Thompson fires 64, shares Nabisco lead with Pak

By Will GrayApril 5, 2014, 12:18 am

Lexi Thompson is in search of her first major title, but she put herself in position halfway through the Kraft Nabisco Championship after a sizzling 64. Here's how things look after two rounds in Rancho Mirage, where the 19-year-old shares the lead with Se Ri Pak:

Leaderboard: Lexi Thompson (-7), Se Ri Pak (-7), Michelle Wie (-6), Shanshan Feng (-5), Cristie Kerr (-5), Morgan Pressel (-4), Anna Nordqvist (-4)

What it means: Thompson took the Dinah Shore Tournament Course by storm Friday, and after opening with a 73 she now shares the lead at the mid-way point with Pak, who won the first of her five major titles 16 years ago. The leaderboard has no shortage of storylines, though, as Wie remains just one shot back and Kerr, a former world No. 1 is just two shots off the pace.

Round of the day: Thompson began slowly, carding five straight pars, but then quickly caught fire. She birdied six of her next eight holes to move up the leaderboard, then closed the round with two more birdies across her final three holes. She failed to drop a shot, and while her score was two off the course record, it does stand as the lowest second-round score in the event's illustrious history.

Best of the rest: Gerina Piller appeared headed for an early exit after opening with a 5-over 77, but the Solheim Cup veteran rebounded in impressive fashion, carding a 7-under 65 to move inside the top 15. Piller's round, like Thompson's, was bogey-free, and she birdied three of the four par-5s in Rancho Mirage. At 2 under, she heads into the weekend tied for 11th, five shots off the pace.

Biggest disappointment: Yani Tseng won this event in 2010 during a stretch of nearly unparalleled dominance over the women's game, but the former world No. 1 has lost her form of late and stumbled once again this week. Tseng carded rounds of 75 and 76, making only four total birdies, and missed the cut by two shots.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: All eyes will be on Thompson as she looks to back up her stellar second-round effort, though Pak certainly can't be overlooked as she vies for a major title that has eluded her over the years. Wie remains in contention after a 1-under 71 and the leaderboard is a stacked one, with six former major champions currently in the top eight.

Quote of the day: "This is one of my goals, to win a major this year." - Thompson

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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.”