Coles Takes One Shot Lead at BuyCom Event
Australia's Peter Fowler (68) finished alone in third at 7-under 209 while fellow countryman Matthew Ecob had the low round of the day with a 6-under 66 to grab fourth at 5-under 211.
Coles began the day four strokes behind second-round leader Peter O'Malley and played the outward nine at even-par with a birdie and a bogey. It wasn't until the back half of the Kooyonga Golf Club that he made his charge up the leaderboard.
The 33-year-old fired off five birdies over the closing nine holes, including the birdie at the last that gave him the outright lead.
'Well, it's make or break this time, I'm pretty determined not to finish like I have in the past when I've been in contention,' said Coles. 'I'm just going to take it one shot at a time and focus on the first tee tomorrow.'
Molder, who battled Coles for the top spot, got off to a good start with four birdies on the front nine to make the turn at minus-seven. He added another birdie at the 13th to take the lead at 8-under.
The Georgia Tech grad made his only mistake of the day with a bogey at the 15th that moved him into a tie with Coles. He birdied the 16th to regain the lead at 8-under but Coles matched him moments later with a birdie of his own.
Molder, who turned pro in August of 2001, is playing in his first event as a member of the Buy.Com Tour. The 22-year-old rookie was the low amateur in the U.S. Open last year finishing in a tie for 30th and has been a member of two Walker Cup teams.
O'Malley, who enjoyed a commanding lead at the start of the round, struggled with six bogeys and two birdies to fall into a tie for fifth at 4-under 212. He was joined by Germany's Alex Cejka (70) and Gareth Paddison (70) of New Zealand, five shots off the lead.
A pair of Australians in Mark Hensby (70) and Andre Stolz (71) finished alongside New Zealand's Richard Lee (71) at 3-under 213.
Sweden's Richard S. Johnson (72), who earned his maiden European Tour victory at the ANZ Championship last month, finished one shot further back at 2-under 214. He was joined by Scott Laycock (69) of Australia and American Douglas Labelle (73).
Full field scores from the Jacob's Creek Open Championship
'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse
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.”
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.”
Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'
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.”
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.”
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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.
“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.
Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.
Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.
“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.
“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”
It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.
“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.
“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”
This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.