Wake Me When Its Over
Tiger Woods got off to a hot start on the par-70 Firestone course, but simmered quickly for a 3-under-par round of 67. At 18-under, Woods is nine shots clear of a Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Welshman Phillip Price.
Thanks to rounds of 64-61, Tiger took a seven-shot lead into the third round of the $5 million event. With the eventual outcome having all-but-been decided through 36 holes, the only point of interest was to see if Tiger could shoot a sub-60 round.
Woods had scared 59 in each of his first two rounds. Thursday, Tiger was 7-under through 12 holes. Friday, he was 8-under through 12. Saturday, he was 4-under through three.
Woods began the third round birdie-eagle-birdie to move to 19-under for the tournament. It was the third consecutive day he eagled the par-5 2nd. His lead was now eleven, and 59 was certainly in sight. But an errant approach shot led to a bogey at the par-4 4th. Woods' momentum was halted. His round only stalled from there.
Tiger carded 14 consecutive pars to finish the day with a rather routine 67. Still, Woods managed to increase his overnight lead by two shots.
'(I'll take a) big lead any time,' Woods answered when asked if he would rather have a competitive final round or a blowout. 'I've said it again and again, and I will continue to say it.
'Granted, it's more drama for all of you and the people watching when you a finish like we did last week. But I would much rather have it where's it's a lot like the U.S. Open.'
With Tiger matching Old Man Par stroke-for-stroke over the final 14 holes, the rest of the field had a chance to make up some ground - which they failed to do.
Playing side-by-side with Tiger, Mickelson carded only one birdie on the outward half. He picked up three more over his first seven holes on the back nine, but finished bogey - double-bogey to post a 1-under-par 69. In the process, the left-hander relinquished his spot in the final pairing on Sunday to Sutton.
'I putted what I thought was pretty atrociously,' said Mickelson, who used a new flatstick on Saturday. 'To finish the way I did is what's upsetting.it's a sickening feeling.'
Sutton, who defeated Tiger down the stretch at this year's PLAYERS Championship, recorded an ace at the par-3 12th. The 2-time winner in 2000 holed a 5-iron from 188 yards to move to 7-under for the tournament. He then added a pair of birdies over his final two holes to earn his way into the Sunday's final group.
Remember, it was just a week ago at Valhalla, where Sutton missed the cut after limping around the course with an ankle injury.
Only one thing threatened Tiger in the third round - and it wasn't one of the 36 others in the field. At the 15th, Woods tried to swat a wasp out of his putting line. The little fellow took offense and left Mr. Woods a tiny gift in the form of his stinger.
'Right on my finger tip,' said Woods. 'It hurt pretty good, actually. The stinger's still there.'
If you're looking for a reason to watch on Sunday, Woods needs to shoot a 64 for an aggregate of 256. That would be an all-time PGA TOUR record.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
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.”