Tiger Woods falls into share of the lead at JBWere Masters

By Doug FergusonNovember 14, 2009, 4:29 pm
JBWere Masters

MELBOURNE, Australia – The tee shot sailed to the right and onto a sandy path. His driver bounced left and into the gallery.

Tiger Woods couldn’t get anything straight Saturday in the Australian Masters.

About the only thing that gave him hope after he struggled to an even-par 72 in the third round at Kingston Heath was seeing his name atop the leaderboard in a three-way tie for the lead with the Australian duo of James Nitties and Greg Chalmers.

“It certainly should have been a lot worse than that,” Woods said.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods couldn't get a putt to drop in Round 3. (Getty Images)
Right when the record-setting gallery was ready to coronate the world’s No. 1 player, Woods squandered a three-shot lead in six holes and had to rally over the back nine – by playing even par – just to stay in the hunt.

Woods hit one poor shot after another on a relatively benign day for scoring and created opportunities for so many others. He started with a three-shot lead. By the end of the day, a dozen players were separated by four shots.

Chalmers, who hasn’t won in Australia in 11 years, had the lead for most of the back nine until he missed a 6-foot par putt on the 16th hole and a birdie putt from about that range on the 18th. He shot a 69.

Nitties, who easily secured his PGA Tour card during his rookie season in America, agonized over so many putts that burned the edge early in the round. Even so, he kept bogeys off his card and also shot a 69.

They were at 10-under 206 with Woods, who had a chance to regain the lead until missing a 10-foot birdie on the final hole, a fitting conclusion to a round he would rather forget.

“Didn’t hit the ball very good on the range, and on the golf course wasn’t very good, either,” Woods said. “I hit some really good shots out there, but also I hit some really terrible golf shots. There was no gray area. Very fortunate to be tied for the lead.”

The low point came at the 13th.

Woods had played the par-5 12th nearly perfectly until he badly missed a 5-foot birdie putt. Still steaming, he opted for driver off the tee at the 354-yard 13th, especially with the pin to the back right of the green. The only place he couldn’t afford to hit it was to the right.

It went well to the right.

Woods slammed the head of his driver into the turf, and it bounced up and into the gallery to the left. One surprised fan caught the club and returned it.

“That was my mistake,” Woods said. “I got hot after a bad tee shot and let go of the club.”

Woods is playing Down Under for the first time since the 1998 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. This 11-year anniversary took on an additional meaning Saturday, however, with the prospect of Chalmers winning on home soil for the first time in 11 years.

He described making up a three-shot deficit to Woods as a “tall order.” Tied for the lead with 18 holes is far better odds.

“I don’t think anybody is sitting around trying to hand the trophy to anybody else,” Chalmers said. “I think everyone is fighting to shoot the lowest score they can.”

Woods knew he was in for a long day on the par-5 opening hole, among the easiest on the course. He blocked his 3-iron into the hay to the right of the green and failed to make birdie for the first time all week. Even so, his 35-foot birdie on the second gave him a four-shot lead over fellow American Jason Dufner.

Four holes later, his lead was gone.

Woods three-putted from the fringe on the third, had to make par putts from 8 feet and 18 feet on the seventh and eighth holes, and dropped another shot on the 11th when he chipped from below the green and nearly went into a bunker on the other side.

“Today was reflective of how I warmed up,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be tied for the lead. I played myself into a tie. I could have played myself out of the tournament.”

Dufner took the lead for the first time with a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 8, only to scramble for bogey at No. 9 as Chalmers moved to the top with his 30-foot birdie on the ninth. Dufner didn’t make birdie the rest of the way, dropped shots on the 16th and 17th, and shot 71. He was tied with Cameron Percy (69) at 8-under 208.

Michael Sim, who set an earnings record on the Nationwide Tour this year with three victories, had a 69 and was at 6-under 210 with Stuart Appleby (71), while Adam Scott had a 69 and was another shot back.

Asked what it would take to win, Nitties joking said, “Hope that Tiger doesn’t turn up.”

Nitties spent the first two rounds playing behind Woods, coping with fans who are allowed to stand in crosswalks and surround every green. He gets to play behind him again Sunday, and that’s a good thing – it means he’s no longer trailing.

Nitties was surprised, not that he was playing in the final group, but that Woods wasn’t there, too.

“I want to be playing with Tiger. He’s my idol. It’s disappointing,” Nitties said.

He paused, then smiled before adding, “It’s not that disappointing.”

 

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.