Compton among quartet of early McGladrey leaders

By Will GrayOctober 23, 2014, 9:11 pm

Scores remain bunched early at the McGladrey Classic, but Erik Compton is one of two Georgia Bulldogs who have snagged a share of the lead. Here's how things stand after one round at Sea Island, where four players are tied at the top:

Leaderboard: Erik Compton (-5), Brian Harman (-5), Michael Thompson (-5), Will MacKenzie (-5), Chesson Hadley (-4), Jason Kokrak (-4), Shawn Stefani (-4), Andrew Svoboda (-4), Sung Joon Park (-4)

What it means: No one was able to separate from the pack in the first round on the Seaside Course, as 28 players sit within two shots of the lead. The group of co-leaders include Compton and Harman, two Georgia alums who have played more than their fair share of golf in the Peach State, while the large chase pack at 4 under features Hadley, the reigning Rookie of the Year, and Park, who is making his first PGA Tour start.

Round of the day: Compton started quickly with birdies on his first two holes, adding another circle at No. 11 before his lone dropped shot at the par-4 14th. He bounced back with birdies on each of the next two holes, and after a 5-under 65 is in prime position as he looks to win on Tour for the first time.

Best of the rest: Harman won last season at the John Deere Classic, and he's again in the mix after matching Compton's 65 following six birdies against just one bogey. Harman, who tied for 10th at Sea Island last year, notched four birdies in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 3-8 in his first round of the new season.

Biggest disappointment: Charles Howell III has played well at Sea Island in the past, with a pair of top-10 finishes and no result worse than T-32 in four starts, but he stumbled out of the gates Thursday with a 2-over 72. After a round that included five bogeys and only 12/18 greens in regulation, Howell now has to work simply to make the cut.

Main storyline heading into Friday: While Thompson and Harman have both won on Tour before, Compton is likely the biggest name among the co-leaders after his runner-up finish at this year's U.S. Open. It remains to be seen whether the two-time heart transplant recipient can build on the momentum from his first round in front of crowds that would love to see another Bulldog land in the winner's circle come Sunday.

Shot of the day: Mark Anderson not only recorded the first hole-in-one of the week, but his ace was the first in the five-year history of this event. Anderson used a 4-iron from 212 yards on the third hole, though the ace was his lone par-breaker of the opening nine.

Quote of the day: "I expect I should win, I always do. Every time I tee it up that's my goal, but I keep my expectations simple, hit it straight and see where it goes from there." - Compton

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

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

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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.

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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.”