Late-Surging OMalley Takes Title in England
Peter O'Malley talks about his win
OMalley fired a gorgeous final round 66 over the Marriott Forest of Arden to end at 13-under-par 275, one stroke better than Frances Raphael Jacquelin (70) and two better than Adam Scott, who struggled Sunday with a 73.
Entering the final day, Jacquelin was looking to become the first back-to-back French winner in European Tour history, after his countryman Thomas Levet took the Victor Chandler British Masters last week, while Scott ' the young Australian who has been so much compared to the World No. 1 Woods ' was searching for his second win this season.
Everyone seemed to have a story developing. Everyone, that is, except OMalley.
Starting the day at minus-seven and five shots back of leader Scott, OMalley wasnt even given a remote shot to win, and after he had made the turn in a rather boring 1-under 35, nothing had changed much.
But just then, the 35-year-old Australian suddenly got his game in gear, birdieing the 10th and 11th, and then eagling the par-5 12th. Another birdie at No. 14, and the two-time winner on the tour was suddenly at minus-13.
In the meantime, Scotts once pristine game had tuned sour, as the long-bombing 20-year-old bogied three of his first six holes. He managed to recover some of his lost ground with birdies at Nos. 7 and 12, but another bogey at the 13th, combined with OMalleys superb run, and the younger Aussie had quickly fallen two back, where he would stay for the duration of the round.
I just played badly today, said Scott. I didnt make any putts. It is disappointing but I am sure I will have another chance.
In the end on Sunday, it was only Jacquelin who had any sort of a chance of catching OMalley.
Entering the par-4 16th, the smooth-swinging Frenchman was just one shot back of OMalley at 12-under, and faced a 35-foot left-to-right swinging putt for birdie. Needing just to get it close so as not to lose any ground, the three-time winner on the Challenge Tour promptly rolled the ball into the cup for birdie and a tie of the lead.
However, on the difficult finishing par-3 18th, Jacquelin hit his tee shot short and into a bunker. He blasted out to 10 feet past the hole, and then missed his par attempt which would have forced a sudden-death playoff.
I enjoyed being in contention very much, stated a contented Jacquelin. If someone had said at the start of the week that I would be second then I would have been very happy.
For OMalley, this win marks his third victory in 12 years on the tour. While his last came at the 1995 Benson and Hedges International Open, his inaugural occurred at the 92 Scottish Open at Gleneagles, when he fired another low round on the last day ' a 62 which beat out Colin Montgomerie by 2 shots.
He commented on the similarities of the two rounds: On that occasion I didnt see anyone else finish because I was told no one could beat me, but I was watching this time. Certainly my run from the eighth to the 14th was similar golf to that tournament.
Speaking of Montgomerie, the big Scot withdrew this week because of a bad back. While initial word had it that he might miss next weeks U.S. Open at Southern Hills, the latest is saying that he was back on the practice range Sunday and feeling much better. He is expected to make the trip to Tulsa.
Darren Clarke is another who will certainly venture to the States next week. The two-time defending champion of this English Open is finding some good form as well. He did not make it three-in-a-row this week, but did record a respectable finish of fifth at 7-under.
Young Englishman Justin Rose did not fare quite as well. Hanging around the top of the leaderboard all week, Rose blew up Sunday at the Forest of Arden with a 79 to finish at level-par for the tournament.
Full-field scores from the English Open
Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2
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.”
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.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
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.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism
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.
“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.
“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.
How The Open cut line is determined
Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.
The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:
• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.
• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.
• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.
The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.