Schauffele rallies for first win at Greenbrier

By Will GrayJuly 9, 2017, 9:51 pm

After bursting onto the scene with a T-5 finish at Erin Hills, Xander Schauffele is now a winner on the PGA Tour. Here's how things ended at The Greenbrier Classic, where Schauffele birdied the final hole to notch his first career victory:

Leaderboard: Xander Schauffele (-14), Robert Streb (-13), Jamie Lovemark (-12), Sebastian Munoz (-12)

What it means: Schauffele started the day three shots behind Munoz, but the 54-hole leader stumbled which allowed several other players to vie for the title. The top four players were separated by a single shot at one point on the back nine, but Schauffele hit the decisive shot when his approach on the par-3 18th nestled within 4 feet of the hole. The subsequent birdie lifted him one shot clear of Streb, who was unable to birdie either 17 or 18 and again falls short on The Old White TPC after losing a playoff at this event in 2015.

Round of the day: Ryan Blaum fired a bogey-free 64 to race up the standings into a tie for seventh at 10 under, recording his best career finish on Tour. Blaum made the turn in 2-under 32 before adding four birdies over an eight-hole stretch from Nos. 10-17 that briefly gave him the clubhouse lead.

Best of the rest: Phil Mickelson started the day 14 shots off the lead, but he built some momentum with a closing 64 that featured five back-nine birdies. Lefty made the cut for the first time in four trips to The Greenbrier, and his final round was his lowest score on Tour since an opening 63 at The Open last year at Royal Troon.

Biggest disappointment: Munoz shot an opening-round 61 and led after each of the first three rounds, but he couldn't keep it on track during a final-round 72 that included five bogeys. Munoz bounced back from a tough front nine to actually regain a share of the lead down the stretch, but he was unable to overcome a costly bogey on the 16th hole and was ultimately denied a breakthrough win.

Shot of the day: Schauffele was tied for the lead with Streb when he stepped to the 72nd tee and stuffed it from 161 yards. With the win he went from Tour rookie to exempt through 2019 and into the next three major championships, including the Masters.

Quote of the day: "I think it honestly just changed my life, really. I need a little bit of time to take it all in." - Schauffele

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.