Fryed and Frazzled

By October 6, 2011, 4:00 pm

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Tiger Woods is making his ninth PGA Tour start of the season at the Frys.com Open. He's grouped with amateur Patrick Cantlay and 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen. NBCSports.com writer Ryan Ballengee is at CordeValle Golf Club and is tracking Woods' every move during Day 1:

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8:15 p.m. ET: At the finishing hole, Woods took driver for the 12th time on the round. He hit his fifth fairway with it and his approach from there to 12 feet. Like so many strokes on the day, however, Woods burned the edged and missed the putt. Woods shoots 2-over 73 with a putting day he described to Roger Maltbie as 'the worst putting day of (his) life.' He is six shots back of Brendan Steele, Briny Baird, Garrett Willis and Matt Bettencourt. (2 over thru 18)

7:48 p.m. ET: Perhaps the Tour will move up the tee this weekend at the short par-4 17th to recapture the final-round drama there last year. But Tiger Woods may not be around to find out. He laid up into the 17th fairway and Woods' birdie bid was nowhere near the cup – misread on break and pace. A par leaves him 2 over. (2 over thru 17)

7:35 p.m. ET: Woods' misses on the day have been predominantly left, but at 14 and again at the par-3 16th, they were to the right. Going long of the green, Tiger's pitch again left him in the testy range of a half-dozen feet. After circling the entire perimeter of the cup, Woods' par putt dropped. Even with the ball underground, Woods looked at the hole and his putter with the combined look of disbelief and tempered disappointment. (2 over thru 16)

7:26 p.m. ET: Perhaps the most complete hole for Woods since the first, Tiger hit a perfect tee shot to the par-5 15th. With the green light to go for the under-GIR, Woods landed shy of the green with a tough uphill chip to a tucked pin. Woods continues to execute with proficiency with the wedges. For a second straight hole, Woods makes a 6-footer – this time for birdie. To this point, it had been the short ones for birdie that had eluded Woods. (2 over thru 15)

7:00 p.m. ET: Make it a half-dozen bunkers for Woods through 14 holes. Though the rain has slowed, it is wet and getting colder. The trio drove their balls in the same fairway bunker to the right on the par-4 14th, some 240 yards from the tee. Woods missed the green and his chip scooted by longer than he had hoped, but finally made a 6-footer – this time for par. (3 over thru 14)

6:42 p.m. ET: Perhaps Tiger Woods is taking a page from the NFL. At this pace, Woods will have no problem making the Stanford game on Saturday. The Suck for Luck campaign might be in play. Woods is 109th in the 132-man field after a par at the 13th hole. He was 116th after two rounds of the PGA Championship. (3 over thru 13)

6:25 p.m. ET: The rain has increased substantially, now at a downpour pace. With an aggressiveness perhaps born out of frustration, Woods pulled his drive left and into the red stake hazard. Woods was forced to go backward some 120 yards and take a drop. Woods gave up two shots with a double bogey at the 12th, leaving Woods near the bottom of the field. (3 over thru 12)

5:59 p.m. ET: As the clouds roll in for the second storm of the afternoon, Woods seemed to feed off of the par save at 10. A low, boring draw at the 236-yard par-3 11th yielded his best birdie chance since No. 1. Like the ninth, however, the standard bearer needn't change his board thanks to a short miss. Another par for Woods at 11. (1 over thru 11)

5:48 p.m. ET: Through 10 holes, Woods has been in half as many bunkers. He found himself in the left bunker off the tee and came up short of the green with his second. Grinding the most since the fifth hole over his bid to get up-and-down, it pays off for Tiger and he pars No. 10. (1 over thru 10)

5:33 p.m. ET: On each of the last two holes, a member of the gallery has made a comment that Woods is not playing golf like the golden days. A pushed birdie attempt that didn't even hit the hole at the par-5 ninth might confirm what the fans are saying. Woods makes the turn at 1 over and dead last in his group, but in a speedy 2 hours, 15 minutes. (1 over thru 9)

