Tiger Tracker: Day 1 running blog

By Rex HoggardAugust 4, 2011, 10:00 pm

Tiger Woods returned to competition Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard tracked Tiger during Round 1 at Firestone:

5:18 p.m.: Woods closes his first round since going on the 'DL' in May with a par at the 18th hole. His line for the day: 11 greens hit in regulation, five fairways and an opening round of 68. Our line for the day: there was rust, but no limp. Progress.

5:05 p.m.: Woods hit iron off the 17th tee into the middle of the fairway and makes par. He must be trying to pad his driving statistics. That's five hit fairways for the day.

4:52 p.m.: The good, bad and ugly for Woods at the par-5 16th. His drive sails into the trees right of the fairway, his 3-wood second shot travels some 260 yards, his short approach lands 40 feet past the hole and he makes the putt. Textbook birdie.

4:36 p.m.: Woods makes par at the 15th hole. In other news, Adam Scott, the boss of Woods' former caddie, is tied for second place at 5 under. Not sure Woods has noticed, or cares.

4:28 p.m.: The magic runs out for Woods at the 14th after his approach sails long and into a bunker. His 13-footer misses the left edge for his first bogey of the day.

4:23 p.m.: Woods splits the fairway at the 14th hole. It's the first time since the fourth hole.

4:15 p.m.: Another missed fairway and green for Woods but he scrambles for par at No. 13. It's worth noting that Darren Clarke, dubbed the 'Dungannon Canon' after the small Northern Irish village where he grew up, has consistently been 20 to 30 yards behind Woods all day.

4:04 p.m.: Par at the 12th hole for Woods. As he comes off the green a small boys yells, 'It's good to have you back Tiger.' At 2 under, Woods was probably thinking the same thing.

3:54 p.m.: Woods birdies his second consecutive hole at the 11th and the Ohio galleries cheer loudly, which is odd considering that this area isn't too fond of the last star athlete to take his talents to South Beach (Fla.). Woods recently moved into his south Florida home.

3:41 p.m.: Woods' approach at the 10th hole rolls to 5 feet and he makes the putt for his first Tour birdie in four months. He's 1 under for the round.

3:28 p.m.: Woods turned in even-par 35 thanks to a 20-footer for par at No. 9 following a wayward drive and a roping approach. For the side, he hit just two fairways and five greens in regulation.

3:09 p.m.: Not a lot for the large galleries following Woods to cheer about but Darren Clarke did his part at the par-4 eighth hole. From the middle of the fairway the Ulsterman holed his second shot for an eagle. Woods scrambled for par. All square.

3:03 p.m.: Two-putt par on the seventh hole for Woods. In a related item, fill-in caddie Bryon Bell has not thrown a camera or dropped one club in a pond. Progress by any measure.

2:53 p.m.: It's becoming a familiar theme, drive in the (right) rough, approach wide, two-putt par at the sixth. Not a bad plan for Atlanta Athletic Club next week but not the best formula at a soft Firestone layout.

2:40 p.m.: Woods rifles his tee shot to 8 feet at No. 5 but misses the birdie putt. He's still looking for his first birdie since the 15th hole on Sunday at Augusta National.

2:30 p.m.: Woods hits the fairway at the fourth, his approach shot to 11 feet but misses the birdie putt. Still, he's seven strokes ahead of the pace he had on the front nine at May's Players Championship (42).

2:18 p.m.: Despite a nasty mud ball from the fairway, Woods scrambled for a par at the third with a 25-foot putt. Even par through three holes.

2:09 p.m.: Woods hits the fairway at the third with a 3-wood, his first hit fairway on Tour since May.

2:05 p.m.: Woods two-putts for pedestrian par at the par-5 second hole. In an unrelated topic the sun has come out and the temperature has soared. Good warm-up for next week in Atlanta at the PGA Championship.

1:53 p.m.: Woods is 2-for-2 for the day. Two tee shots, two fairway bunkers (right at No. 2).

1:51 p.m.: Woods completes a lenthy two-putt for par at the first. Darren Clarke makes bogey. Woods 1 up. 

1:47 p.m.: Funny moment early on Thursday. Interim caddie Bryon Bell finishes raking the fairway bunker at the first and a fan yells, 'Good job, new guy.'

1:40 p.m.: Opening tee shot sails into the right bunker. Doesn't mean much, his first tee shot last year went in the left rough (T-78) and his opening effort sailed right in 2009 (won by four strokes).

1:34 p.m.: Warm-up over. Interesting that Woods completed his practice with a 3-wood. Best guess: it's 3-wood off the first tee. 

1:25 p.m.: Interesting e-mail from the world golf ranking folks. Says Lee Westwood needs a win at Firestone to overtake Luke Donald atop the ranking. No word on what Woods needs to do to slip past No. 27 in the world.

1:20 p.m.: Whether it's the extended layoff or just the need for more 'reps,' Woods put in extra time on the practice tee early Thursday, starting his putting routine more than an hour before his 1:40 p.m. tee time.

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


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"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel to U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."

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Koepka looking to make hay on Horrible Horseshoe

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:26 pm

The Horrible Horseshoe - Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial Country Club - annually ranks as one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour.

Consider Brooks Koepka undeterred.

Last year's U.S. Open champ has played the stretch 2 over this week but knows that if he's going to have any chance at catching Justin Rose on Sunday, he's going to need take advantage of the par-5 first and then find a way to pick up shots on the Horseshoe.

"I feel like just need to get off to a good start on this golf course," Koepka said after a third-round 67 Saturday. "If you can get 2 or 3 under through six holes, I think you'll be right there."

Koepka will start the final round four behind Rose, as he looks to win for the first time since his maiden major victory last year.


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The big-hitter missed nearly four months this year with a wrist injury and is progressing quickly in his comeback despite dislocating his wrist on two different occasions over the last two months.

Koepka missed the cut with partner Marc Turnesa at the Zurich Classic in his competitive return before following up with a tie for 42nd at the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 11th at The Players Championship.

Now, thanks to a closing birdie Sunday, he finds himself playing alongside Rose in the final group on Sunday.

"I feel like my game is coming around," he said. "[At Zurich], I was five days into touching clubs. I am finally finding a rhythm and feel like I'm getting really close. ...

"Just want to get off to a good start [tomorrow]. That's really all I am trying to do. You put together a good solid round tomorrow, you never know what can happen. The important thing is we were just trying to get in that final group. I thought the putt on 18 was kind of big to get in that final group and play with Rosey."

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Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take a four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up one to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made 17 birdies and just three bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentinian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 7-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year.

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th.

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

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McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.