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Shall we press on? After all that, Noren, Day not done

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 29, 2018, 2:49 am

SAN DIEGO – Alex Noren waited six hours in the final round. Four minutes and 10 seconds in the last fairway. Another hour and a half to play five extra holes.

Hey, at this point, what’s another night?

Noren and Jason Day dueled for five playoff holes Sunday, with no conclusion. They’ll return at 11 a.m. ET Monday, and that’s just as well – both playoff participants need a good night’s rest to comprehend all that went down at Torrey Pines.

“I’m happy it’s too dark right now,” Noren said.

The Santa Ana winds finally arrived in the final round, turning the tournament upside down and grinding pace of play to a halt.

With 30-mph gusts and tucked pins on an already-tough course, there were multiple-group backups on the front nine. Lengthy rulings ensued when shots flew off-line and into the canyon. The final group of Noren, Ryan Palmer and J.B. Holmes fell a hole behind on the back nine and, with the tournament on the line, came to a complete standstill.

With 239 yards to the flag on the par-5 finishing hole, needing an eagle for a shot at a playoff, Holmes was in between his 3-wood or 5-wood, neither of which, he said, he hits particularly well. So he deliberated. For four minutes. All the while Noren, needing a birdie to win in his first start as a PGA Tour member, stood by his bag and waited, and waited. It was golf’s equivalent of icing the kicker.

After all of that deliberation, Holmes chose to merely lay up, with a 7-iron. (Poorly, too, as his second shot found the rough.) Noren had more than enough time to pick between 3-wood and hybrid, and from a downhill lie he opted for more club. His second shot rocketed over the green, five-holing the 18th-hole grandstand, rolling down the makeshift path and settling next to the walkway.

After a free drop, he couldn’t get up and down for birdie, sending him to a three-man playoff with Day and Ryan Palmer, who birdied the 72nd hole.


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Tour players and fans fumed on social media at what appeared to be an egregious lack of sportsmanship by Holmes, especially with the tournament on the line. Asked afterward if he had any regrets about taking so long to play, Holmes sniffed: “No, I’m still trying to win.”

Noren spoke cautiously in a post-round interview, when pressed whether the long wait affected his second shot. “Not necessarily,” he said. “It probably made me switch clubs.”

Palmer exited the playoff first, but Noren and Day traded spectacular shots in overtime, even in fading daylight.

They both birdied the first two playoff holes, then Day had the best look on the third extra hole, after his tee shot flew over the flag on the par-3 16th.

Indeed, from 11 feet away, Day seemed on the verge of repeating his playoff performance here from 2015, when he won on the third extra hole. But this time, his birdie putt crept over the right edge and stayed out.

“I actually thought I had it,” he said.

Both players made par on the fourth playoff hole, and the sun had already set by the time they reloaded on the 18th for the fifth playoff hole.

Noren found the green with his second shot and needed to two-putt from 40 feet. Day said he couldn’t even see the flag for his third shot, but his ball came to rest 6 feet behind the pin.

“I’m sure on TV it looked a lot lighter than what it was,” Day said, “but I’m glad to pull it off.”

In near-darkness, Noren said he relied more on past experience than his eyesight to hole his left-to-right slider.

“If we had more sunshine it would be nice to finish,” Noren said, “but it’s better this way than maybe missing a short one when you can’t see.”

His Monday workload may be 15 minutes, or perhaps another hour and a half.

Whatever it is, for a PGA Tour title, it’ll be worth the wait.

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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.”