5:12 p.m. ET: After his best drive of the day and leaving a perfect angle to the green, Woods hit a disappointing approach that was downhill with an 8-iron. After the shot, Woods stared toward the hills and then at the ground with disbelief. He ended up making par on the hole. (1 over thru 8)

4:55 p.m. ET: The shortish par-3 seventh featured a putt-putt pin over a little hill, inaccessible without a bold shot to challenge the back of the green. None of the three had the gumption and none were able to get their first putt to the hole. (1 over thru 7)

4:46 p.m. ET: The scene has the feel of a U.S. Amateur final match - modest crowd, not much noise. CordeValle is dead silent for the most part, which is odd to have it set in a valley to echo noise. 

4:42 p.m. ET: Woods mistook CordeValle's sixth hole for a beach off the tee. Hard not to sympathize since it is simultaneously sunny and spitting rain, with 15-degree temperature swings common. He's 3 down to the world's top amateur after three consecutive pars. (1 over thru 6)

4:24 p.m. ET: 'Definitely a pop-up.' That's what Roger Maltbie said of Woods' tee shot at the fifth. Woods took an enormous divot with a fairways wood off the tee and was nearly a full wedge behind his playing partners. He still managed to make par. (1 over thru 5)

4:09 p.m. ET: Despite his worst drive of the short round, Woods has his first number on the card without a shape around it. Woods' chipping is on point, and he has not had a putt longer than 5 feet so far. He's 4 of 5 from short range. (1 over thru 4)

3:58 p.m. ET: As rain falls light and steady, the crowd murmurs about the weather and Woods' third straight errant tee shot. Woods is fading early, not showing much fine tuning. 

3:51 p.m. ET: The green at the par-3 third has a ridge back right that can funnel a tee shot to the left pin location. Woods did not use it and took the more aggressive route to the hole. He didn't execute his tee shot and paid the price. After missing the green and chipping up, his par putt horseshoed out. (1 over thru 3)

3:41 p.m. ET: Woods hit into 22 bunkers at the PGA Championship, including 14 in the first round. He found two in a row at the second hole today, double-dipping once greenside on his way to a bogey. (Even thru 2)

3:24 p.m. ET: Woods opened flawlessly to a crowd lining the first hole. To an airborne shout of 'Get in the hole!', Woods hit a confident, low short-iron to gimme range. He made the birdie putt. (1 under thru 1)

2:58 p.m. ET: Woods is mixing practice with pleasure, catching up with Chris Riley and Paul Casey - the highest-ranked player in the field - while putting. No half-mallet for Woods. He's using the Nike Method similar to his beloved Scotty Cameron.

2:50 p.m. ET: Expecting cool conditions in the valley, Woods is wearing a white turtleneck, navy blue vest and the Nike prototype shoes he has donned since Firestone. New caddie Joe LaCava is decked out in Nike garb as well.

2:45 p.m. ET: Woods just walked off the driving range at CordeValle, followed by a throng of about 100 people. He headed from the range, nestled in the property's surrounding hillside, to the practice green.

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Watch: Jesper hits rock, flies bridge, makes par

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 20, 2018, 5:18 pm

It's not often you'll hear an accomplished professional declare that he made one of his greatest par saves on a par-3 course. But Jesper Parnevik can - and did - make that claim.

Playing the Top of the Rock layout on Day 2 of the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, Parnevik's tee shot at the 130-yard sixth, his 15th hole of the day, flew the green. It bounced off a rock, caromed over a bridge and landed on dry land. He then chipped over the bridge, but underneath a tree limb, and got his ball within 15 feet from the hole. He then converted the putt.



What made the par save more impressive was the fact that his partner, Jeff Maggert, had already hit his tee shot in the water during the fourball portion of the event. And in a team event, you just can't drop shots.

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McIlroy on winning the Masters: 'It'll happen'

By Will GrayApril 20, 2018, 4:16 pm

Nearly two weeks after letting a shot at a green jacket slip through his grasp, Rory McIlroy remains confident that he'll still someday find a way to capture what for him has become golf's most elusive prize.

