Colsaerts Takes Over In Scotland

By Sports NetworkAugust 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourGLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Nicolas Colsaerts fired a 5-under 67 Saturday to take the lead after three rounds of the Johnnie Walker Championship. Colsaerts stands at 8-under-par 208 and is leading going into the final round for the first time in his European Tour career.
Richard Bland and Emanuele Canonica are two strokes off the pace at 6-under- par 210 after rounds of 68 and 69, respectively. Bradley Dredge and Damien McGrane share fourth place one stroke further back, while co-overnight leader Steve Webster is tied with a group in sixth place at 4-under-par 212.
Mark Foster, who shared the overnight lead with Webster, fell into a tie for 19th place at 1-under-par 215 after a disappointing 5-over 77 in his round.
Colsaerts, who collected six birdies to go along with one bogey, was in the lead for much of the round and is in good position to claim his maiden European Tour victory.
'I went fine because I was just playing well,' said Colsaerts of the emotions involved in leading the field. 'The shots were just coming off and I really never thought about it at all.'
Colsaerts' best finish so far this season was a tie for 21st at the Jazztel Open de Espaa en Andaluca. He's not having a particularly good year, but likes his chances at The Gleneagles Hotel's PGA Centenary Course.
'I kind of always liked this place. It's a really pure track and if you hit good shots you are rewarded,' said Colsaerts, who then joked that the cool and rainy weather 'so far has been really good for Scotland.'
Colsaerts, who entered the round in a sixth-place tie at 3 under, got off to a scorching start with birdies on three of his first five holes, including the 516-yard par-5 second.
That moved the 22-year-old Belgian to 6 under par, where he would remain around the turn and until a birdie at the par-5 12th gave him a score of minus-7.
Colsaerts dropped a shot with a bogey at No. 15, but then rebounded with a birdie at the 16th and another at the 18th to finish off his round. He has only hit 22-of-39 fairways so far in the tournament, but a good approach game and a little luck has him in the lead.
'I got a lot of good lies, so that always helps,' Colsaerts said. 'I got quite lucky in the rough, actually.'
Bland, who is also seeking his first European Tour victory, opened his round by three-putting from 4 feet for a bogey at the first. But the Briton recovered with five birdies and an eagle at the par-5 12th and finished with a 4-under round.
Italian Canonica also opened his round with a bogey at No. 1, but that was his only misstep in a minus-3 round.
Dredge and McGrane both shot 69s to stay close, while Wade Ormsby and Barry Lane had the rounds of the day with 6-under 66s. Ormsby shares sixth place with Webster and Ian Garbutt. Lane is tied with three others one stroke further back.
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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.

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    Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.

    Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.

    Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.

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    There is, however, one running wager.

    “Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”

    Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.

    Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.

    “I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.