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Tiger's game plan goes out the window with 78

By Randall MellJune 15, 2018, 12:43 am

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – It was a lot more fun playing the U.S. Open with a broken leg.

That’s what it looked like Thursday with Tiger Woods making his much anticipated return to the championship he won a decade ago while playing with a pair of stress fractures in his left tibia and a bum left knee.

It took about a New York minute for Woods to remember the mental anguish a U.S. Open can also dish out.

After striping his opening tee shot down the middle, Woods made a triple bogey at the first.

He four putted the 13th on his way to back-to-back double bogeys.

He shot 8-over-par 78.

That’s the second highest score he has posted in this championship, his third worst in relation to par in any major.

“My game plan was not to make any `others,’ and I made three of them,” Woods said.

That is “others,” as in anything more than a bogey.

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It was Woods’ first appearance in the U.S. Open since missing the cut at Chambers Bay three years ago, when he shot 80 and 76. If he doesn’t rally Friday, he’ll be looking at missing the cut for just the third time in his 20 U.S. Open starts.

“It's tough out there,” Woods said. “But, I mean, I shouldn't make two doubles and a triple, four-putt.”

Shinnecock Hills made erasing mistakes difficult. The brute punished the field. Woods knew he wasn’t alone taking a beating, and that’s what made his double bogeys on the back nine especially frustrating. He was grinding to keep himself in it, but he will start Friday nine shots back, tied for 102nd.

“After that start, shoot even par for the next 16 holes, and I'd be just fine,” Woods said.

Still a work in progress, still rebuilding from all those back surgeries, Woods, 42, has an uphill battle beyond this weekend. He saw that on Thursday. He played alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who shot 69 to get himself into a four-way share of the lead.

Johnson is standing in Woods’ way in more than this championship. He looks like a guy rounding back into his best form after winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week.

Woods has won three U.S. Opens, but he’ll need to muster something really special to make a run at his fourth. Apparently, that miracle win on one leg in ’08 at Torrey Pines is never far from his memory, because he talked about how one special round this week can get him back in the mix here.

“I kept reminding myself that Lanny [Wadkins] almost pulled himself into a playoff in '86, with a round in the mid-60s on Sunday,” Woods said. “So, it can be done. This golf course is kind of setting up for that right now.”

Wadkins was six shots back in ’86 and got himself into contention in the final round with a 65, but he ultimately fell two shots short of Raymond Floyd.

Woods looked confident on the first tee Thursday, drilling that opening drive down the middle. But, he pumped a wedge over the first green. He looked nervy back there, making a mess of the hole with his short game. He hit a flop that flopped too much, failing to cover a crest on the green before rolling back off. He did the same thing with his next putt, watching that one roll back to his feet.

Woods followed that triple bogey with a bogey at the second, but then he regrouped. He made seven pars and a birdie to get himself to 3 under, but Shinnecock seemed to wear him out.

At the 13th, Woods left a 40-foot putt 6 feet short, and then he three putted from there.

"I was worried about running the [first] putt by, because it's downhill on the other side,” Woods said. “Left it short, blocked the next one, and then blocked it again. Not very good.”

The frustration seemed to follow Woods to the 14th tee, where he pushed his tee shot right into the fescue, then hooked his second into the fescue on the other side of the fairway. He hacked his third shot short of the green and ended up missing an 8-footer for bogey.

“I think he played better than his score, for sure,” Johnson said. “It’s windy. It’s tough. He obviously got off to a rough start, but I thought he hung in there pretty good.”

Woods drove the ball well, hitting 9 of 14 fairways. Greens were tough to hit for the entire field, with Woods managing to hit just seven of them. He took 30 putts.

“It's frustrating because I'm hitting it well,” Woods said. “In the last, I think, four tournaments, I have not putted well. So, if I can putt like I did at the beginning of the year, we've got something. I just haven't done that.”

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

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.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

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.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

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.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

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.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.”