Hoffmann extends lead to 3 at Bay Hill

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2015, 10:34 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Morgan Hoffmann kept up the momentum, and now sits 36 holes away from his first PGA Tour victory. Here’s how things look at the halfway point of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where Hoffmann leads a trio of players by three shots:

Leaderboard: Morgan Hoffmann (-13), Henrik Stenson (-10), Harris English (-10), Matt Every (-10), Ben Martin (-9), Rory McIlroy (-8)

What it means: Hoffmann began the day with a one-shot advantage, then surged ahead of the field with a 7-under 65 while playing in the first group of the day. He takes the pole position in search of that breakthrough win, and he remains in good shape for his first top-10 finish since September.

Round of the day: Playing alongside Hoffmann in the day’s first group, Danny Lee fired an 8-under 64 to grab a spot on the leaderboard. The Kiwi birdied his first two holes and didn’t slow down from there, making the turn in 5-under 31 and turning in a bogey-free card after making only two birdies during his opening-round 72.

Best of the rest: Hoffmann opened with 66, then bettered that score by a shot despite opening his second round with a bogey. He reeled off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine and made eight altogether.

Biggest disappointment: Adam Scott appeared ready to contend after an opening 68, but the Aussie only managed a 1-over 73 during the second round. Scott had six bogeys, including three across his final five holes, and at 3 under he trails Hoffmann by 10 shots.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Hoffmann is the man to beat, but recall that Scott led by seven at the halfway point a year ago and failed to leave with the trophy. Among the chase pack, Stenson appears most likely to make a run at the leader after closing his round Friday with a back-nine 30, though world No. 1 Rory McIlroy also lurks just off the pace following a second-round 66.

Shot of the day: Rookie Zac Blair had a rare highlight on the difficult par-4 third hole, holing a 6-iron from 174 yards for an eagle. The shot propelled him to a 5-under 67 in the second round, and at 4 under Blair easily made the cut.

Quote of the day: “My caddie and I pretty much set a game plan for the week, and I’m just trying to stick to it. It worked today.” – Hoffmann


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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.”