Hot Rod Leads Ford Championship

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 6, 2003, 5:00 pm
Fresh off his opening-round 8-under 64, which gave him the lead in the Ford Championship at Doral, Rod Pampling was asked by the media to talk about his professional life over the past few years.
 
Well, after the British Open, Pampling started his response.
 
It always goes back to the 1999 British Open for Rod Pampling. Theres B.C. and A.C. ' Before Carnoustie, and After.
 
Pampling was the first-round leader following an even-par 71. Eighteen holes and 86 strokes later, however, and he watching the final two rounds on TV.
 
It didnt really bother me because I knew I didnt play bad, the conditions were just unbelievably tough, said Pampling, who noted the average score that Friday was in the neighborhood of 79.
 
It might have rolled right off the 33-year-old Australians back, but its still his small claim to fame, or infamy.
 
That could change come Sunday evening, should he continue the play he displayed Thursday morning.
 
Pampling made eight birdies and no bogeys in the first round of the first event on the 2003 Florida Swing. His play was so precise that he needed only one putt of longer than 12 feet to fall in order to post his career-best round on the PGA Tour.
 
I had a real solid day, said Pampling, who finished his round just as the trademark Florida winds were gaining strength. The par-5s were a big key. Besides the first hole, everything else was just a tap-in on the par-5s.
 
This marks the first time since 1999 that Pampling has held a PGA Tour lead at days end. He did that on more than one occasion on the Nationwide Tour, where he spent 2000 and 2001. Last year, he was a rookie on the primary circuit, and allowed himself a sophomore season by finishing 89th on the money list.
 
Pamplings advantage is one over Bob Tway, who is winless on tour since the 1995 Heritage.
 
Scott Hoch and 2002 British Open runner-up Thomas Levet are tied for third place at 6-under.
 
Hoch is playing in just his third event of the season. He is limiting himself to courses where he feels he has a chance to compete. Doral measures 7,125 yards, but Hoch feels the pinched fairways and moderate rough gives shorter hitters a chance.
 
Though, he almost didnt get a chance to tee it up Thursday.
 
Something in my hand kind of locked up yesterday and I had a problem; it got worse as the day went on. I couldnt hit it in a 10-acre field, Hoch said.
 
A tour-provided trainer stabilized Hochs left wrist with tape, which he wore overnight. He cut it off prior to his morning warm-up session, and said he didnt feel comfortable competing until about 10 balls from the end of practicing.
 
Maybe when you take off as long as I did and all of a sudden you play for two straight weeks, it might take its toll, Hoch said. Im going to go back (to the fitness trailer) today and have him work on it. Its moving a lot better than it did yesterday.
 
The 47-year-old took off nearly three months before making his season debut in the Nissan Open. He then lost to an unrelenting Tiger Woods in the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship. He used a new set of Yonex irons last week at La Costa, when his specialized set was mistakenly sent to his home in Orlando, Fla. He has both sets on site this week, though he used the replacement clubs Thursday.
 
Hoch also deployed a new putter. He temporarily put aside his basic Scotty Cameron model for the Futura, which has been used by Phil Mickelson.
 
That was the key to my round today, Hoch said of his 29-putt performance. He added that he was happy with the results, if not the design.
 
It looks like a potato masher with holes it,' he said. 'Im very traditional as far as how clubs look. This one does not fit the traditional pattern at all, so its taking some getting used to as far as looking down at it.
 
The proof is in the pudding. It rolls so good. If you can look past that ' how it looks ' you can get used to it.
 
While he may not like what he sees, Hoch is happy that hes at least seeing it clearly. He underwent his third laser eye surgery in a year in the off-season, and says he is almost void of double vision, thanks to a hard contact lens in right eye.
 
My vision is very good straight ahead, but if I peripherate on my right eye, its still a little double, he explained. The problem is getting used to having one contact in and not having one in the other.
 
Two-time Doral winner Jack Nicklaus was 3-over before birdieing his final two holes for a 1-over 73.
 
I was so mad at myself after bogeying 4, 6 and 7, that I got on the eighth tee and said, Forget it. Were now playing the rest of the tournament. And then I birdie 8 and 9. So now Im 2-under for the rest of the tournament ' Im going from there, said the 63-year-old, who is competing in just his second regular tour event in the last 22 months.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Ford Championship
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”