Looking Back at the First-Timers Part 2

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 6, 2002, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)First-time winners were more frequent than inclement weather this season on the PGA Tour. Eighteen players recorded their maiden tour victories, with three winning on multiple occasions. That number easily broke the old tour record of 14, set in 1991.
 
From Jerry Kelly winning the first full-field event to Luke Donald winning the last, here is a brief look at winners 10-18 this season.
 
Spike McRoy
 
McRoy reached his professional pinnacle by winning the B.C. Open, but plummeted soon after. He missed eight cuts in his last 11 starts. McRoy made $378,000 for his win in Endicott, N.Y., which made up more than half of his $616,814 yearly income. His 110th-place finish on the money list was the worst by a tour winner since Ed Dougherty ended 1995 in the 122nd position.
 

Craig Parry
 
The stout Australian followed in Kevin Sutherlands footsteps in making a World Golf Championships event his first tour victory. He snapped a 235-tournament winless streak by capturing the NEC Invitational. Parry, who at one time was the tours leading money earner without a win, made $1 million for his triumph at Sahalee. That accounted for nearly 70 percent of his 2002 winnings.
 

Chris Riley
 
As was the case when Sutherland won the Match Play and Ian Leggatt won in Tucson, a pair of first-timers won again in the same week. Riley prevailed in the Reno-Tahoe Open, which was played simultaneously to the NEC Invitational. Riley denied Jonathan Kaye his first tour title by winning in a playoff.
 
The 29-year-old continued his ascent up the money list. He was 112th in his rookie season of 1999; 71st in 2000; 45th in 2001; and 23rd this year.
 

John Rollins
 
Rollins shot 65 in the final round of the Bell Canadian Open, and then watched as Neal Lancaster double-bogeyed the final hole to force a playoff. Rollins rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on the first extra hole to defeat Lancaster and Justin Leonard. He earned $720,000 en route to finishing 25th on the money list. He made almost $170,000 in his rookie year of 2001, and a shade under $2 million in his sophomore season.
 

Charles Howell III
 
Shouldered with weighty expectations since turning professional in 2000, the lithe Howell finally got his first title at the Michelob Championship. It didnt take as long as it did for the likes of Parry, but Howell was much relieved after career start No. 56. The 23-year-old Augusta, Ga., native made over $2.7 million in 2002 to finish ninth in earnings.
 
Howell started the year with three top-10s in his first five starts, before struggling in the middle of the season. After his opening-round 70 at the Michelob, though, he concluded the campaign with 16 consecutive sub-70 rounds.
 

Phil Tataurangi
 
Tataurangi shot 10-under 62 in the final round to win the Invensys Classic at Las Vegas. He became the 15th first-time winner of the season, officially breaking the old tour record. Tataurangi, who has suffered all his life with a heart malady, made $900,000 for his victory, and vaulted into position to try and qualify for The Tour Championship. Instead, he decided to skip the remainder of the year, and finished 33rd on the money list.
 

Bob Burns
 
Burns held off Tiger Woods to win the Disney Golf Classic. The former Buy.Com Tour Player of the Year won his first PGA Tour event in his 173rd start. He made $630,000 to surpass the seasonal $1-million mark for the first time in his career.
 

Jonathan Byrd
 
The tour freshman played a five-hole stretch in 7-under-par on the back nine Sunday to win the Buick Challenge. Byrd shot 63 to keep David Toms out of the winners circle this year. He was the first rookie to win on the PGA Tour in 2002. He finished 39th on the money list, just ahead of fellow Rookie of the Year candidates Pat Perez (40) and Peter Lonard (41).
 

Luke Donald
 
Donald became the fifth consecutive first-timer to win on tour when the final round of the Southern Farm Bureau Classic was washed out. The 24-year-old Englishman was leading in Mississippi through three days when rain wiped out play Sunday and Monday. He joined Byrd as the only rookies to win on tour this season. Donald was 58th in earnings.
 
Look at winners 1-9.
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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.”