Bunker Shots Big Expectations

By Randall MellJune 15, 2010, 11:29 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from the rocky shores of Stillwater Cove to an LPGA resurrection and John Daly’s return to his roots.

PGA TOUR

PGA Tour (75x100)

U.S. Open

No U.S. Open has seemed this wide open since Tiger Woods joined the PGA Tour almost 14 years ago.

There are lots of potentially good stories this week with Phil Mickelson trying to avoid a record six second-place finishes in this championship and claim his first U.S. Open title on a course he’s won on three times. The question with Mickelson is whether the outcome will be determined by another bold play that spurs him on to victory like his shot through the trees and off the pine straw did at the 13th hole in his Masters’ victory last April. Or if another gambles backfires, like it did when he hit the tree at the final hole at Winged Foot in the 2006 U.S. Open, when he tried to recover from bouncing a shot off the hospitality tent by carving an escape around that tree. Of course, there’s Woods’ bid to shake his poor form and remember his greatness on a course where he’s never been greater. His record 15-shot rout in the 2000 U.S. Open was the most dominant golf performance ever. And there’s England’s Lee Westwood, hot off last week’s victory at the St. Jude Classic, vying to become the first European to win the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin 40 years ago.

Bunker shot: Ernie Els is tough to figure, but there’s reason to believe the time’s right for him to claim his fourth major, his third U.S. Open. That’s if his head’s right. After winning twice in March, Els beat himself up for his failure at the Masters. You can almost see when he wants that next major too much and presses too hard. With Woods off his game, Els knows better than anyone what opportunity beckons. He finished second to Woods at Pebble Beach in 2000. U.S. Opens are all about patience, but it’s hard to be patient when you’ve been waiting so long for a chance like this. 

Mell’s picks: Winner – Ernie Els. Contender – Luke Donald. Darkhorse – David Duval.

  • Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif. Par 71, 7,040 yards (Originally designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant and opened in 1919).
  • Purse: $7.5 million (winner’s share, $1,350,000).
  • TV Times: Thursday-Friday, ESPN, 1-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m., NBC, 3-5 p.m. Saturday, NBC, 4:30-11 p.m. Sunday, NBC 3-9 p.m.
  • Last time: At 4-under 276, Lucas Glover finished a shot ahead of Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes at Bethpage Black.

    LPGA TOUR

LPGA Tour _new

Shoprite LPGA Classic

Three years out of business, the Shoprite LPGA Classic makes its comeback.

A dispute over tournament fees and dates between former commissioner Carolyn Bivens and the tournament owners led to the event closing its doors.

Shoprite’s return provides hope that the LPGA will rebuild and return to a fuller schedule.

Bunker Shot: Two developments add sparks this week. Paula Creamer is expected to make her return from thumb surgery after missing nearly the entire season with the injury, and 15-year-old Alexis Thompson is making her professional debut. The Americans broke through for their first victory in an official event this season with Cristie Kerr’s victory at the LPGA State Farm Classic last week. Creamer and Thompson bring ambitions for more future American success.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Suzann Pettersen. Contender – Seon Hwa Lee. Darkhorse – Juli Inkster..

  • Course: Dolce Seaview Resort’s Bay Course, Galloway, N.J. Par 71, 6,150 yards (Designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1915).
  • Purse: $1.5 million (winner’s share, $225,000).
  • TV Times: Golf Channel, Friday, 3-6 p.m.; Saturday, 4:30-7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 3-6 p.m.
  • Last time: Back in 2006, Seon Hwa Lee defeated Annikas Sorenstam, Juli Inkster, Sherri Steinhauer and Jeong Jang by three shots.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

Nationwide Tour

Fort Smith Classic

Tommy Gainey leaped 16 spots to No. 2 on the Nationwide Tour money list with his breakthrough victory in his last start..

Kevin Chappel still leads the money list, $6,300 ahead of Gainey.

Bunker shot: John Daly’s the headliner this week as he makes his first Nationwide Tour start since 1991. Daly’s a former Razorback who played at the University of Arkansas and is a favorite son in his home state. His star power goes beyond golf this week. He’s scheduled to join country western star Charlie Daniels on stage in a free concert after the first round. Tournament officials expect record attendance and record charitable fundraising with Daly in the mix.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Kevin Chappel. Contender – John Daly. Darkhorse – Jason Enloe.

  • Course: Hardscrabble Country Club, Fort Smith, Ark. Par  70, 6,783 yards (Designed by Perry Maxwell and opened in 1927).
  • Purse: $525,000 (Winner’s share, $94,500).
  • TV Times: No TV.
  • Last time: Jason Enloe defeated Chris Tidland in a playoff.
Getty Images

Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

Getty Images

Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

Getty Images

Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

Getty Images

Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”