Crazy Eights

By Mercer BaggsJune 29, 2001, 4:00 pm
Eights are wild in the Canon Greater Hartford Open. Eight players are tied for the second-round lead at 8-under-par.
Of those eight players, only one is a multiple winner on the PGA Tour.
Scott Simpson (67), Doug Dunakey (65), Jerry Kelly (65), Shigeki Maruyama (69), Edward Fryatt (67), Chris DiMarco (67), Joe Ogilvie (64) and Jay Don Blake (68) are all tied at the top in Cromwell, Conn.
The eight-man tie matched the tour record set in the first round of the 2000 Honda Classic.
Simpson is a seven-time tour victor, while DiMarco and Blake have each won once.
Jerry Kelly_The Players_Sitting_CKelly may have the biggest fan following over the weekend. The 34-year-old went to the University of Hartford to play hockey, only to find his 165-pound physique was more suited to golf.
Kelly skipped this event last year after missing the cut in four previous starts at the par-70 TPC at River Highlands.
'It was a love-hate relationship. I loved being here and the course hated me,' said Kelly.
Earlier in the season, Kelly led through 54 holes of The Players Championship and finished in fourth place.
Ogilvie holed a 7-iron shot from 176 yards for eagle on his first hole, the par-4 10th.
Six more players are just one back. David Duval (66), Frank Nobilo (66), Dudley Hart (63), David Berganio, Jr. (66), Billy Andrade (65) and first-round leader Jonathan Kaye (71) are in a 7-under-par cohesion.
In all, 25 players - including those at the top - are within three shots of the lead, including Hal Sutton (67) and Paul Azinger (64) at 6-under; and Mark Brooks (69) and Phil Mickelson (68) at 5-under.
Brooks is making his first start since his 18-hole playoff loss to Retief Goosen in the U.S. Open two weeks ago.
Hartford has been a haven for first-time winners over the past four seasons. Stewart Cink picked up his first tour title here in 1997, as did Olin Browne in 1998 and Brent Geiberger in 99.
Last year, Notah Begay III earned his third career victory - and second in as many starts.
DiMarco could have avoided the huge logjam at the top of the leaderboard. He was leading the tournament by one at 9-under, but bogeyed the 8th hole, his 17th of the day, to fall back to the pack.
Eighty-five players made the cut, which fell at even-par 140.
Full-field scores from the Canon Greater Hartford Open
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

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

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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.

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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.”