the No. 1 player back in the mix.

''It's a very bunched leaderboard,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm still five shots behind, but there's a lot of players between me and the leaders - obviously, a few quality guys at the top, Adam being one of them. So I'm going to have to shoot a couple of rounds similar to today to maybe win this thing.''

Scott was so clean from tee-to-green that he shot 65 and walked away lamenting a pedestrian effort with his putter. He missed six putts inside 12 feet and played the par 5s in 1 over. No wonder he called that ''some of the best golf I've played all year.''

''It just wasn't my day today on the greens,'' he said.

The top 100 from the FedEx Cup advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston, with the top 70 advancing to third event in Denver and the top 30 going to East Lake in Atlanta for the Tour Championship and a shot at the $10 million prize.

Lee Westwood kept his PGA Tour season going - barely. He shot a 73 and made the cut on the number at 1-over 143. Because 79 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut Saturday, only the second such cut in the playoffs since the new policy began in 2008.

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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”