Nobilo: Surprised to be trailing again

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2011, 7:19 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – To International assistant captain Frank Nobilo the Day 1 surprise at the Presidents Cup wasn’t Adam Scott and K.J. Choi’s convincing victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, although the 7-and-6 trouncing certainly qualified as a stunner.

For Nobilo the biggest surprise was his side’s continued inability to win an opening foursome session.

“It looked like 3-3 all day,” said Nobilo following play on Thursday. “We’ve been in this situation a lot and we think we know what it is.”

Despite Scott and Choi’s victory, the Internationals failed to win another match, dropping their opening foursome record to 3-5-1. “If you’re ahead after Day 1 it makes your job statistically a lot easier,” Nobilo said.

Nobilo said the mood in the International team room was high despite the deficit and he and captain Greg Norman’s confidence in their pairings was evident when they announced their Day 2 fourball draw.

Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa – who lost to Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, 4 and 2 – will again be first out, and Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley who lost a late lead and halved their match with Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, will be paired again on Friday.

“They are pretty resilient,” Nobilo said. “The good news is we have a pretty strong team.”

According to Nobilo, Els – who has won three times at Royal Melbourne – will remain with Ishikawa to help the Japanese player navigate the humps and bumps of Royal Melbourne and a new wind that is forecast for Friday.

“Royal Melbourne is a major championship golf course,” he said. “If you make a mistake on the wrong side, no matter how good your skills are, you can put yourself in an impossible spot.”

Nobilo also said he was a little surprised U.S. captain Fred Couples split up Woods and Stricker, who went undefeated at Harding Park in 2009, for Friday’s fourball session. “I imagine if they played well (on Thursday) they would have been kept together,” he said.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk’s play on Day 1 – they beat Retief Goosen and Robert Allenby, 4 and 3 – didn’t surprise Nobilo, at least not in retrospect.

“Phil’s won three green jackets and those greens (Augusta National) have the same designer (Alister MacKenzie),” he said. “It was a good pairing that you wouldn’t think about until it was on paper and you realize it makes sense.”

Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Thursday 5:30PM-midnight, Friday 3PM-midnight and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

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Casey (62) opens up four-shot lead at Travelers

By Nick MentaJune 23, 2018, 9:48 pm

On the strength of an 8-under 62, Paul Casey will take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship. Here’s where things stand through three rounds outside Hartford.

Leaderboard: Casey (-16), Russell Henley (-12), J.B. Holmes (-11), Anirban Lahiri (-11), Brian Harman (-11)

What it means: Casey is hunting his third PGA Tour victory and his second this season. The Englishman went nine years between Tour titles and racked up a number of near-misses after dedicating himself to a full-time U.S. schedule in 2015. He finally broke through earlier this year at the Valspar, edging a resurgent Tiger Woods, and now looks to further kick down a finally open door. TPC River Highlands is a gettable golf course, and notable names like Day, Watson and DeChambeau lurk at 10 under, but the field may need some help from Casey, who has separated himself through 54 holes.  

Round of the day: Casey fired the round of the week with six birdies and an eagle at the short par-4 15th. He leads the tournament in birdies made with six in each round for 18 total. He has hit each of his last 23 greens in regulation.

Best of the rest: Jaime Lovemark signed for a 6-under 64 highlighted by an eagle at 15. He enters Sunday tied for 11th, hunting his fourth top-10 finish of the season.

Biggest disappointment: While Casey was ripping up the course, four of the top seven players in the Official World Golf Ranking - Rory McIlroy (69), Brooks Koepka (69), Justin Thomas (70) and Jordan Spieth (71) - combined to shoot 1 under par Saturday. .

Shot of the day: James Hahn’s slam-dunk ace from 154 yards at the par-3 11th.

After a 3-over front nine, Hahn closed in 29 on the back for a ho-hum 67.

Quote of the day: "That's something I rarely see from me, 18 greens in regulation. So whatever he told me worked" - Casey on his work with his swing coach, Peter Kostis

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Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:20 pm

There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.

It was Hahn's first ace on the PGA Tour.

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Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:05 pm

Ernie Els is one proud uncle.

His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.

Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.

"It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."

Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.

"It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."

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Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 6:42 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.

McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.

McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.

McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.