McIlroy had a spot alongside Patrick Reed in the final pairing at the Masters, and he insisted that all the pressure was on his counterpart who was seeking his first career major title. But from his first wobbly tee shot, it was clear that McIlroy was feeling plenty of heat himself as he looked to round out the final leg of the career Grand Slam on a course where he has come up barely short a number of times in recent years.

McIlroy started the day three shots behind Reed, but he never challenged once the pair hit the second nine as Reed beat Rickie Fowler by a shot while McIlroy fell into a tie for fifth, six shots off the pace.

"I got onto that first tee, and I was quite nervous. Even though I was three behind, I still felt like there was a little bit of pressure there for some reason," McIlroy told CNN's Shane O'Donoghue. "I just couldn't get into my rhythm like I could the first three days."

Given time to reflect, McIlroy has adopted a positive outlook on his week in Augusta: another chance to contend on a major stage, another sign that his game is, for the most part, where he wants it to be heading into a busy summer stretch.

For McIlroy, the disappointment was not in failing to win major No. 5, it was in his inability to make Reed work for it during the early stages of their round together as McIlroy failed to mount much of a challenge after missing a 4-foot eagle putt on the second hole that would have given him a share of the lead.

"I was just disappointed that again I didn't put any pressure on the leader. I guess that was my thing," McIlroy said. "If I had just put a little pressure on, it might have been a different outcome."

Instead, McIlroy left with a respectable yet unsatisfying result from the season's first major for the fifth year in a row. Left to wait another 11 months before his next crack at a green jacket, his belief is unwavering that he'll one day join Reed among the tournament's decorated list of champions.

"Look, it'll happen. I truly believe it'll happen," McIlroy said. "I play that golf course well enough. I've five top-10s in a row, I've given myself a chance. It didn't quite work out. But just, the more I keep putting myself in those positions, sooner or later it's going to happen for me."

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Murray fixes swing flaw, recovers momentum

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 2:24 am

SAN ANTONIO - Grayson Murray fixed a flaw in his swing and hit the ball well enough that blustery conditions weren't an issue for him Thursday in the Valero Texas Open.

Coming off a missed cut at Hilton Head last week, Murray made seven birdies for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead. His only mistake was a double bogey from a greenside bunker on the par-3 seventh hole.

''Just the fact I did give myself enough opportunities today for birdie, it took a lot of pressure off,'' Murray said.

Of the five players at 68, only Chesson Hadley played in the morning side of the draw, and he called it among his best rounds of the year because of gusts. The wind died in the afternoon and scoring improved slightly on the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore, Billy Horschel and Matt Atkins each posted 68. Horschel and Moore played bogey-free.

''Struck the ball really well, something that we've been working hard on,'' Horschel said. ''Could have been better, yeah. I didn't really make anything out there today. But I'm happy with it.''

Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the course, played the Texas Open for the first time since 2010 and shot a 74. Adam Scott failed to make a birdie in his round of 75. Scott is at No. 59 in the world and needs to stay in the top 60 by May 21 to be exempt for the U.S. Open.

Harris English was in the group at 69, while two-time Texas Open champion Zach Johnson, Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker were among those at 70. Johnson saved his round by going 5 under over his final five holes, starting with a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th hole. He birdied the last three.


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


Murray was coming off a pair of top 15s at Bay Hill and the Houston Open when his game got away from him last week in the RBC Heritage, and he shot 74-70 to miss the cut. He got that sorted out in the five days between teeing it up in San Antonio.

He said he was coming down too steep, which meant he would flip his hands and hit a sharp draw or pull out of it and hit it short and right.

''I was hitting each club 10 yards shorter than I normally do, and you can't play like that because your caddie is trying to give you a number and a club, and you keep hitting these bad shots or keep coming up short,'' Murray said. ''I got back to the basics with the setup and the takeaway, got my club in a better position at the top, which kind of frees my downswing. Then I can start going at it.''

Even so, Murray thought he wasted his good start - three birdies in his first six holes - when his bunker shot at No. 7 came out with no spin and rolled off the green into a deep swale. He hit his third short to about 7 feet, but missed the putt and took double bogey.

