Trio Takes Top Spot

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 18, 2003, 4:00 pm
Futures TourALTAMONT, N.Y. -- Thirty-seven players posted under-par scores at Orchard Creek Golf Club in the first round of the $60,000 GE Futures Professional Golf Classic. By days end, three players were tied at 6-under-par 65, which eclipsed the tournaments 18-hole scoring record.
 
Firing rounds of 65 were Lindsey Wright of Albury, Australia, Nadine Ash of Richards Bay, South Africa and Janell Howland of Beaumont, Texas. The trio shattered the previous mark of 4-under 67 set last year on the 6,166-yard, par-71 course. The event is in its second year at Orchard Creek and has been staged in Upstate New York for 19 years, with a one-year hiatus in 1999.
 
Playing in her fourth Futures Tour event after graduating from Pepperdine University this spring, Wright was the clubhouse leader after the morning rounds. She took advantage of her laser-sharp wedge play to make the turn after her first nine holes with a 5-under-par score of 30.
 
'I was hitting a lot of knock-down shots and three-quarter 9-irons and it paid off big time,' said Wright, who recorded 28 putts for the day and drove the green on the par-4, 274-yard 14th hole.
 
Playing in her fifth season on the Futures Tour, Ash aced her second hole, No. 11, when her 9-iron on the 142-yard, par-3 hole found the cup for her first ace as a pro and her third hole-in-one within the last month. The 65 is her career-low competitive round.
 
'The greens are holding nicely and you can fire at them,' said Ash, who hit 14 greens and made 26 putts en route to her share of the first-round lead.
 
Playing in the final group of the day, first-year pro Howland, who played collegiately at Lamar University, said her iron play put her in position to make some putts. She recorded 28 putts for her effort.
 
'It was just one of those days,' said Howland, who played six Futures Tour events as an amateur in 2002. 'Ive worked hard on my putting for the last few weeks and its paid off.'
 
Lesley Henderson of Mandeville, La., and Kristin Dufour of Austin, Texas, posted rounds of 5-under-par 66 in the afternoon. It was a career-low round for both players. Henderson hit 17 greens in regulation to earn a share of the second-place position, while Dufour eagled the par-5, 485-yard 18th hole with a 45-foot putt to trim two strokes at the last.
 
'Ive always been a good two-round golfer and Ive made a lot of cuts, but I know if I can have two of three rounds that are pretty good, I can put three solid rounds together out here,' said Henderson. 'My struggle has been an internal struggle.'
 
Eight players tied with scores of 67, including two-time season winner Katherine Hull of Queensland, Australia and Lisa Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England, currently fifth on the money list.
 
Five players tied at 68, including Futures Tour money leader Stacy Prammanasudh of Enid, Okla., and second-week pro Celeste Troche of Asuncion, Paraguay, who scored the days second hole-in-one with a 9-wood on the 195-yard 17th hole. It was Troches third career ace and her second in competition. Both she and Ash were awarded $500 checks from the Donald T. Ostop Weekly Hole-in-One Challenge.
 
  • Full coverage of the GE Futures Professional Golf Classic
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.”