Granada shoots 66, leads LPGA finale by 2

By Will GrayNovember 20, 2014, 8:59 pm

The LPGA's final event of 2014 is underway, and the player at the top of the standings has plenty of experience playing high-stakes golf. Here's how things look after one round of the CME Group Tour Championship, where Julieta Granada holds a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Julieta Granada (-6), Sandra Gal (-4), Stacy Lewis (-3), Belen Mozo (-3), Caroline Hedwall (-3), Angela Stanford (-2), Carlota Ciganda (-2), So Yeon Ryu (-2)

What it means: Granada was the first $1 million recipient in LPGA history when she had a seven-figure payday in 2006, and she moved to the front of the pack with a bogey-free 66. While she's not eligible to win the $1 million bonus in Naples, she could still take home $500,000 for winning the event but she'll need to fight off Lewis, among others, to end an eight-year LPGA victory drought.

Round of the day: Granada made few errors in the first round, missing only one fairway and finding 15 of 18 greens in regulation. Her six birdies included back-to-back circles on both Nos. 7-8 and Nos. 13-14, as she needed only 28 putts to complete a round that left her two shots clear of her closest competitor.

Best of the rest: Gal hasn't won on the LPGA since her maiden victory in 2011, but she's in position to contend this week after a 4-under 68. Like Granada, Gal missed only three greens in regulation and the German's round was highlighted by an eagle 3 on the par-5 17th that gave her sole possession of second place.

Biggest disappointment: Anna Nordqvist is No. 11 in the Rolex Rankings, but the Swede stumbled out of the gates and failed to get things going from there. Nordqvist bogeyed four of her first five holes and made only two birdies all day, closing her round with a double bogey on No. 18 that left her with a 5-over 77 and 11 shots off the pace.

Biggest storyline heading into Friday: It remains to be seen if Granada can go wire-to-wire as Christina Kim did last week in Mexico, but the biggest subplot remains the race for the $1 million season-long prize between Lewis, Inbee Park and Lydia Ko. Lewis has the early edge after a 3-under 69, but Park and Ko both remain in the hunt after matching rounds of 1-under 71.

Shot of the day: Michelle Wie's opening 72 ended in style, although the closing holes were a bit chaotic. Wie was in red figures before a double bogey on No. 16 was followed by a 3-putt bogey on No. 17, but Wie bounced back with a chip-in birdie from just off the green on the home hole.

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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.”