Look Whos Leading at Pebble Beach

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 1, 2001, 5:00 pm
A professional beer-truck driver and guy who can't legally drive lead the way through the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

David Berganio, Jr., tied the Spyglass course record by firing a flawless eight-under-par 64 to grab the 18-hole lead, while Mark Johnson, a conditional player on the Buy.Com Tour, and Tommy Armour III share second place after shooting a pair of 65s at Poppy Hills.
Tiger Woods, who battled through a knee injury, is in a group at six-under. Woods, who shot 66 at Spyglass, is tied with Brad Elder (Spyglass), Edward Fryatt (Poppy Hills) and last year's runner-up, Vijay Singh (Pebble Beach).
Tiger talks about his knee and its effect on his first round.
Berganio's Pebble Beach adventures began Tuesday when he was informed at a rental-car agency that his driver's license had expired.
'I called my mom, she checks my mail. I said, `Did I get any notice,' and she said, `Yeah, I told you,'' Berganio said. 'Then I recalled that she'd told me two months ago, and it's a coincidence because last year I qualified for the U.S. Open and my caddy came up to rent a car and his driver's license was expired.'
Berganio, who turned 32 on January 14th, had to get a ride to the course from his caddie. He said he only played 27 holes before teeing it up on Thursday.
It didn't seem to affect him. On a glorious day on the Monterey Peninsula, the eight-year professional carded eight birdies and no bogeys to tie Dan Forsman (1993) and Steve Lowery ('95) for the Spyglass course record.
'Today was the day if you're going to shoot low at Spyglass. To me that's the toughest course,' Berganio said.
It's been a well-traveled road for the California native en route to leading this prestigious event. Berganio grew up on a par-62 public golf course in Sylmar, Calif. A two-time U.S. Public Links champion, he played alongside Jim Furyk at the University of Arizona.
In 1997, Berganio made his way to the PGA Tour, where he finished 155th on the money list to drop back down to the Buy.Com Tour, which he played in 1998-2000. Last year, he collected four top-10s, including a victory at the Omaha Classic, to regain his PGA Tour card.
'I've had a lot of success at every level and I think I can do well out here,' said Berganio, whose best PGA Tour finish came in a tie for ninth at the `97 Buick Challenge. 'One thing I did do that I'd never done in the past was I sought some help from a sports psychologist this year.'
Thanks to a long conversation with his teacher, Berganio went to see Allen Jaeger, who primarily works with baseball pitchers.
'Allen told me, `David, how can you go to fight with not the complete ammunition?' He was right. You work and work on your physical game, but not the mental side.'
Berganio, who admits to having a short attention span, said Jaeger worked with him to 'stay in the present.'
It seems to have worked. At least for one round.
While Berganio is enjoying the present, so too is Johnson, who is competing in his first PGA Tour event.
Johnson has a unique story. He's a 46-year-old beer-truck driver, who's worked for Anheuser-Busch in Barstow, Calif., for 20 years. He's also an accomplished golfer. In fact, Johnson won the California State Amateur championship in 1996 on this very venue.
The Monday qualifier showed his preference for the layout by sporting a nifty opening-round of 65. His 'awesome day' included seven birdies and no bogeys on the Poppy Hills course.
Of course, if Johnson's playing then he's not working. That means his fellow drivers are doubling up to cover his absence.
'The drivers always take the extra load and take the extra routes and stuff for me and made it possible for me to be here today,' said a grateful Johnson.
'The reason I'm doing all this, I'm trying to gear myself towards the seniors.'
For now, however, he'll have to fend off a host of players much younger than himself, as well as a couple of other Johnsons - Richard and Kevin - who each shot rounds of 67 at Spyglass to earn a tie for eighth after Round One.
News, Notes and Numbers
*David Berganio, Jr., a big-time Los Angeles Lakers fan, is paired with former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell in the Pro-Am. Said Berganio: 'We didn't talk much about the Lakers. He was awesome, a nice guy.'
*Last week, Brad Elder carded five straight birdies to grab a share of the first-round lead at the Phoenix Open. Thursday, he recorded six in a row at Spyglass to earn a share of fourth place.
*Spike McRoy also strung together six straight birdies at Pebble Beach. After starting the day with four bogeys and a triple bogey over his first seven holes, he finished the day at one-under-par.
*Three of the top seven players on the leaderboard are recent graduates of the Buy.Com Tour - Berganio (11th, 2000), Elder (11th, 1999) and Edward Fryatt (5th, 1999). Two other players, Richard and Kevin Johnson (no relation), are tied for eighth.
*David Duval used his old Titleist irons in shooting a three-over-par 75 at Spyglass. Duval played Nike irons for the first time at last week's Phoenix Open, where he missed the cut.
*89 players broke par in the first round. With all courses playing at a par of 72, Spyglass ranked as the hardest in Round One with an overall scoring average of 71.983. Pebble Beach came in second at 71.683, while Poppy Hills played the easiest at 71.300.
Full-Field scores here
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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.”