Day maintains two-shot lead at soggy Bay Hill

By Nick MentaMarch 19, 2016, 7:05 pm

ORLANDO, Fla.  Thanks to pushed-up tee times and some luck with the weather, the 76 players in the field managed to dodge a sizable storm Saturday and complete Round 3 at Bay Hill, where Jason Day will take a two-shot lead over Henrik Stenson, Troy Merritt and Kevin Chappell into the final round. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Leaderboard: Day (-15), Merritt (-13), Chappell (-13), Stenson (-13), Derek Fathauer (-11), Justin Rose (-11)

What it means: Day is in search of his eighth PGA Tour win and sixth in the last 13 months. Up two to start the third round, he was briefly overtaken by Stenson, who played Nos. 4-6 in 4 under. But the Aussie drew even one hole later before chipping in for birdie on No. 8 to re-take the lead. He wouldn’t trail again for the remainder of the day. A birdie from the fairway bunker at the par-5 16th pushed his lead to two and closing pars got him into the clubhouse in 2-under 70. As for the chase pack, Merritt birdied two of his last three holes to play with Day in Sunday's final pairing. The 30-year-old broke through for his maiden win at the Quicken Loans last year. Chappell has never won on Tour but owns three runner-ups, including one earlier this season at the RSM Classic. Stenson, ranked seventh in the world, hasn’t won in the U.S. since the 2013 Tour Championship, but finished in second four times last season, including here at Bay Hill. He'll play with Chappell in the second-to-last tee time.

Round of the day: Merritt, Chappell and Ben An recorded 5-under 67s. Chappell birdied four of his first six holes and turned in 3 under before adding two more circles across a bogey-free back nine. Merritt also made the turn 3 under before carding four birdies, three pars and two bogeys on the back. Unlike the other two, An sits 10 shots back at 5 under for the week.

Best of the rest: Five players – Emiliano Grillo, Smylie Kaufman, Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III and Scott Brown – posted 4-under 68. Of the five, Grillo is the closest to the lead at 9 under, six back.

Biggest disappointment: After bouncing back from an opening 75 with a 67 on Friday, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy put three balls in the water en route to another 3-over 75. McIlroy made three double bogeys, his second coming at the par-4 third, his 12th hole of the day, when he found the water not once but twice.

Shot of the day: Day found the right fairway bunker at the par-5 16th and managed to play his second shot from 184 yards to 28 feet, setting up his final birdie of the day that has him ahead by two.

Storyline to watch Sunday: Day and Stenson got the attention Saturday, but their playing partner, world No. 8 Justin Rose, is only four back, tied with Fathauer at 11 under. Rose never challenged for the lead in Round 3 and dropped a shot on 17 but is nonetheless within striking distance for his eighth Tour victory. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has won at least one Tour event every year since 2010.

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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.”