Van Pelt (-6) takes first-round lead at Barclays

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2014, 10:10 pm

Bo Van Pelt may have the first-round lead, but Hunter Mahan and Brendon Todd gave their Ryder Cup chances a boost Thursday at the playoff-opening Barclays. Here is the skinny on the first round at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J. 

The leaderboard: Bo Van Pelt (-6); Jim Furyk, Brendon Todd, Hunter Mahan, Paul Casey, Cameron Tringale, Charles Howell III, Brendon de Jonge and Ben Martin at -5; Ryo Ishikawa, Ricky Barnes, Danny Lee and Russell Knox at -4

What it means: Though it’s an important week for all of the 122 players in the field, it’s especially so for players such as Todd and Mahan, who could move squarely onto the Ryder Cup radar with another solid week. Last week in Greensboro, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker all stated their case. Now, it appears, it is Todd and Mahan’s turn. Todd birdied three of his last four holes to join the logjam at T-2. Mahan, meanwhile, is one of only three players (Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson) to play in every FedEx Cup event since the series started in 2007. At No. 62 in the standings, this start certainly helps that streak.   

Round of the day: Bo Van Pelt went birdie-eagle-par on his last three holes to seize the outright lead. It’s been a disappointing campaign for Van Pelt, but he has finished in the top 15 in two of his last three starts. At No. 104 in the FedEx Cup standings, he needed a good result just to prolong his season. 

Best of the rest: Outside the top 20 just once since March, Jim Furyk kept on rolling Thursday with a six-birdie 66. He has finished in the top 5 in three of his last four starts, a streak that includes two majors. Talk about karma. Last week Cameron Tringale phoned the PGA of America to disqualify himself from the PGA Championship because of a potential violation, thus forfeiting about $53,000 and valuable FedEx Cup points. The golf gods rewarded his gesture with a 66 to sit just one shot off the lead. Tringale matched his best finish of the season (fourth) last month at the Greenbrier. 

Biggest disappointment: After a sensational run over the past month, Rory McIlroy crashed down to earth Thursday with a 3-over 74 that he attributed to poor driving and a lack of preparation. It’s hard to blame the world No. 1 – who wouldn’t party in NYC after three wins in three starts? – but a missed cut in the playoff opener would take a bit of steam of his late-season surge. This was his first over-par round on Tour since the U.S. Open in June. Look for McIlroy to get back on track in the second round.

Main storyline heading into Day 2: At one point Thursday there were nine – nine! – players tied atop the leaderboard. Of all of the big-name players at 2 under or better – a group that includes Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose – which one will make a big move in the second round? 

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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.”