McIlroy takes Wells Fargo lead with course-record 61

By Will GrayMay 16, 2015, 9:48 pm

Scores were low early in the day at Quail Hollow, but Rory McIlroy later took things to a new level. Here's how things stand after three rounds of the Wells Fargo Championship, where McIlroy grabbed the lead with a record-setting performance:

Leaderboard: Rory McIlroy (-18), Webb Simpson (-14), Robert Streb (-11), Brendan Steele (-10), Patrick Rodgers (-10), Justin Thomas (-9), Carlos Ortiz (-9), Will Mackenzie (-9), Phil Mickelson (-8)

What it means: McIlroy began the day three shots off the lead, but he stormed to the top of the standings with an 11-under 61, breaking a course record that he previously set in 2010. He'll play the final round alongside Simpson, a Quail Hollow member, in what appears to be a two-player race.

Round of the day: McIlroy reeled off three straight birdies on Nos. 7-9 to make the turn in 5-under 31, but he was only getting started. He added a birdie at No. 10, his fourth in a row, then carded five straight birdies on Nos. 12-16 to cap a 10-hole stretch in which the Ulsterman was 9 under. He reached 15 of 18 greens in regulation, took just 23 putts and carded 11 birdies despite the fact that his longest made putt was from 14 feet on No. 16. Eight of his birdies were from inside 10 feet.

Best of the rest: Thomas made a third-round move last week at TPC Sawgrass, and the rookie was at it again this time at Quail Hollow. Thomas shot a 7-under 65, a round that was highlighted by a pair of eagles at Nos. 5 and 7. He made the turn in 30 before adding a trio of back-nine birdies.

Biggest disappointment: Streb held at least a share of the lead after each of the first two rounds, but he was unable to get much going in Round 3. Streb bogeyed his first hole, one of three bogeys on the day, and with other players firing low scores, he lost ground with a 1-under 71.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: McIlroy recorded his first career PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow in 2010, and he appears headed for another title on a course where he clearly feels comfortable. Simpson will have plenty of gallery support, but after weeks of inconsistency in patches, McIlroy seems to be firing on all cylinders this week in Charlotte.

Shot of the day: McIlroy found himself on the pine straw on No. 12, but his approach found the green and spun to within 5 feet. It set up his seventh birdie of the day and sparked a run of five straight birdies across the back nine.

Quote of the day: "I was thinking 59 from the 14th tee box." - McIlroy


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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.”