Simpson leads Bridgestone by 1; Woods 2 back

By Will GrayAugust 1, 2013, 9:44 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Under sunny skies in the season’s third World Golf Championship event, several players got off to hot starts. None was better, though, than Webb Simpson, who takes a one-shot lead into the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after opening with a 64.

Leaderboard: Webb Simpson (-6), Henrik Stenson (-5), Tiger Woods (-4), Chris Wood (-4), Ryan Moore (-4), Keegan Bradley (-4)

What it means: In (surprisingly) just his first start in this event, Simpson made the most of his maiden trip around Firestone Country Club's South Course. After 18 holes, he clings to a slim advantage over Stenson, whose good play carried over from Scotland, while Woods highlights the group of players just two shots back, seeking his eighth career win at Firestone.

Round of the day: Though Simpson hit only 11 of 18 greens in regulation, he was still able to roll in eight birdies, taking just 22 putts during his opening round. Despite a closing bogey at the ninth hole, he was able to set the early pace in Akron thanks to a round that included a stretch of four straight birdies from No. 17 to No. 2.

Best of the rest: Stenson picked up right where he left off following his runner-up finish at Muirfield, making an eagle to go along with three birdies amid his bogey-free round of 65. The Swede was somewhat wild off the tee – a telling stat considering he currently leads the Tour in driving accuracy. Still, despite finding only eight of 14 fairways Thursday, Stenson sits just one shot back heading into Friday’s second round.

Biggest disappointment: Making his first start since claiming the claret jug, Phil Mickelson was unable to find his touch on Firestone’s slick greens Thursday. While the southpaw notched three birdies, he also carded five bogeys, missing several putts from inside 10 feet along the way. It all added up to a 2-over 72, and Mickelson now faces an eight-shot deficit after just 18 holes in his quest to win a third straight start.

Main storyline heading into Friday: While Simpson certainly has the credentials to contend this weekend, much of the attention after one round is on Woods as he looks for his first win at Firestone since 2009. His opening 66 had elements of a round much lower than that, and it remains to be seen if he can put together a similar effort Friday afternoon on a course where birdies are expected to continue to drop across the next three days.

Quote of the day: “In 2011, I was 51st in the world and didn’t get in, and last year our daughter Willow was born. So it was a nice entry round for me into this golf tournament.” – Simpson  

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Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.

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Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.