Badds Good Enough for Sony Lead

By Sports NetworkJanuary 17, 2003, 5:00 pm
HONOLULU -- Retief Goosen maintained his spot atop the leaderboard Friday at the Sony Open but was joined by Aaron Baddeley as the two share the lead after two rounds at Waialae Country Club. The duo stands at 10-under-par 130 and owns a one-shot lead over three players.
Ernie Els, who posted the PGA Tour's lowest score in relation to par last week at the Mercedes Championships, shot a 65 on Friday and shares third place with Chris DiMarco (66) and Peter Lonard (65). The group is one shot back at 9-under-par 131.
Goosen, who won the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, wasted little time in collecting birdies Friday. He holed a 10-footer for birdie at the 10th, his first hole in the second round, and followed with a 20-foot birdie at 11 and 15-footer at the 12th.
He dropped his first shot of the tournament at the 16th when he was blocked by a tree after an errant drive. Goosen rebounded from the mishap at 16 with a short birdie putt at the 18th to make the turn at 3-under 32.
Goosen drained an 18-footer for birdie at the second hole before seven consecutive pars to close the round. On the ninth hole, his final hole of the day, Goosen's drive landed a few feet from the out of bounds marker but the South African saved par to salvage a round of 4-under 66.
'I played pretty nice overall. That is probably as good as I could have done,' said Goosen, a co-leader after the first round. 'There were a few holes that were playing really tough today. I never really gave myself a lot of birdie chances like yesterday.'
Baddeley did most of his damage later in the round Friday. He tallied four birdies and a bogey through the first 13 holes but at his 14th, the fifth at Waialae, Baddeley notched a 15-foot birdie putt. He added a five-footer for birdie at the par-3 seventh and closed his round with a two-putt birdie at the ninth to polish off a round of 6-under 64.
'It wasn't an easy day today,' said Baddeley, an Australian who was born in the United States. 'I went out there today just wanting to show patience and I think I showed patience today with a capital P. That was the main goal for today.'
Baddeley is participating in his first event as a member of the PGA Tour after he qualified last year by finishing 10th on the Nationwide Tour money list. In 22 career starts on the PGA Tour, this was only the sixth cut he made although the 21-year-old has enjoyed some success in his career.
He captured two Australian Open titles before he turned 20 years old and beat Sergio Garcia in a playoff at the Holden International in 2001.
'This is where you dream of being,' said Baddeley, referring to the PGA Tour. 'My first event with my tour card and being tied for the lead after 36 is fantastic. We are only halfway and I am just going to go out tomorrow and keep doing what I've been doing.'
Els closed with three birdies in his last five holes to get within one of the lead and put him in a good position. If Els can make it to the winner's circle on Sunday, he would become the first player to win the first two PGA Tour events in one season since Steve Jones in 1989.
'Obviously, I prefer last week,' said Els, referring to his 31-under drubbing of the field at the Mercedes Championships. 'But I also enjoy this, when it gets quite bunched up and you've got to grind it out. Sometimes par is a good score. If I keep playing like this, I'll like it.'
Shigeki Maruyama is alone in sixth place at 8-under par, followed by Briny Baird, who is alone in seventh at minus-7. Tim Herron, Harrison Frazar, Chris Riley, Brenden Pappas, Fred Funk and Jim Furyk share eighth place at 6-under-par 134.
The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 140 with 77 players advancing to the weekend. Among the notable players who fell short were: reigning PGA Champion Rich Beem (141), Stewart Cink (141), Paul Azinger (142), Ty Tryon (142) and Jose Maria Olazabal (149).
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

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    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

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    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

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    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”