Griff Kuehne Share Lead at Texas Challenge

By Marty HenwoodMarch 16, 2002, 5:00 pm
All through Saturdays third round of the Texas Challenge, Canadian Darren Griff heard the cheers for defending U.S. Amateur champion Hank Kuehne behind him. On Sunday, he will get a chance to hear them first-hand.
Playing one group ahead of Kuehne, the 30-year-old Griff fired a course record 8-under 64, one shot better than the previous Circle C Ranch best, for a 54-hole total of 205 and is atop the leaderboard with the 1998 U.S. Am king. Griff, Kuehne and Steve Runge (-9) will make up the final group Sunday. Four others are at 8-under 208.
With cool temperatures and a tricky wind enveloping the 6,859-yard layout Saturday, Griff, who has two second-place showings in his Canadian Tour career, hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation en route to a bogey-free round. In fact, Griff has hit 81.5 percent of his greens over the first three days.
I hit my irons well all day, although my driver was a bit sketchy at times, said the 1994 B.C. Amateur champion, who was the top Canadian at the 2002 Panasonic Panama Open (T18). I made my putts on the back nine, but I missed some chances on the first seven or eight holes.
Griff vaulted into top spot on the par-5 14th hole when his 25-footer found the bottom of the cup for eagle. He followed that up with back-to-back birdies to put the record within reach.
In the final round, Griff will be paired with Kuehne, who had quite a cheering section in his gallery Saturday.
We were joking that it was like Jack (Nicklaus) at Augusta with that following Hank had, laughed Griff. The good thing was we always knew in a hurry when he had made birdie. So, I guess its going to be Hank and the Fat Man should be a lot of fun. If youre not looking forward to something like that, you shouldnt be playing this game.
Kuehnes effort Saturday was a complete reversal from last weeks third round of the Texas Classic in Houston. On that day, he was 4-under through his first ten holes to move into top spot before faltering down the stretch and winding up with a 3-over 75. He bounced back on Sunday with a 64 to finish tied for second in his first Tour start.
Yeah, its a little different than last week, isnt it? mused Kuehne after playing the par-4s at 4-under Saturday. It was just a good, consistent round today. Ive been striking the ball very well, and that is a good sign.
Kuehne reeled off six consecutive birdies beginning on the par-5 7th hole. Despite the birdie binge, Kuehne admitted his shot of the day was from the bunker on the par-3 13th, when he blasted out to within six inches of the pin.
One of the longest hitters in the world, Kuehne, 26, said his distance off the tee could sometimes result in a disadvantage.
I played the par 5s 1-under today, and that is very frustrating to me. Power is a great asset, but I have to be more in control of my driver. If you go offline here, the ball is just going to keep rolling and rolling. I want to stay aggressive, but at times I need to show some restraint.
Full-field scores from the Texas Challenge
Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”