Cink, Laird share early lead at Shriners

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2014, 11:47 pm

Low scores are expected all week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and the players did not disappoint in the opening round. Here's how things look after the first day in Las Vegas, where a pair of veterans share the lead:

Leaderboard: Stewart Cink, (-7), Martin Laird (-7), Russell Knox (-6), Jarrod Lyle (-5), Hideki Matsuyama (-5), Bo Van Pelt (-5), Brian Stuard (-5), Andrew Svoboda (-5), Sam Saunders (-5)

What it means: Laird and Knox both got off to hot starts to put the Scottish flag atop the leaderboards at TPC Summerlin, but Cink later joined the fray. Several players remain in contention after 18 holes, notably Lyle who is playing this week on a sponsor invite and making just his second PGA Tour start since February 2012.

Round of the day: Laird tied for third last week at the Frys.com Open and he has successfully carried that momentum to Sin City. The Scot hit all 18 greens in regulation during the opening round, with birdies on three of his first four holes. Laird made the turn in 5-under 35 and closed with a birdie on the home hole to finish off his bogey-free 64.

Best of the rest: Cink began slowly with seven straight pars before catching fire, notching five birdies across a six-hole stretch from Nos. 8-13. Like Laird, he made it around TPC Summerlin without a bogey as he looks to win for the first time since his 2009 Open Championship triumph.

Biggest disappointment: Billy Horschel's even-par 71 usually wouldn't be cause for concern, but in an event where the winning score will exceed 20 under the reigning FedEx Cup champ is now playing from behind. Horschel made three birdies from Nos. 13-16 but failed to notch a birdie elsewhere on the course, playing his final 11 holes in 2 over to fall outside the projected cut line.

Main storyline heading into Friday: While it appears likely that Laird, a 2009 winner and 2010 runner-up in this event, will remain near the top, the biggest story continues to be Lyle as he attempts to chip away at the obligations of his major medical extension. Should he continue to contend for the title, Lyle will make a late charge for the biggest story in golf in 2014.

Shot of the day: Andres Romero took a page out of Jonathan Byrd's Vegas book, making a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th from 196 yards. The ace helped propel Romero to a 4-under 67 in the opening round.

Quote of the day: "The goal is the same. I've got a job to do, and I've got to make as much money as I can to regain my playing privileges out here." - Lyle, who needs $250,525 in the next 19 starts to satisfy his major medical extension.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.