Spieth leads Stenson by one at Tour Championship

By Nick MentaSeptember 26, 2015, 7:48 pm

Jordan Spieth buried a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to shoot a 2-under 68 Saturday and pass Henrik Stenson for the lead at the Tour Championship. Here's how things stand through 54 holes at East Lake, where Spieth leads Stenson by one.

Leaderboard: Spieth (-8), Stenson (-7), Fowler (-4), Casey (-4)

What it means: Up three to start the day, Stenson’s lead vanished on 17 after he failed to save par from the greenside bunker, and he found himself suddenly trailing when Spieth birdied 18. Despite shooting a 2-over 72, Stenson remains in position to win Sunday's jackpot. The steely Swede has not won on the PGA Tour since his double trophy lift at East Lake in 2013, when he took home both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. He has the chance to do the same tomorrow and join Tiger Woods as the only players to win multiple FedEx Cups. Spieth, separately, could cap off his dominant year with his fifth title and put an end to any lingering Player of the Year debates.

Round of the day: Rickie Fowler rolled in a 15-footer for birdie on the 18th hole to shoot a 3-under-par 67. After making three bogeys on the front and going out in 1-over 36, Fowler made four birdies across a spotless final nine to close in 31.

Biggest disappointment: On a difficult day to score at East Lake, Rory McIlroy put enough circles on his scorecard to vault himself to the top of the leaderboard; he just made too many mistakes. McIlroy traded six birdies for four bogeys and a closing double bogey on No. 18. After his 4-iron came up short of the green on the par-3 finishing hole, McIlory struggled to find his footing on a slope above the front bunker and ended up running his chip shot into the back fringe, from where he would three-putt. After making just two pars on the back nine at Nos. 10 and 11, McIlroy signed for an even-par 70. He now finds himself five back.

Shots of the day: Two putts, both from Spieth. After blowing his tee shot at the par-4 16th way right and failing to find the fairway with a punch from the woods, Spieth poured in a 22-foot putt for par to stay, at the time, just one back of Stenson, before tying him on the next hole. He took the lead outright with his 20-foot make at the last.

Storyline to watch heading into Sunday: Stenson, Spieth and Fowler would all win the FedEx Cup with a win tomorrow. The payout for winning both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup is $11,485,000.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated” while taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor, he made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

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Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”