Cayeux Takes One-Stroke Lead in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean and local favorite signed for a 5-under-par 67 and a one-stroke lead that was settled shortly after a 30-minute lightning delay and amidst a thundershower.
Cayeux stood in the rough left of the par-5 18th fairway and in a seven-way tie for the lead at 4-under-par when the siren sounded for the suspension of the round.
When play resumed, Cayeux pitched his second just short of the green, chipped up to 10 feet and holed the putt for the outright lead.
'Now the pressure's really going to be on me to win,' said Cayeux, who in the absence of Mark McNulty, Nick Price and Tony Johnstone has been targeted by the locals as the man to continue the Zimbabwean dominance of this event.
'It's nice to be in the lead. But I'm just going to go home and try and forget about it. I'll play computer games or something,' he said.
But Cayeux will struggle to keep his mind clear of a bunched up leaderboard behind him.
Only one stroke back lies the experience of European Tour campaigners Jean Hugo, Darren Fichardt and Nic Henning, as well as Sammy Daniels, Dean Lambert and another local in Shane Pringle.
Fichardt was headed for a share of the lead at 4-under par before the delay. But he returned to miss his eight-foot birdie putt at the last.
Ian Hutchings, Steve van Vuuren and Sean Pappas are also well-placed in a group of seven professionals on 69.
But Cayeux's composure is his greatest asset, a quality which was no better illustrated than at the par-5 11th on Thursday.
Standing over a drive that finished under the trees left of the fairway, Cayeux pulled off a brilliant recovery when he threaded his second through the smallest gap and to about 30 feet from the hole, where he two-putted for birdie. Cayeux's round of seven birdies and two drops also featured two 40-foot putts for par.
Hugo represents one of the greatest threats to Cayeux's hopes of keeping the trophy north of the Limpopo River. The Capetonian has just returned from a successful year on the European Tour and is hunting his second Zimbabwe Open title in three years this week.
'It was a tough day out there, but at least this is four strokes better than my first round when I won here in 1999,' said Hugo, who also finished second in this event last year.
Hugo's biggest downfall was his inability to adjust to the milder conditions on the Sunshine Tour following a tough year in Europe.
'I'm struggling a bit with my middle irons. I'm just not used to the difference in altitude and weather yet. You come from the European Tour where the weather is terrible to here where it's great, and it's tough to convince yourself that where you're used to hitting a 6-iron you can now hit a 9-iron,' he said.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba
Conor Moore is known for his impressions of golfers, and he is back with a new video just in time for The Open.
Moore even got the thumbs up from Ian Poulter.
This is hilarious..— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 16, 2018
Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite
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
Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC
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.
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.
Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense
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.
“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.”