Reversal of Fortune
The International team turned the tables on the Americans in Friday's morning Four-ball matches at the 4th biennial Presidents Cup in Prince William County, Va. Shut out after Day One, the defending champions earned a full four points in the better-ball format to cut their overall deficit to 6-4.
Campbell/Goosen vs. Sutton/Azinger
Just as the U.S. did on Thursday, the Internationals got off to a hot start on Friday and never looked back. Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen were the first to go out, the first to come in and the first to record a point for their team.
After sitting out Thursday's matches, Campbell showed no signs of nerves in his maiden Cup appearance. The Kiwi helped his South African partner record six birdies, and also added a solo eagle at the par-5 14th for an easy 4-and-3 victory over his American counterparts.
Any chance the Americans had of earning a point in this match were dissolved at the short par-4 10th. Down three, and with Goosen in the greenside bunker off the tee, Hal Sutton tried to lay-up safely in the fairway, but pushed his tee shot into the right rough.
With no margin for error, Paul Azinger pulled out the driver and went for the green. He found the hazard. The Americans lost the hole, and, in effect, lost the match.
'This is a huge boost to our confidence,' said Campbell. 'Hopefully, this is a good start to the rest of the week.'
Furyk/Duval vs. Price/Norman
Greg Norman and Nick Price have played in a combined 26-career Presidents Cup matches. Yet, until Friday, they had never been paired together.
You might see this twosome again.
Price and Norman carded seven birdies and no bogeys over 13 holes to soundly defeat Jim Furyk and David Duval 6-and-5. Norman made a three-foot birdie putt at the 3rd to take a 1-up lead - a lead they would never relinquish. The Australian atoned for his poor performance on Thursday by sinking nearly every putt he faced inside 15 feet.
By contrast, Furyk and Duval couldn't buy a putt. The tandem combined for only two birdies and one bogey. That bogey came at the par-3 9th. Down three, Furyk hit his tee shot into the water surrounding the left side of the green. Inexplicably, Duval followed suit. The Internationals went 4-up and cruised to victory. The final blow was a four-foot par putt by Norman at the 13th; said his complimentary playing companion: 'Greg played about as well as I've seen him in quite some time.'
Lehman/Roberts vs. Weir/Elkington,
Like his fellow Australian, Steve Elkington helped his partner record seven birdies en route to a 3-and-2 victory over Tom Lehman and Loren Roberts.
Roberts and Lehman played well, particularly Lehman. The 1996 British Open champion birdied three holes in a row to square the match early, but a near hole-out by Weir at the par-4 7th gave the Internationals the lead for good.
After Roberts cut the International's lead to 1-up with a birdie at the 12th, Elkington responded with a birdie of his own at the 13th to reclaim a 2-up advantage. Weir closed out the match with the team's seventh, and final birdie of the day at the par-3 16th.
Woods/Begay III vs. Maruyama/Franco
Tiger Woods and Notah Begay III defeated Ernie Els and Vijay Singh on Thursday. Surely, they could handle Shigeki Maruyama and Carlos Franco.
Thursday, Begay and Woods never trailed. Friday, they never led. Franco converted birdie putts on the 9th and 11th holes to give his team a 2-up lead. Maruyama then contributed with his first birdie of the day at the 14th to go 3-up with four holes to play.
The two teams halved the next two holes to give the Internationals a 3-and-2 win. It was Maruyama's sixth-career Presidents Cup victory. He's never lost a match. On the other hand, it was Franco's first-career Cup win.
Mickelson/Love III vs. Els/Singh
The duo of Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III avoided an American whitewashing by defeating Els and Singh 2-and-1.
The U.S. maintained at least a 2-up lead for the better part of the day, before Singh unexpectedly dropped a 30-foot birdie putt at the 13th to cut the International deficit to 1-down.
With the match in the balance, Mickelson sank a birdie putt at the 15th to reclaim a 2-up lead. Love then sealed the deal with a 25-foot birdie bomb at the 17th to close out the Internationals 2-and-1.
After a very short break, the two teams are back out on the course for five Afternoon Foursome matches.
Friday Afternoon Foursomes
Cink/Triplett vs. Allenby/Appleby
Roberts/Azinger vs. Franco/Maruyama
Woods/Begay III vs. Singh/Els
Sutton/Lehman vs. Campbell/Goosen
Mickelson/Duval vs. Price/Weir
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”
After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood
With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.
While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.
Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.
Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2
Zach Johnson: 13/2
Rory McIlroy: 7/1
Jordan Spieth: 8/1
Rickie Fowler: 9/1
Kevin Kisner: 12/1
Xander Schauffele: 16/1
Tony Finau: 16/1
Matt Kuchar: 18/1
Pat Perez: 25/1
Brooks Koepka: 25/1
Erik van Rooyen: 50/1
Alex Noren: 50/1
Tiger Woods: 50/1
Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1
Danny Willett: 60/1
Francesco Molinari: 60/1