Koepka surges to Frys.com lead after 64

By Will GrayOctober 11, 2013, 11:53 pm

CordeValle Golf Club continued to yield low scores Friday during the second round of the season-opening Frys.com Open. Here's how things shape up heading into the weekend in Northern California, where Brooks Koepka finds his name atop the leaderboard after 36 holes:

Leaderboard: Brooks Koepka (-11), Jason Kokrak (-10), Robert Garrigus (-9), Jim Herman (-9), Camilo Villegas (-8), Charlie Wi (-7), Kevin Tway (-7), Kyle Stanley (-7)

What it means: After winning three times on the Challenge Tour last season, Koepka earned a promotion to the European Tour earlier this year. Though he's not a full PGA Tour member, the 23-year-old is looking to follow in the footsteps of phenom Jordan Spieth by earning his status as the season progresses. He's off to a strong start thus far, staked to a one-shot advantage as he seeks his maiden Tour title.

Round of the day: Garrigus began his round quickly Friday, carding two birdies across his first three holes. The former PGA Tour winner then birdied Nos. 6-9 to card an outward 29, adding three more red figures on his inward half to card an 8-under 63. The score helped Garrigus ascend 32 spots up the leaderboard, and he will now begin Saturday's third round within two shots of Koepka.

Best of the rest: Beginning his round on the back nine, Koepka had a turbulent outward half that included only two pars. Though he bogeyed Nos. 11 and 14, Koepka more than made up for those blemishes with an eagle on the par-5 15th to go along with four birdies. The 23-year-old closed with a pair of birdies on holes 8-9 to break free of the pack and claim sole possession of the lead on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.

Biggest disappointment: Coming off his appearance at the Presidents Cup, Angel Cabrera figured to factor this week among a relatively weak field on a course that rewards length off the tee. Instead, the Argentine failed to break par in either of his first two rounds, following up his opening 75 with a 1-over 72 Friday to miss the cut by five shots in the season opener.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: All eyes will be on Koepka, who many fans may only know as Tiger Woods' playing partner during the final round of this year's PGA Championship. The Floridian has significant game, though, as evidenced by his first two rounds at CordeValle. It remains to be seen whether he can hold up under the pressure of a final pairing on the PGA Tour, with former winners like Garrigus, Stanley and Villegas close behind with two rounds still to play.

Shot of the day: A runner-up here a year ago, Kokrak came to the ninth hole, his 18th of the day, three shots off the pace. After his second shot into the par-5 from 219 yards away rolled to within a foot of the cup, though, the former Xavier standout was left with a kick-in eagle that earned him a spot in Saturday's final pairing. 

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

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Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”