Punch Shot: First Tour player under 25 to win a major

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 3, 2015, 7:00 pm

Brooks Koepka became the latest player under 25 to win on the PGA Tour. With so many young, talented players claiming Tour titles, who will be the first to author a major? GolfChannel.com writers offer up their picks on which current player under 25 will be the first to win a major.


Current revelations outlining a singular and self-absorbed past aside, Patrick Reed is the best prepared player under 25 years old to win a major championship.

While it’s become easy to doubt and criticize Mr. Top 5 ... eh, Reed, the detached facts are rather clear when it comes to the new guy in red and black.

Since he first made his mark in 2012 blazing through the Monday qualifying trail – he advanced out of six qualifiers that year, which is as telling an indication of potential success as anything in professional golf – Reed has won four times on the PGA Tour including his playoff triumph to start this year at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Along the way he qualified for and played a starring role in last September’s Ryder Cup, lapped a deep field at Doral for his first World Golf Championship keepsake and alienated some with a persona that, at times, has veered dangerously close to cocky.

Although Reed’s Grand Slam record is far from impressive (in four major starts his best finish is a tie for 35th) his drive for success goes well beyond a simple desire to win. Instead, it’s rooted in an appetite to prove others wrong, and that can be a powerful motivator.


Still just 22, Hideki Matsuyama will make his 10th career major start at the upcoming Masters. That’s more than Jordan Spieth (nine). More than Brooks Koepka (seven). And more than Patrick Reed (five).

Matsuyama, it seems, does everything on an accelerated timeline, because despite his youth and relative inexperience, he’s already managed a pair of top-10s in the majors and missed only one cut. That speaks to his remarkable ball-striking skills, for the Japanese star ranks annually as one of the Tour’s leaders in proximity to the hole.

Granted, his putting leaves much to be desired – perhaps you saw his shaky attempts on the back nine at both Kapalua and Phoenix – but his long game is good enough to give him more opportunities to win than the other under-25 studs. He won’t just become the first Japanese male to win a major. He’ll win a few of ’em, sooner rather than later. 


Deserved or not, Patrick Reed is gaining a reputation as a cutthroat competitor.

For better or worse, he's being depicted as ruthless.

Whether he likes it or not, whether more than whispers are true or not, his image is growing harder and edgier.

Fair or not, if he is the kind of guy who thrives with a chip on his shoulder, he may be looking to shush more than European galleries this year. He may be ready to shush everyone with his bold game steamrolling through the majors. He is a complex figure whose attitude seems as vital to his performance as his talent. He looks ready to kick butt in majors, whether anyone outside his camp likes it or not.


I have been bullish on last week’s winner Brooks Koepka for months, but I still believe Jordan Spieth is the most likely candidate from the under-25 crop to snag a major win. While Patrick Reed has more wins, Spieth has shown a consistent ability to put himself into contention – including at majors, where Reed has yet to crack the top 30 in four tries.

Spieth knows what it takes to win on the PGA Tour, and his international double-dip to end 2014 supplied an extra dose of confidence. Even in his 2015 debut at TPC Scottsdale, Spieth never truly felt in contention but still left with a T-7 finish.

The game is there for Spieth, and the stats back it up: sixth on Tour in birdie average last season, 13th in scrambling and 14th in scoring average. Soon the major trophy will be there as well. 

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”