Lietzkes Kind of Day
Lietzke expressed his thanks to the gods of golf by firing a 9-under 63 at the Senior Tour Championship in Oklahoma City. After 36 holes, he leads the tournament with a 10-under-par 134, holding a one-shot edge over Bob Gilder and two shots over Tom Kite and Gil Morgan.
If there were a day this week when I was going to get back at the golf course, today was the day, said Lietzke, who has two wins in his rookie season on tour. I made it play easy as well as I drove it today. Quite a few shots were easier than yesterday, just because of the lack of wind.
Lietzke could do no better than a 71 in Thursdays opening round when the winds blew out of the north consistently at 15 miles per hour and gusted at times to 25. Friday it died down to five.
That comes from a guy who hits the ball real high, said Lietzke. A good wind player might say it was only 2-3 shots easier today from lack of wind. The high ball that I hit all the time, I struggle in the kind of winds we had yesterday. Today is the kind of day that I try to take advantage of the golf course. This is the kind of course that keeps the driver in my hands all day long. When the wind dies down like it did today, it just plays right into my strengths.
The forecast is for breezes to be around 5 miles per hour both Saturday and Sunday with temperatures in the upper 60s, so the field had best beware of Lietzke.
Lietzke made the nine-hole turn in 30, stroking the ball adroitly on the greens with the long-handled putter. He finished the 63 with a birdie on the difficult 18th, a 553-yard par-5 that curls directly into the northerly breezes. He used two shots to place the ball in the middle of the green 18 feet away, then two-putted for the birdie.
Gilder led after the first round with a 67 and was 3-under again after only three holes Friday. He eagled the par-5 3rd for the second day in a row, this time with a 35-foot putt. But his progress was halted on the 5th hole with a double bogey. Still, he finished with a 68 to stand one shot behind Lietzke.
I hit the ball as good as I did yesterday, said Gilder. But its hard to follow with another good day. Im very happy with a 68.
Tom Watson would be tied for the lead had it not been for an eight he scored on the third hole Thursday. He has scored 11 birdies and an eagle in the two days, but it was the miscue on the par-5 hole that ruined him.
At the junior clinic on Tuesday, I talked a lot about how you shouldnt follow a bad shot with another bad shot, said Watson. Thats one of the things Ive always prided myself on.
But thats exactly what I did. In fact, I hit a shank after a bad shot. That runs up your score pretty fast.
I hit it in the bunker off the tee. Then I pull-hooked a 3-iron way out to the left. We found the ball, but I had to drop it. I had a little constricted backswing, and it just went urnnnt ' low right and my playing partner, Vicente Fernandez, had to jump.
So Im lying four ' three shots and a penalty. The ball is lying in another hazard after the shank. I had to go over a wall with the next shot, and I had to make sure I hit it high enough. Then I hit a lousy chip shot to 10 feet, and two-putted for eight.
Still, one must remember that Watson was three shots behind at the halfway point last year, and he wound up the winner in this tournament.
Sure enough, this year he is at 7-under-par 137. That is three shots behind.
Full-field scores from the Senior Tour Championship
Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1
Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.
So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.
Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.
Jordan Spieth: 7/4
Xander Schauffele: 5/1
Kevin Kisner: 11/2
Tiger Woods: 14/1
Francesco Molinari: 14/1
Rory McIlroy: 14/1
Kevin Chappell: 20/1
Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1
Alex Noren: 25/1
Zach Johnson: 30/1
Justin Rose: 30/1
Matt Kuchar: 40/1
Webb Simpson: 50/1
Adam Scott: 80/1
Tony Finau: 80/1
Charley Hoffman: 100/1
Austin Cook: 100/1
Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.
One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.
McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.
“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”
McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.
“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”
Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.
Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.
“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”
One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.
After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.
“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”
Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.
This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.
“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”
Final-round tee times for the 147th Open Championship
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth begins his quest for a second consecutive claret jug and fourth major overall at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday at Carnoustie, playing alongside Xander Schauffele. This marks the first time Schauffele has ever held a 54-hole lead in his career.
The Kevins – Kisner and Chappell – are in the penultimate group, 10 minutes earlier at 9:35 a.m. Kisner is tied with Spieth and Schauffele at 9 under par. Chappell is two shots back at 7 under.
But it’s the next group that has people interested the most. Tiger Woods is paired with Francesco Molinari at 9:25 a.m. Woods, in search of his 15th major championship and first in 10 years, shot a third-round 66 to vault into a tie for sixth place, four shots behind the lead. He began the day six shots behind. Molinari has two wins and two second-place finishes in his last four events.
Rory McIlroy was within striking distance of the lead but bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a sixth-place tie. He is paired with 2017 Open runner-up Matt Kuchar at 9:05 a.m.
3:00AM ET: Beau Hossler
3:10AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafa Cabrera Bello
3:20AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Si-Woo Kim
3:30AM ET: Luke List, Keegan Bradley
3:40AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
3:50AM ET: Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Dunne
4:00AM ET: Cameron Davis, Brooks Koepka
4:10AM ET: Brett Rumford, Kevin Na
4:20AM ET: Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey
4:30AM ET: Gavin Green, Ryan Fox
4:45AM ET: Shubhankar Sharma, Gary Woodland
4:55AM ET: Sam Locke (a), Masahiro Kawamura
5:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Rhys Enoch
5:15AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Jason Day
5:25AM ET: Adam Hadwin, Yuta Ikeda
5:35AM ET: Sung Kang, Brandon Stone
5:45AM ET: Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink
5:55AM ET: Lee Westwood, Julian Suri
6:05AM ET: Tom Lewis, Marc Leishman
6:15AM ET: Ross Fisher, Jason Dufner
6:30AM ET: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed
6:40AM ET: Phil Mickelson, Eddie Pepperell
6:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Bernhard Langer
7:00AM ET: Michael Kim, Patrick Cantlay
7:10AM ET: Shaun Norris, Lucas Herbert
7:20AM ET: Sean Crocker, Louis Oosthuizen
7:30AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Satoshi Kodaira
7:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Danny Willett
7:50AM ET: Haotong Li, Kyle Stanley
8:00AM ET: Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An
8:15AM ET: Erik Van Rooyen, Yusaku Miyazato
8:25AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
8:35AM ET: Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman
8:45AM ET: Justin Rose, Austin Cook
8:55AM ET: Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson
9:05AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy
9:15AM ET: Webb Simpson, Alex Noren
9:25AM ET: Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods
9:35AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell
9:45AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele