Rocha Daniel Take Lead Into Weekend
The duo leads the pack at 11-under 133, one shot in front of Stuart Anderson (Ft. McMurray, AB), Scott Hend (Australia), Bobby Kalinowski (Scottsdale, AZ) and Aaron Barber (Minneapolis, MN). Brett Bingham of Red Deer, AB and Andy Johnson of Orlando, FL are at 9-under 135.
Barber, who won this event in 2001, fired a Glendale G&CC course record 9-under 63 Friday, erasing the benchmark set by Lee Trevino back in 1985.
A total of 60 players were 1-under 143 or better and will play on the weekend.
Rocha fired a 5-under 67 Friday and surrendered the outright lead when he bogeyed the 367-yard, par-4 final hole. During Thursdays opening round, Rocha hit driver off the tee right and caught a break when the ball hit a tree and took a favourable bounce. The 24-year-old went on to birdie the hole, but used discretion Friday. But Rocha launched his two-iron tee shot left into the trees, took a drop and salvaged the 5.
'I felt I robbed the course of a shot in the opening round, but the 2-iron today was a disgusting shot,' laughed Rocha, a former First Team All-American at the University of Mississippi. 'Other than that, Im quite happy. But was that shot ever horrible.'
Two weeks ago, as the Brazilian soccer team wrapped up the World Cup, Rocha received permission from Tour officials to wear the bright yellow jersey of his native land during the final round of the Greater Vancouver Classic. While a title here wouldnt shake Brazil to its foundation the way the soccer squad did two weeks ago, Rocha knows what a win would mean back home.
'You dont know how good it feels to see that Brazilian flag at the top of the leaderboard,' he remarked Friday, pointing to a television screen set up in the media room. 'You guys may not see the way the people are at home - of course, Brazil is huge on soccer, but they always support their athletes in any sport. Should I win here, you probably wont understand what it will mean to the people of my country. It is quite a heavy weight, but I love the feeling.'
Daniel, 26, played the past few seasons on the Canadian Tour but was unable to keep his card last season. He went back to Qualifying School this past fall and regained his playing status, but struggled for most of the season, making just one of seven cuts through the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship. Recovering from a back injury, Daniel took two months off and returned for last weeks Victoria Open, winding up a season-high tie for 13th. This weekend, Daniel hopes to build on that result, although he admits he is heading into unfamiliar territory.
'I took the time off and came back more relaxed, not trying to force it so much,' said the 1993 B.C. Junior Champion. 'I felt I always had the shots in me, but I had to relax and just let the shots happen. I havent been in this position, but I am going to keep doing exactly the same thing. Well find out how I react in this situation. What else can you do?'
Less than one week after his first Canadian Tour win in Victoria, Hend appears poised to become the first player to win back-to-back events since New Zealander Steven Alker captured the McDonalds P.E.I. Challenge and Bayer Championship to close out the 2000 season. The triumphs paved the way to the Order of Merit crown for Alker. Hend, who has been married for just over a week now, appeared to have an ominous start Friday when his tee shot on the opening hole wound up in a tree.
'The first thing I thought after that shot was it was going to be one of those days,' admitted Hend. 'But then you have to remind yourself that things like that can happen. I played solid, put myself in contention for the weekend, and that is where I want to be on Sunday. If I can beat myself, that is what it is all about. Winning the battle with myself and the mind games that go along with it.'
Barber, the 2001 Order of Merit champion, was at 8-under with one hole to play Friday. A new course record seemed remote at best when the 29-year-old hit his tee shot into a sand bunker on the right side of the fairway. After hitting his second shot to the fringe, Barber canned the 45-foot birdie putt to establish the record and get to within one of the lead.
'I wasnt even sure what the record was, but I thought someone might take it real low this morning,' he admitted. 'I just wanted to get back on the leaderboard and into contention. Obviously, I like this city.maybe I should come back every couple of weeks to play.'
This weekend, Barber will go in search of his second straight Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Trophy, named in honour of the Tour rookie who passed away suddenly in Edmonton last summer. As emotional as Barber was that Sunday afternoon one year ago, Barber admitted the young Zimbabwe golfer will likely stir up the same type of feelings this weekend.
'Now that I am back into the hunt, Lewis is in my thoughts even more. It keeps things in perspective, and we realize that we are lucky to be playing golf. It shows what is important.'
NOTES: Hend is just one shot back and will head into the weekend trying to become the first golfer since 2000 to win back-to-back events. Steven Alker of New Zealand won the McDonalds PEI Challenge and Bayer Championship two years ago.Former NHL goaltender Grant Fuhr finished at 6-over 150 and missed the cut.
Full-field scores from the Telus Edmonton Open
Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie
While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.
There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.
According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)
Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.
McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1
They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.
McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.
On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.
Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:
10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm
12/1: Tony Finau
14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
20/1: Francesco Molinari
25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner
30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka
40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day
50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar
60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate
80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na
100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman
Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience
Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.
It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.
Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.
A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.
“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.
“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”
Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.
At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.
Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.
“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.
“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”
Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.
“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”
After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.
“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”
Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.
“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.
“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”
On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.
Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.
“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”
Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.
At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.
At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.
Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.
“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”
Her overall assessment of her day?
“It was a great experience,” she said.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, 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.