Garcia cards 65, leads Kuchar by 1 in Houston

By Will GrayApril 4, 2014, 11:44 pm

Low scores remained the name of the game in Houston, where Sergio Garcia rode a hot putter to one of the lowest rounds of the week. Here's how things stand heading into the weekend at the Shell Houston Open, where the Spaniard holds a one-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-12), Matt Kuchar (-11), Matt Jones (-8), Cameron Tringale (-8), Shawn Stefani (-8), Jimmy Walker (-8), Steve Stricker (-7)

What it means: Garcia won the Wyndham Championship in 2012, but that's his only PGA Tour victory since his triumph at the Players Championship in 2008. He won earlier this year in Qatar, however, and has been playing well since last fall. He'll look to keep Kuchar at bay this weekend, as the pair have opened up somewhat of a gap from the rest of the field through 36 holes.

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Round of the day: With the Masters less than a week away, Garcia may have preferred to save some of Friday's made putts for Augusta National. The Spaniard needed only 25 putts to complete his round, carding a 7-under 65 that did not include a bogey. Garcia went low in two short spurts during the second round, notching three straight birdies from Nos. 3-5 and then playing holes 12-14 in 4 under.

Best of the rest: Walker began his week with an unassuming 71, but moved into contention by matching Garcia's 7-under 65 in the second round. Already with three wins to his credit this season, Walker recorded four birdies on each nine and now appears in position to increase his lead in the season-long FedEx Cup points race heading into the Masters.

Biggest disappointment: Keegan Bradley sat just one shot off the lead after an opening 66, but the former PGA champ almost played his way to an early exit Friday, shooting a 5-over 77. Bradley birdied his opening hole but added a pair of double bogeys across the next 10. Following a bogey on No. 18, he was left at 1 under for the week, having made the cut on the number despite his strong start.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: There are several players still in search of that final spot in the Masters, but the two men at the top are both safely in next week's field. Garcia and Kuchar famously battled during the 1998 U.S. Amateur, a match that Garcia won, and the Spaniard will look to replicate that result in an effort to once again create distance between himself and the field in Houston.

Quote of the day: "I’m excited about the weekend because, first of all, I haven’t had many opportunities this year." - Phil Mickelson, who shot a 2-under 70 in the second round to move into a tie for ninth, six shots behind Garcia.

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.