Rookie Joins Scranton and Company On Top
The 16-year-veteran had company at the top of the leaderboard today.
Texas cutie Wendy Ward showed her prowess Thursday recording an error-free 3-under-par 68. Also, starting the day on the 10th, Ward played through 29 holes bogey-free. On the way she made four birdies to join Scranton at 6-under-par in a tie for the lead. Ward bogeyed her first hole of the tournament on the par-5 3rd to fall off the lead by one.
Ward holds two career victories to her name and has recorded 5 top-10 finishes this season. She has a second place finish at the Champions Classic and a tie for second at the Wegmans Rochester International. Most recently she finished in a tie for 3rd at the McDonalds LGPA Championship.
Ward was not the only player to match 6-under. Cristie Kerr and Mi Hyun Kim both applied pressure by moving up the leaderboard with 4-under through the 16th and 3-under through the 14th respectivly.
Michele Redman is still in the hunt at 6-under after making the turn today at even par and going on to record two birdies and a bogey through the 16th.
Hee-Won Han, the rookie from Korea, jumped up the leaderboard late in the day by recording 3-under-par through the 8th. She was tied for the lead with Scranton until making double-bogey on the par-4 9th. Han has made it through seven Monday qualifiers this year ' six of which were consecutive through the Jamie Farr. Standing 55, Han qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt. She is a non-exempt member of the LPGA Tour and after this years performance it looks as if the former JLPGA 1998 Rookie of the Year is up for 2001 LPGA rookie of the year.
Annika Sorenstam bettered her first round score by three today shooting 3-under-69 to remain entangled with the pack at 1-under-par. Sorenstam recorded five bogeys during the first round and four during todays performance. Her improvement in score came not through a reduction of errors but instead an increase of accuracy on fairways and greens resulting in six birdies. With an average driving distance of 239 Sorenstams accuracy is imperative on these narrow fairways.
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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 146th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Royal Birkdale, broken down into daily segments:
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.
Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.
Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.
The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.
“Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”
Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.
But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.
“I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”
Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.
“It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”
There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.
It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.
“It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”
Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.
According to Weather.com, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.
Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per Weather.com.
This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:
Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).
Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).
Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.
Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.
Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.
“I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”
Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.
“Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”
Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.
On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.
That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.
“These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”
Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.
More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.
Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.
Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.
“He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”
Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.
He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.