Putnam, Knox share Shriners lead at Summerlin

By Will GrayOctober 18, 2014, 12:28 am

Scores remained low in the Las Vegas desert, where a pair of players share the lead, with both in search of their maiden win. Here's how things look at the halfway point of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where Andrew Putnam and Russell Knox sit atop the standings:

Leaderboard: Andrew Putnam (-10), Russell Knox (-10), Andrew Svoboda (-9), Tony Finau (-9), Webb Simpson (-8), Scott Piercy (-8), Martin Laird (-8)

What it means: Putnam is a rookie making just his third PGA Tour start, and he may even be the lesser-known player within his own family; his brother, Michael, led the Web.com Tour money list in 2013. Putnam moved into the lead with a 6-under 65, while Knox - who lost a playoff earlier this year at the Honda Classic - carded a 4-under 67.

Round of the day: It's been a tough few years for Spencer Levin, who has battled both injury and a loss of form, but he bounced back in a big way with an 8-under 63 Friday. Levin birdied seven of his final eight holes, and after a T-21 finish at the season-opening Frys.com Open, he heads into the weekend in a tie for fifth, two shots off the pace.

Best of the rest: George McNeill won this event in 2007 and is again in the mix after matching Levin's 8-under 63 in the second round. McNeill made nine birdies, six on the back nine, against just one bogey to bounce back after an opening 71 left him outside the projected cut line.

Biggest disappointment: Stewart Cink came out of the gates quickly with a first-round 64 to grab a share of the lead, but the former Open champ struggled mightily in Round 2. Cink made a quadruple-bogey 8 on No. 11, his second hole of the day, after taking four shots from greenside bunkers, and eventually carded a 4-over 75 that dropped him seven shots off the lead.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: It remains to be seen how the players in contention handle the spotlight, as the top four names have never won on the PGA Tour. A large group of players lurking at 8 under includes Simpson, the defending champion in Las Vegas, and Laird, who tied for third last week at Silverado. Former FedEx Cup champ Brandt Snedeker also remains in the hunt, just three shots off the lead.

Shot of the day: Tim Clark offered a mid-round highlight at No. 18, his ninth hole of the day, when his approach from 161 yards found the hole on the fly for a slam-dunk eagle. The shot propelled Clark to a second-round 67. He will begin the third round at 7 under, three shots back.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.