Webb Simpson surges into the lead at The Barclays

By Doug FergusonAugust 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
The Barclays JERSEY CITY, N.J. ' Webb Simpson looked at the scores and the weather, neither of which indicated an easy time Friday at Liberty National. He quickly settled on a simple game plan Friday and made it pay off in The Barclays.
 
Simpson took advantage on some of the shorter holes to give him a cushion for the inevitable mistakes. It led to a 3-under 68 on a long, tough and wet afternoon that put the 24-year-old rookie atop the leaderboard for the first time all year.
 
My caddie and I talked beforehand about taking advantage of the par 5s and the shorter par 4s, just because we knew we were going to make bogeys, Simpson said. It was just one of those long, tough days. But I feel good with where Im at.
 
Tiger Woods at The Barclays
Tiger Woods slams his driver on the 16th hole Friday. (Getty Images)
He was at 8-under 134, two shots clear of Paul Goydos and Steve Marino, who started the second round tied for the lead and did well to get around in even-par 71.
 
Sergio Garcia also was tied for the lead, got stuck in the morning wave and the worst of the rain, and shot a 76.
 
It was hands down ' I mean, forget about the PGA (Championship) ' it was the longest course Ive played this year, the way it was playing, Garcia said. I dont know how many 5-, 4- and 3-irons I hit into the greens. I hit some woods into the green.
 
Tiger Woods tried to hit driver onto one green on the 16th, where the tees were moved up. His shot sailed 65 yards wide of his target, over the water hazard, beyond the tee boxes at No. 17. He nearly crushed a tee marker before stopping the club a foot short, and while he made par, it summed up his frustration.
 
Woods had a 72, yet still moved up 10 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 17th at even-par 142. For the second straight day, he refused to meet with the reporters to discuss his round.
 
Smiles were rare on Friday, except at the top of the leaderboard.
 
The cut came at 5-over 147, matching the highest cut of the year (Bay Hill). Only nine players broke par, one day after there were 26 scores under par. The average score was 74.361, nearly 2 1/2 shots harder than the first round.
 
Simpson and Ernie Els had the low round at 68, and the Big Easy only got there with a driver on the 16th hole that stopped 8 feet from the hole for an eagle.
 
Goydos was atop the leaderboard for most of the round until he finished with three bogeys over his last four holes. He at least was happy to make enough pars and birdies that a sloppy ending to his round didnt hurt him.
 
Plus, he knew what to expect.
 
I was watching it a little bit this morning, and it didnt look like anybody was having a whole lot of fun, Goydos said. And quite frankly, I went downstairs about nine oclock and looked down, and didnt look like the guy parking the cars was having a whole lot of fun, either.
 
The difficulty came from a combination of factors.
 
A half-dozen tees were moved up, which helped. What hurt was the wet conditions ' the rain in the morning and the soft turf throughout the cloudy day ' and the heavy air that kept the ball from traveling very far.
 
Throw in the fact that if you do hit it a little crooked, youve got 3 or 4 inches of wet rough, Goydos said. Youve got greens that look like my shirts after Ive packed them. It just makes for a challenge.
 
Some players hopes for the $10 million FedEx Cup prize ended on Friday. Among those who missed the cut and will not finish among the top 100 to advance to Boston were Ben Curtis (84), Mark Calcavecchia (79) and Steve Flesch, who was disqualified after a 76.
 
The flip side is Heath Slocum, who finished bogey-double bogey for a 72 and still was tied for fourth at 4-under 138 with Fredrik Jacobson, who had a 72. Slocum made the top 125 to qualify for the playoffs by a measly two points. If he were to remain in a tie for fourth at the end of the week, he would go from No. 124 to No. 37 in the standings.
 
Simpson is No. 85 in the standings on the strength of a strong West Coast, and mediocre golf the rest of the season. He turned it around at a good time, however, at least made himself the player to chase going into the weekend, with more wet weather in the forecast. Tee times Saturday were pushed back a few hours in case of heavy rain expected overnight.
 
I couldnt have picked a better time to be playing well here in the playoffs, Simpson said. Im sure a lot of emotions will be going through my head tomorrow. But you know, Im a big believer in prayer, so Ill go to bed saying a few prayers tonight and come out tomorrow just like I did today.
 
Whatever he says will be more than Woods has offered after the first two days.
 
He headed straight to the locker room after making bogey from a fairway bunker on the 18th hole. It was the first time since the second round of the Memorial that he failed to break par in a regular PGA Tour event.
 
Woods missed only three fairways all day, yet he missed several putts, including a 5-foot birdie attempt.
 
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.