Crowded Leaderboard at FBR Open

By Sports NetworkFebruary 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dudley Hart fired a 7-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab the first-round lead of the FBR Open at the TPC of Scottsdale.
Brian Gay was tied with Hart on the back nine Thursday, but missed a 12-foot par try at his 17th hole, which cost him a piece of first place.
Instead, Gay is tied for second place with 2001 PGA Champion David Toms, American Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, Tom Pernice, Jr., John Rollins and Aaron Baddeley at 6-under-par 65.
David Toms
David Toms sits just one shot off the lead at the FBR Open. (Wire Images)
Cool conditions greeted the players on Thursday morning and one player did not finish his opening round. Tripp Isenhour will return early Friday morning to complete his final hole.
Hart began on the back nine Thursday and collected his first birdie at the par-5 13th. He hit a terrible second shot, but chipped to 10 feet and converted the birdie putt. Hart missed the fairway left at the 14th, but hit a 5-iron 12 feet short of the flag to set up his second consecutive birdie.
At the par-5 15th, Hart laid up short with his second, but did not put his ball in a good position. He found a bunker and was unable to get up and down to save par.
'You look at it and say how in the heck did you bogey that hole? You'd be amazed what you can do if you play this game long enough,' said Hart. 'You can do all kinds of things.'
That would be the only miscue of the round for Hart. At the par-3 16th, Hart knocked a 6-iron to 30 feet and rolled in the long birdie putt. He made it two in a row thanks to a 10-footer at the 17th and was out in 3-under 33.
Hart parred No. 1, then went on a birdie run from the second. Hart holed a 20- footer for birdie at two, then sank an 8-footer for birdie at three. He polished off three in a row when his 7-iron approach at the fourth stopped 4 feet from the cup.
Hart had one more great shot left in his round. At the par-4 eighth, Hart drove into the fairway, then hit a spectacular 6-iron that came to rest 3 feet from the hole. Hart tapped in the birdie effort to grab sole possession of the lead.
'I hit a lot of good mid to short irons, gave myself a lot of good birdie opportunities and obviously putted pretty well,' said Hart, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, with his last win coming at the 2000 Honda Classic. 'You make eight birdies, you've got to be making some putts. So I putted pretty well.'
Gay reached 7 under par thanks to eight birdies and a bogey through 13 holes. He teed off on the back nine in round one so his 14th was No. 5 and he had a birdie chance there from 20 feet. Gay missed that one and it started a tough stretch for the American.
He missed a 9-foot birdie putt at the sixth, then a slightly longer birdie try at the very next hole. