Bertinotti 18 holes from LAAC win, Masters berth

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2016, 9:28 pm

LA ROMANA, Dominican Republican – Simmering with frustration after each missed putt down the stretch, Gaston Bertinotti unleashed a torrent of fist pumps Saturday when his 25-footer dropped on the final green.  

The Argentine’s main challenge Sunday will be keeping his emotions in check – after all, it’s only the most important round of his life.

In what likely was a preview for a nervy, dramatic final round at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog course, Bertinotti limited his mistakes and shot a third-round 69 to take a one-shot lead over Jorge Garcia at the Latin America Amateur Championship. Alejandro Tosti is another shot behind.

“It’s awesome to be in the lead right now,” Bertinotti said, “but we still have to play 18 more holes.”

And with all that’s on the line – an invitation to the Masters, spots in final qualifying for the U.S. Open and Open Championship, global recognition – it figures to be a restless night in paradise.

Saturday’s action showed that no lead is safe at the Pete Dye masterpiece that is only growing firmer and faster by the hour.

Nicolas Echavarria, who took a three-shot lead heading into the weekend, gave it all back with a pulled tee shot into the rocks on the par-3 seventh. He plummeted out of the lead after the triple bogey, and he dropped two more shots coming home for a third-round 77. He is now three back.

“There’s still a chance,” he said, “so you have to be positive about it. Eighteen more holes to play the Masters.”

Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet surged into the lead with a tap-in eagle on 14, but the second-youngest player in the field (16) made a few poor decisions coming home, dropping four shots in the last four holes to sit four shots behind.

Chaplet’s critical miscue came with his tee shot on the par-4 15th. With the tee moved up, plenty of room left and the Caribbean Sea on the right, he made a “brain mistake” by taking an aggressive line off the tee with a 4-iron. His ball never had a chance to clear the hazard, leading to a triple bogey. Two holes later, he hit a screaming hook off the tee and seemed destined for another big number, but his ball ricocheted off a tree near the out-of-bounds stakes and he escaped with a bogey.

Playing with fellow countryman Alvaro E. Ortiz, who was openly rooting for his protégé despite a miserable third round, Chaplet curled in an 8-footer for par on the last to stay in the hunt. He walked off the green arm in arm with Ortiz.  

“I haven’t shot 82 in a long time,” Ortiz said afterward, “but it didn’t really feel too bad watching him play.”

Even with a cold putter, Garcia climbed the leaderboard Saturday with a 3-under 69, the lone bogey-free round and one of only five sub-70 scores.

“Today the golf course showed you can get eaten by it,” he said.  

The Venezuelan is arguably the most accomplished player in the field, and last month he won the South Beach International Amateur in his adopted hometown of Miami. Garcia, a freshman at Florida, was 9 when his home club, Los Chaguaramos, closed because of government politics. Three years later, he moved in with his aunt and cousin in the Magic City to pursue a golf career.

Garcia soon piled up junior titles and became one of the country’s top prospects, a stark contrast to the early career of Bertinotti, a late bloomer who was more interested in rugby than golf until the age of 13.

He started playing to beat his friends and finished last in his first national tournament. Still, the game “came to me pretty quick,” he said, a nod to his training at Las Delicias Campo de Golf in Argentina.

Bertinotti is from Cordoba, the same hometown of two-time major winner Angel Cabrera and PGA Tour player Andres Romero.

It was Romero who suggested that Bertinotti take a few deep breaths on the course whenever he felt nervous. Apparently, he was inhaling so loudly earlier this week that he drew the attention of one of his fellow playing competitors.

“I’m just trying to keep calm,” he said.

Indeed, Sunday’s final round figures to be as much a mental test as a physical examination.

Three of the last four holes are the toughest on the course, with the Caribbean Sea in play on both the drives and approach shots, and the pressure to win one of the biggest amateur titles in the world can be suffocating.

“All that pressure,” Bertinotti said, “it will show who is the best. It’s all about controlling your feelings. Everybody has emotions – you just have to try to keep them calm.”

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.