''I would have loved to limit that to a bogey because bogeys don't really kill you - doubles are the ones that now you've got to have an eagle or two birdies to come back with, and out here it's kind of tough to make birdies,'' Murray said. ''But I kept my head. My caddie keeps me very positive out there, that's why I think we could finish 4 under the last nine holes.''

Only 34 players in the 156-man field managed to break par.

Horschel missed four birdie chances inside 18 feet on the back nine. What pleased him the most was the way he struck the ball, particularly after his tie for fifth last week at the RBC Heritage. Horschel was one shot behind going into the last round and closed with a 72.

But he's all about momentum, and he can only hope this is the start of one of his runs. Horschel won the FedEx Cup in 2014 when he finished second and won the final two playoff events.

''I'm a big momentum player. I've got to get the train moving forward,'' he said. ''I've always been a guy who gets on a little roll, get that train moving and jump in that winner's circle.''

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LPGA back in L.A.: Inbee Park leads by 1

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 1:53 am

LOS ANGELES - Inbee Park's flirtation with retirement is in the rear-view mirror.

Backed by a large contingent of South Korean fans, Park shot a 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead Thursday in the opening round of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in the LPGA's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

Showers ended shortly before Park's threesome, including second-ranked Lexi Thompson, teed off at windy Wilshire Country Club just south of Hollywood.

Using a new putter, Park birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine before a bogey on the par-4 17th. She quickly recovered and rolled in birdie putts on the second and fifth holes to finish off her round.

''I never played a tournament outside Korea having this much Korean supporters out,'' Park said. ''I almost feel like I'm playing back home. It's almost like a little Korea.''

That applies to the food, too, with nearby Koreatown's restaurants beckoning.

''Too many,'' Park said.

The third-ranked Park banished the blade-style putter she used in her Founders Cup victory last month in Phoenix, a playoff loss in the ANA Inspiration and a tie for third last week in Hawaii. She went back to one that feels more comfortable and has brought her success in the past.

''Last week was just an awkward week where I missed a lot of short ones and I just wasn't really comfortable with the putter,'' Park said, ''so I just wanted to have a different look.''

The 29-year-old Hall of Famer recently said she was 50-50 about retiring before returning to the tour in early March after a six-month break. Momentum has been going her way ever since.

Marina Alex was second. Thompson was one of seven players at 68 in partly sunny and unseasonable temperatures in the low 60s.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


Alex tied Park with a birdie on No. 11. The American dropped a stroke with a bogey on the par-5 13th before rallying with a birdie on No. 14 to share the lead.

Alex found trouble on the par-4 17th. Her ball crossed over a winding creek, bounced and then rolled into the water, leaving Alex looking for it. Eventually, she salvaged a bogey to drop a shot behind Park. After a bad tee shot on 18, Alex managed a par to close at 67.

''I made a lot of the putts that I shouldn't, I wouldn't have expected to make,'' she said. ''I made two great saves on 17 and 18. Kind of got away with some not-so-solid golf shots in the beginning, and I capitalized on some great putts.''

Thompson returned from a two-week break after finishing tied for 20th at the ANA Inspiration, the year's first major.

She bogeyed her second hole, the par-4, 401-yard 11th, before settling down and birdieing four of the next eight holes, including the 14th, 15th and 16th.

''I changed a little thing that slipped my mind that I was working on earlier in the year,'' said Thompson, declining to share the change in her putting technique. ''I don't want to jinx it.''

ANA winner Pernilla Lundberg was among those in the logjam after a 68.

Natalie Gulbis was among five players tied for 10th at 69. Playing sparingly the last two years, Gulbis put together a round that included four birdies and two bogeys.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng struggled to a 74 with five bogeys and two birdies.

The venerable course with views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory wasn't any kinder to eighth-ranked Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie.

Both had up-and-down rounds that included three bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 10 for Kerr and five bogeys, including three in a row, for Wie. Wie, ranked 14th, had a few putts that lipped out.