Who will win the 141st Open Championship?

By Jason SobelJuly 21, 2012, 9:21 pm

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Adam Scott carries a four-shot lead into the final round of the 141st Open Championship. Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell are in second place. Tiger Woods is five shots back in fourth place. Who will win at Royal Lytham & St. Annes? Our team in England debates.


Adam Scott will keep the streak alive. When all is said and done here late Sunday afternoon, the 32-year-old Australian will become the 16th different winner in the last 16 majors.

Scott has been brilliant for 54 holes at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and has kept his cool every step of the way. Fifteen birdies and four bogeys are as clean a performance as one could expect.

But more than that, Scott exudes confidence. Best example came Saturday on the 17th hole when he blew his approach shot well right of the green and into a deep bunker.

Most watching believed Scott would do well to make bogey. Instead, he and caddie Steve Williams had a little side bet on whether Scott could hole out the shot for birdie. Scott just missed, but had an easy tap-in for par. Williams chided his boss.

The pressure was mounting in a difficult situation, yet didn’t seem to bother Scott one bit. That attitude, combined with a sharp game, will deliver Scott the claret jug and his first major championship.


Allow me to hit you with a mind-blowing stat on the eve of the Open Championship final round: On the PGA Tour this season, 54-hole leaders are 9-for-29 in converting for victory.

Using those numbers, that means Adam Scott actually owns a 31 percent chance of claiming the claret jug come Sunday afternoon.

Too often when trying to predict a winner from the 54-hole leaderboard, we examine only the first name and fail to dig deeper. Well, I’m digging deeper this time – but not too deep.

My pick to win right now is Graeme McDowell.

Playing in the final pairing with Scott, the inscrutable McDowell has proven himself to be one of the gutsiest players in the game. From claiming the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach to clinching the Ryder Cup to defeating Tiger Woods head-to-head in his own Chevron World Challenge to nearly coming back from the abyss to force a playoff at last month’s U.S. Open, time and time again the man nicknamed GMac has shown a propensity for being clutch when the moment calls for it.

Four strokes may sound like a lot entering the final round, but a birdie here and a bogey there can mean the lead is cut in half early on. From there, it’s anybody’s ballgame – and I like the guy who’s been there before.

Recent history has shown that the experience of winning a major championship isn’t essential to winning another – each of the last nine have been first-timers – but it certainly doesn’t hurt, either. I’ll take McDowell, using his past history and more than a little moxie, to take home the hardware.


On Wednesday we used this space to explain why Tiger Woods would assume the top spot in the Offical World Golf Ranking on Monday and win the 141st Open Championship. Nothing has changed over the preceding 54 holes to change that reality.

While some have questioned Woods’ dogmatic and detailed approach to Royal Lytham & St. Annes, the results are beyond reproach.

For the week Woods is 61st in driving distance (277-yard average), yet second in fairways hit (37 of 42) and eighth in greens in regulation (39 of 54), a potent combination in 2006 at Royal Liverpool, where he first trotted out the bunting experiment, and at Lytham, a splashier version of the original but still of the same genre.

Equally encouraging if you’re Woods is Sunday’s forecast, which calls for wind gusts to 30 mph and a golf course that by then will be two days removed from the last rain.

And, of course, Woods has been there before. He’s won three claret jugs. Adam Scott, who is five strokes clear of Woods and four ahead of the field, has not. In fact, Scott has never held a 54-hole lead at a major, and has never felt the Sunday pressure of the last group.

Spotting Scott five shots won’t be easy but winning a major never is, and no one in the game right now knows that better than Woods.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

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Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.