Ace Helps Baird Retain Lead

By Sports NetworkOctober 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Michelin Championship at Las VegasLAS VEGAS -- Briny Baird continues to lead the Michelin Championship at Las Vegas after shooting a 5-under 66 in Friday's second round.
Baird stands at 15-under-par 128 for the tournament, two strokes better than five players tied for second place. His 66 in the second round included a hole-in-one at the TPC at The Canyons course, one day after he fired a 10- under 62 at the TPC at Summerlin course to take the first round lead.
Briny Baird
Briny Baird is currently 132nd on the money list.
Paul Goydos and Shigeki Maruyama both shot 7-under 65s at Summerlin to reach 13-under-par 130. They are joined in second place by Bart Bryant (66), Kevin Stadler (66) and Ryan Moore (63), who all played The Canyons course Friday.
Harrison Frazar and Rod Pampling are tied for seventh place at minus-12, one stroke ahead of eight players knotted in ninth place. All in all, there are 18 players within five strokes of Baird heading into the weekend.
The third and fourth rounds will both be played at the par-72 Summerlin course.
The cut of minus-6 matched the lowest in the history of the PGA Tour in relation to par, and among those not making the cut was world No. 3 Phil Mickelson.
The highest-ranked player in the field this week, Mickelson shot a 1-under 71 at Summerlin in his second round and finished at 5 under par. He continues to sputter following his second major win at the PGA Championship in August.
Baird protected his overnight lead early with birdies on four of his first six holes at The Canyons. He dropped two strokes with bogeys at Nos. 9 and 10 -- his first bogeys of the tournament -- but got both back in one shot at the par-three 12th.
That's where the 33-year-old recorded the second hole-in-one of the tournament with a nine iron to reach minus-14.
The shot ended up being the difference between the overnight lead and a tie for first place for Baird, although he contends the 'lucky' stroke ended up nowhere near where he was aiming.
'I pulled it,' Baird admitted. 'I didn't mean to hit it all the way over there. You hit it to the right and everything kind of funnels to right to the hole. I pulled it and it went in.'
One more birdie at the 14th moved Baird to 15 under, where he remained after ending the round with four consecutive pars.
If he can hang on through the weekend, Baird would collect his first PGA Tour victory and first title of any kind since winning on the Nationwide Tour in 2000. He is currently 132nd on the money list and hasn't finished better than eighth place this year.
Among the players who share ninth place at minus-11 is world No. 9 Jim Furyk, who will be the highest-ranked player remaining in the field after Mickelson's exodus.
There are three players tied for 17th place one stroke further back -- among them is Justin Leonard -- and 12 share 20th place at minus-9.
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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

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    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

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    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”