Lingmerth steps into starring role at Memorial

By Rex HoggardJune 8, 2015, 12:15 am

DUBLIN, Ohio – On Saturday Tiger Woods needed 85 strokes to round Muirfield Village, his highest card on Tour in 1,158 career rounds, and Phil Mickelson was only slightly better with a 78.

A week ago, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy opened his week with an 80 at the Irish Open.

It has been, in historically relevant terms, a seismic shift in professional golf’s paradigm of influence the last few days, but before the cats and dogs start moving into a shared walk-up together it’s worth revisiting the concept that parity is the new predictability on the game’s top shelf.

McIlroy is still the undisputed alpha male, Mickelson has shown signs of late life in recent starts with his runner-up showing at the Masters and a tie for fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship, and Woods . . . well, let’s just say he certainly seems committed to the process.

But the days of prolonged dominance appear to be on an indefinite hiatus. Chalk doesn’t do it anymore like it did when Woods was in his prime and winning 33 percent of his Tour starts like he did when he was with Hank Haney. Now, the house has the advantage.

No? How many of you took the prop bet that a rookie named Zac Blair would lap Woods by 15 strokes in Round 3 at the Memorial?

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Perhaps David Lingmerth – the last man standing on Sunday at Muirfield Village after enduring the longest playoff in Memorial history for his first PGA Tour title – isn’t the new normal, but he represents a collective face that transcends his position in the Official World Golf Ranking (212th) and his relative experience.

You might remember Lingmerth as a member of Woods’ supporting cast back at The Players in 2013 when he leveraged a 54-hole lead into a runner-up showing.

As competitive fate would have it, it was at TPC Sawgrass, on the adjacent Valley Course, where he regained his Tour card last fall after dropping out of the top 125 in FedEx Cup points, but the 2014-15 season was shaping up to be a similar struggle.

In 26 starts this season he’d missed as many cuts (nine) as he’d made (nine) and his best finish was a tie for 13th place at the other legend’s major, the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

But on Sunday at Jack’s Place, little-known Lingmerth was better than Woods, by 29 strokes for those counting at home, better than Mickelson and finally, after flatlining himself through three playoff holes in even par, better than Justin Rose.

“I've been in a few playoffs; you win some, you lose some. But I didn't feel that it was my turn to lose this time,” said Lingmerth, who closed with a 69 to force overtime.

Rose began the final day three strokes clear of the field, faded three shots out of the top spot with an opening nine of 38 and retook a share of the top spot alongside Lingmerth with an 11-footer for birdie at the penultimate hole.

The Englishman secured his spot in the playoff with a nervy up-and-down from short of the 18th green after hitting a spectator with his approach shot and moments later rekindled that magic with a 19-footer for par to extend the overtime.

But the magic ran out when Rose, a seven-time Tour winner, pushed his drive well right at the 10th hole, the third playoff stop, and misplayed his second shot from a bad lie over the green on his way to a bogey.

“I hit pretty much as good a shot as I could hit from the lie,” said Rose, who bogeyed two of his first four holes and admitted to feeling “uncomfortable” for much of the day. “I just tried to dig out a 3-wood. I was trying to get it in the left bunker, and I couldn't quite get enough cut on it to get it to the left bunker. But I was pretty much aiming 80 yards left of the green.”

Conversely, the unproven Swede was much more resilient than his resume would suggest, holing a 10-footer at the first playoff frame for par and getting up and down at the second to earn the coveted handshake from Nicklaus.

That he secured his first Tour title against one of the year’s deepest fields and with an assortment of A-list types looming only served to magnify the notion that the line between the headliners and the rest of the herd is razor thin.

Jordan Spieth was the highest-profile player to make a run, carding a day’s-best 65 to finish at 13 under some two hours before the leaders were finished.

On Saturday following a sloppy double bogey-6 on the closing hole for an even-par 72 Spieth opined, “[The] golf gods were not on my side today.” A day later after chipping in twice, for birdie at No. 7 and eagle at the 15th hole, the Masters champion took a slightly different approach.

“They were certainly a little nicer today than they have been. But I would call it kind of evening out over the day,” said Spieth, who has seven top-5 finishes since February. “On a course like this, you're going to get some unlucky breaks more than you will catch good ones just given how tough it is.”

It’s a lesson both Woods and Mickelson learned over the weekend. Lefty’s tie for 65th was his worst finish at the Memorial since 1998, while Tiger’s third-round 85 led to his highest four-round total (302) on the Tour and more then a few questions as he now turns his attention to the U.S. Open.

“The guys that have made [swing] tweaks, you have moments where you go backwards and then you make big, major strides down the road. That's just the way it goes,” Woods said. “You have to look at the big picture. You can't be so myopic with your view and expect to have one magical day or one magical shot and change your whole game. It doesn't work that way.”

It’s similar to the notion that these outings follow the hierarchical script that top players always prevail. Sometimes the lead shoots an 85 and tees off first on Sunday and the supporting cast steals the show.

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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.”