Three Top Leaderboard in Virginia

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 5, 2001, 4:00 pm
Through late afternoon winds, Len Mattiace shot a 6-under-par 66 to join Chris Riley and Jonathan Kaye as leaders of the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill.
The threesome sits at 9-under-par 133 through 36 holes, one stroke better than three other golfers, including defending champion and overnight leader David Toms, who backed up an opening-round 64 with a 70 on Friday.
Two strokes back at 7-under is another large group of six players, including young Charles Howell III, who carded a day-low 65.
While Riley and Kaye each recorded their 67s in the relative calm of early afternoon, Mattiace finished his round as winds began whipping through the Williamsburg area of Virginia later in the day.
His round began on a down note with a bogey-five at the par-4 1st, but the Jacksonville, Fla. resident turned it around with six unanswered birdies over the remainder of the day.
Four of those birdies came in a seven-hole stretch between the third and the ninth.
'I think when you are playing well, you want to let the flow go,' explained Mattiace.
'You want to let your momentum and your positive thoughts and your confidence take you to how ever many under you can shoot. I did that.'
In his seventh full season on the PGA Tour, Mattiace is still searching for his first win. While he has finished second on two occasions ' in 96 and 99 ' he has only recorded one top-10 finish this season at the Shell Houston Open in April.
Likewise with Mattiace, Toms also was in the top-10 at that particular event in Texas.
Since, however, Toms has been brilliant.
He won two weeks later at the Compaq Classic and then changed his life several months after that at the PGA Championship, where he claimed the Wannamaker Trophy on the 72nd hole.
Friday, though, he could do no better than 70 after turning everyones heads with his opening 64.
Riley and Kayes rounds were also head-turning.
They each shot 67 to end in joint first, but they came in decidedly different fashions.
Kayes score was composed of a mere four unanswered birdies, while Rileys day consisted of two eagles, four birdies, two bogies and a double-bogey.
In the end, both rounds equaled 67.
Just two back at 7-under, former NCAA champion Howell followed Kayes lead, producing a round of six birdies against no birdies for 65.
The 22-year-old sits two strokes better than another youngster in his first year as a professional, Bryce Molder.
Molder, also 22, shot a 71 to get to 5-under for the event.
Unfortunately, however, for the youngest player in the field, the week was not met with great success.
Competing in just his first event as a professional, 17-year-old Ty Tryon carded a 72 on Friday to end at 6-over-par 148.
He missed the midway cut, which came at 1-under 141.
Click Here for Full-Field Scores from the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill.
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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

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Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

“It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

“I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

Let it go.

Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

“I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

The only thing left to do?

Let it go.

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Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.

Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.

Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

There is, however, one running wager.

“Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”

Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.

Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.

“I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.