Scott shoots 71; others challenge for Bay Hill lead

By Doug FergusonMarch 22, 2014, 10:15 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Adam Scott didn't have to look as far down the leaderboard to find players who suddenly are a real threat to win at Bay Hill.

He described them as players who are ''hungry to win,'' and Scott served them up an appetizer Saturday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Staked to a seven-shot lead at the start of the third round, the Masters champion hit enough loose shots and missed just enough par putts to lose more than half his lead and turn his quest to be No. 1 in the world into a bigger battle that he would have preferred.

Scott made a 7-foot par putt on the final hole for a 1-under 71, giving him a three-shot lead over Keegan Bradley going into Sunday.

''I think I've got to go out and try to win the golf tournament (Sunday),'' Scott said. ''I'm not trying to win the No. 1 ranking. I've got a bunch of guys breathing down my neck who all have had nice rounds today and are feeling pretty good about the way they're playing going into tomorrow. So I'm going to have to play a pretty sharp round of golf and not open the door at all.''

Scott was at 15-under 201.

Bradley birdied his last three holes, taking on the flag at the 18th with a 9-iron from 167 yards that narrowly cleared the rocks framing the lake and settled 4 feet from the flag. That was the final touch on an eight-birdie round of 66 that put him in the final group.


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''I just kind of like that underdog role,'' Bradley said. ''I like knowing that I've got to go out there and play well. It really gets me excited. And playing in the final group with one of the best players in the world at Arnold Palmer's tournament is what we all dream to do. Tomorrow is going to be a really fun day.''

Any other year at Bay Hill, he might have been referring to Tiger Woods.

Woods, the two-time defending champion at Bay Hill and No. 1 in the world, withdrew before the tournament because of recurring back pain. Scott has a chance to replace him at No. 1 in the world with a victory, though he wouldn't take over at the top until the week before the Masters.

But there's too much golf, and now too many players, for Scott to think that far ahead.

Matt Every (66) and Jason Kokrak (67) were four shots behind, both with a chance to win on the PGA Tour for the first time. Chesson Hadley and Francesco Molinari of Italy each had a 69 and were another shot behind. Hadley, who won the Puerto Rico Open two weeks ago, can qualify for the Masters with a high finish. He likely would need to be in sixth place or better to be solidly inside the top 50 in the world.

Scott was never satisfied with the seven-shot lead, and he still felt comfortable with a three-shot advantage going to Sunday.

''When you've got the lead, you have to work for it,'' he said. ''I'm still in good shape.''

Five holes into the third round, his seven-shot lead already had been trimmed to one. Scott three-putted from 60 feet on the opening hole, an indication of how fast the greens have become at Bay Hill, and he hit a poor chip to 12 feet on the fifth hole to drop another shot. Hadley applied the early pressure with four birdies through the sixth hole to get within one shot.

Scott wasn't aware of this. He doesn't sound as though he would have been surprised, anyway.

''When you don't start birdie-birdie today, then you know the other guys have got nothing to lose and they're going for it,'' he said. ''They've got to close the gap. It doesn't surprise me at all. You think seven is a lot, but it's not really, especially over 36 holes. If I was seven back at any other tournament, I would think I could still win.''

Scott laid up on the par-5 sixth and hit wedge to 2 feet. And after a few long birdie putts on the 10th and 15th holes restored the cushion, he two-putted from 60 feet for birdie on the par-5 16th to bring his lead back to five shots.

Bradley birdied the 18th. Scott missed a 5-foot par putt on the 17th, and then the 33-year-old Australian nearly had one more wobble. His birdie putt on the 18th slid about 7 feet by the hole. Scott made that coming back for par, which he hopes will be a small measure of momentum he can carry into the final round.

''I missed two par putts shorter than that,'' he said. ''To miss another would have opened the door a little bit too much for my liking.''

Bradley made six birdies on the back nine, including the last three holes. He had a good look at eagle on the 16th and missed the 15-foot putt, made a putt just inside 25 feet for birdie on the 17th and then took on the flag on the 18th, even though caddie Steve ''Pepsi'' Hale was wanting him to play slightly more conservatively.

''I was going right at it,'' Bradley said of his 9-iron. ''He was nervous. I knew the whole way it was going to cover and be perfect. But it worked out.''

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.