Elkington Mickelson Lead Way at BellSouth
Steve Elkington and Phil Mickelson share the lead through the second round of the BellSouth Classic in Duluth, Ga. Elkington, the overnight leader, shot 3-under 69 Friday to move to 11-under-par 133 for the event. 2000 BellSouth champion Mickelson matched his overall score with a 68 in round two.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is one back after a 66. European Ryder Cupper Padraig Harrington (65) is also at minus 10, thanks to tying his career low round on the PGA Tour.
Jesper Parnevik shot 69 to move to 9-under. Also in the mix is Phil Tataurangi. The Kiwi fired the low round of the day, an 8-under 64, to tie Parnevik.
The BellSouth is the final event before the players take I-20 to Augusta for the Masters Tournament.
Mickelson continued to prepare for his major quest by posting six birdies and two bogeys at the TPC at Sugarloaf. Elkington, the 1995 PGA champion, made four birdies to just one bogey.
The Aussie, however, will not be competing at Augusta National. For the second straight season, he failed to qualify for the invitational. Since his last tour victory at Doral in 1999, Elkington has finished 154th and 117th on the money list. Hes plummeted all the way to 162nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.
'I like winning,' he said. 'I haven't had many opportunities, but I do appreciate them when I get them. I'd like to do well here on Saturday and Sunday.'
Elkington has missed the cut in four of eight tournaments this year and has only four top-10 finishes since the start of the 2000 season. Part of the reason has been due to a series of injuries.
'I'm only 39,' he said. 'I have plenty of time. I feel fit now, and I feel I have a lot of good golf in me. I am strong. I am big. I hit it plenty far ... and I've got all that experience now.'
Parneviks round was the most entertaining Friday. The Swede holed his second shot with a 6-iron from 172 yards on the first hole. He then aced the par-3 eighth with a 5-iron from 217 yards. He also added three birdies, two bogeys and one double to his card.
Goosen, likewise, recorded two eagles. He made a 3 on the par-5 sixth, and a 2 on the par-4 13th.
Full-field scores from the BellSouth Classic
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.”