As Tiger struggles, C. Woods fires career-best 63

By Randall MellJune 4, 2015, 7:47 pm

Nobody’s asking Tiger Woods what it’s like to play in the shadow of his niece today.

Still, Cheyenne Woods was a towering presence Thursday at the Manulife LPGA Classic.

With a 9-under-par 63, Cheyenne moved to the top of the leaderboard in the first round at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. The effort looked like it was going to hold up through the afternoon to give her the first lead she has ever had in an LPGA event until Cristie Kerr and P.K. Kongkraphan matched Woods late in the day. The trio is one shot ahead of Germany’s Sandra Gal and Israel’s Laetitia Beck, and two ahead of Anna Nordqvist, Sei Young Kim and Brittany Lang.

Woods tied the course record with her best round on tour as an LPGA rookie.

With so much attention on her Uncle Tiger playing at the same time at the Memorial, where he struggled to hit fairways and greens shooting 73, Cheyenne put on a ball-striking clinic. She hit all 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation. 

“I had one bogey, which was a stupid three-putt, but overall I played solid,” Cheyenne said in her post-round meeting with the media.

Woods, 24, broke through to win her first Ladies European Tour title last year, taking the Australian Ladies Masters. Now, she’s looking to mount a run at her first LPGA title. Woods won LPGA membership in December making it through Q-School in her third try. Her rookie season, though, has been a school-of-hard-knocks learning experience. She has missed the cut in her last five starts.

At 113th on the LPGA money list, Woods could use a nice boost of good play to set her summer off right with a re-shuffle of the tour’s priority ranking in three weeks.

“It’s great to be in this position,” Woods said when asked how she will feel playing with a lead. “I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm just going to go out there – it's a new day – and go into it with the same mindset and just go play golf.”

Woods beat Australian Minjee Lee in a Sunday duel winning the Australian Ladies Masters last year. Lee won her first LPGA title at Kingsmill a couple weeks ago.

Woods got herself off to a strong start Thursday playing the first round alongside Jaye Marie Green and Brittany Henderson. Woods and Green went with fellow pro Sadena Parks to see rapper Drake in a concert in Toronto Tuesday night. Woods said it set the tone for a fun week.

“Jaye Marie and I were talking the whole day,” Woods said. “It was very relaxed.

“I think the biggest thing, we were just having fun out there. Sometimes that’s when I play my best, and it worked out.”

Woods caught fire in the middle of Thursday’s round. She holed a 50-foot eagle putt at the ninth hole and then birdied the 10th, 11th and 12th holes. She grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie at the 16th and took sole possession of the lead with a birdie at the 17th.

“Last week I didn't play well, but I putted better, so I carried that into this week,” Woods said. “I'm putting better this week also. I think that gives me more confidence from the fairway, too, for my approach shots. I think that was a big change for me that helped me.”

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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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.