Austrias Brier New Leader in China

By Sports NetworkApril 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Volvo China OpenSHANGHAI, China -- Austria's Markus Brier closed with three straight birdies Saturday to post a 4-under 67 and take the lead at the Volvo China Open.
Brier completed 54 holes at 6-under-par 207 and is one stroke clear of Scott Hend. The Australian carded a 1-under 70 to move into solo second at minus- 5.
Andrew McLardy matched Brier's 67 and that helped him climb into third place at 4-under-par 209.
Second-round leader Raphael Jacquelin stumbled to a 4-over 75. That dropped him into a share of fourth at minus-3. He was joined there by Richard Sterne (69) and Graeme McDowell (70).
During the round, five separate players had at least a share of the lead at Shanghai Silport Golf Club.
With Hend and Anders Romero battling for the lead on the back nine, Brier flew up the leaderboard to claim the top spot.
Brier tripped to a bogey on the first, but reclaimed that lost stroke with a birdie on the third. He moved to minus-3 with a birdie on the eighth.
Around the turn, Brier bogeyed the 10th before a birdie on 11. He bogeyed the par-4 12th for the third straight round, but responded for the second day in a row with a birdie on 13.
'With the 12th, I have bogeyed it all three days so far, but from then on I feel comfortable with the tee shots and if you hit good tee shots it is short irons and wedges in,' Brier stated. 'You have to hit it on the fairway. I missed it on the 10th and 12th holes and was just in the thick stuff.'
Brier caught fire down the stretch. He collected a birdie at the par-4 16th and came right back with a birdie on 17 to grab the lead at minus-5. Brier closed with a birdie at the last to end one clear of Hend. Brier's final three birdies all came from inside 6 feet.
'(Sunday) that will be the key, hit the fairway and hopefully have as strong a finish as today,' said Brier of his thoughts on the final round. 'Like last year in Fontana, I had a good finish and I hope I can do the same.'
Hend birdied the fourth after three straight pars to open his round. He was tied for the lead after parring the fifth as Jacquelin dropped a shot at the fourth. Hend dropped shots on six and seven to slide to minus-3.
The 33-year-old got one shot back with a birdie at the eighth, but faltered to another bogey on nine. Hend atoned for that error with a birdie at the 11th. He gave another stroke back as he bogeyed No. 12.
Hend moved within one of Brier as he birdied the 14th. Hend carded his final birdie on 16 to get to 5 under. He parred the final two to finish one back.
Jacquelin fell out of the lead with three bogeys over his opening six holes. He went on to pick up another bogey on the back nine as he failed to card a single birdie on the day.
Adam Blyth, who was paired with Jacquelin, was even-par through eight holes and was tied for the lead with Romero. However, Blyth went 5 over par on the back nine to tumble down the leaderboard.
Romero, playing with Hend in the penultimate twosome, ran off three straight birdies from the seventh to grab the lead at minus-6. He fell down the leaderboard around the turn with four bogeys in a six-hole span.
Romero ended up carding a 2-over 73 that dropped him from third to seventh. He is alone there at 2-under-par 211. David Griffiths, Jean-Francois Lucquin and Peter O'Malley are the final three players in red figures at minus-one.
Blyth is tied for 11th place at even-par 213 with Michael Jonzon, James Kingston, Peter Lawrie and Robert-Jan Derksen.
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    Woods on firing shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

    His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

    “I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.

    “I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

    Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

    It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

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    Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

    Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

    But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.

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    “It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

    Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

    “It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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    After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

    In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

    No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

    Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

    “I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”

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    And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

    Let it go.

    Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

    “I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

    It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

    During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

    Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

    “It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

    McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

    It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

    “I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

    The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

    Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

    The only thing left to do?

    Let it go.