Barr Back on Top

By Sports NetworkFebruary 15, 2003, 5:00 pm
NAPLES, Fla. -- Dave Barr fired a 7-under 65 Saturday to grab the second-round lead of the ACE Group Classic. Barr's 36-hole total of 11-under-par 133 was one better than Jay Overton and Vicente Fernandez.
Australia's Rodger Davis shot a 65 of his own to finish two shots off the pace at 9-under-par 135 along with Jim Thorpe.
Barr earned a breakthrough victory at last week's Royal Caribbean Golf Classic. He became the first Canadian to win on the Champions Tour and has put himself in position again thanks to a brilliant performance at TwinEagles Golf Club.
'If I come out tomorrow and beat the golf course, that's all I can do,' said Barr. 'Hopefully I'll be in a good frame of mind to go shoot a good round. Last week might have helped me a little bit. I'm a bit more relaxed.'
He hit a pitching-wedge to seven feet for birdie at the par-5 third. Barr then birdied the fifth and chipped his third shot to 12 feet for a birdie at the sixth.
Barr stumbled with a three-putt bogey at the 10th but responded with a birdie at the 12th. At the par-5 13th, Barr hit a 3-wood to 15 feet and drained the putt for an eagle to move to minus-9.
The 50-year-old dropped a 9-iron within 10 feet for birdie at the 16th and finished his round with a birdie at the last to take the outright lead.
'I struck the ball quite well tee to green. Overall an excellent putting round and I think I only missed two greens and those were on the fringes,' said Barr, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. 'I'm just riding the wave right now.'
Fernandez, who held the lead after the first round, got started with a birdie at the third. He birdied the 10th and added another birdie at 13. At the par-5 17th, Fernandez hit his third shot to four feet for birdie and a flawless 68.
'Today was a little bit more tricky. The wind switched and it was harder to get it close,' said Fernandez. 'Overall, I'm pleased with the score.'
Jay Overton was a Monday qualifier for this event and managed to put his name in the books on Saturday. The 52-year-old played a bogey-free round with nine birdies for a course-record 63.
'I felt like I belonged in the tournament and just had to go out and prove it on Monday,' said Overton. 'For a Monday qualifier, this is a nine-day work week.'
Tom Watson, who owned the previous course record, carded a 68 to finish in a tie for sixth with Mike McCullough at 8-under-par 136.
Bruce Lietzke, Jim Ahern, Doug Tewell, Tom Purtzer, Tom Jenkins and Jim Dent finished tied for eighth at 7-under-par 137. Walter Hall, Mike Smith, Isao Aoki and Gil Morgan were one shot further back at 6-under-par 138.
Defending champion Hale Irwin had three birdies and one bogey for a round of 2-under 70. Irwin finished alongside Q-School medalist Des Smyth, Larry Nelson, Jose Maria Canizares, Leonard Thompson, Gary Koch and Bobby Walzel at 5-under-par 139.
Jack Nicklaus, the architect of this venue, recovered after a disappointing opening round on his 'home turf.' Nicklaus was 4-under on his round with two holes to play on Saturday but double-bogeyed the par-4 eighth and bogeyed the par-4 ninth for a round of 71. Nicklaus finished tied for 59th at 3-over-par 147.
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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.”