Fraser (63) leads Stenson, DeLaet in Rio Olympics

By Nick MentaAugust 11, 2016, 7:20 pm

With an 8-under 63, Australia’s Marcus Fraser leads the men’s competition by three shots over Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Canada’s Graham DeLaet after the completion of Round 1 in Rio. Here’s where things stand after the first 18 holes of Olympic golf in 112 years:

Leaderboard: Fraser (-8), DeLaet (-5), Stenson (-5), Thomas Pieters (-4), Gregory Bourdy (-4), Alex Cejka (-4), Justin Rose (-4)

What it means: Currently 90th in the Official World Golf Ranking, Fraser earned one of two Australian bids after four of his countrymen – Jason Day, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones – opted to skip the Games. The 38-year-old took full advantage of his good fortune, recording the lowest round in Olympic history. Fraser, the current Order of Merit leader on the Asian Tour, is a three-time European Tour winner who most recently claimed victory at the co-sanctioned Maybank Championship in Malaysia in February. Six players sit within four shots of the lead after Round 1, but the two big names to watch are Stenson, who’s coming off his first major win at The Open, and Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champ who recorded a first hole-in-one on Thursday and is looking to win on his sixth continent. (They don’t play often in Antarctica.)

Round of the day: Fraser didn’t make a par until the 17th hole, opening with five birdies and the lone bogey of his round at the par-4 second. After making the turn in 4-under 31, the Aussie added four back-nine birdies at Nos. 10, 13, 16 and 18 to match his lowest round in any worldwide event since he launched his professional career in 2002.

Best of the rest: In defense of George Lyon’s 1904 gold medal win, DeLaet went off in the day’s first group and carded a 5-under 66 to take the early lead before he was overtaken by Fraser. The round was even more impressive considering his recent history; DeLaet took a month off from competitive play earlier this summer as he sorted through, what he called, “incredible anxiety while chipping/pitching.” He was matched by a member of the final group, Stenson, who made six birdies, including one at the home hole, against a single bogey.

Biggest disappointment: Rickie Fowler, of the U.S., had been enjoying himself in Rio, right up until the first hole Thursday. Fowler, the eighth-ranked player in the world who’s been slumping all summer, 4-putted the first green for a double bogey and never recovered. Fighting his putter all day, Fowler, otherwise, made two bogeys and a birdie on each nine to shoot 4-over 75. After 18 holes, he finds himself one shot out of last place and 12 off the lead. Of course, Fowler wasn’t the only American to struggle, as Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson both turned in 2-over 73. Matt Kuchar was the only one of the four Americans to finish in red numbers with a 2-under 69.

Shot of the day: Rose’s historic ace at the par-3 fourth:

Quote of the day: “I can compare that with when my son was born,” – Brazil’s Adilson da Silva on hitting the opening tee shot. The 44-year-old closed his round with a birdie at 18 to shoot 1-over 72.

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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.”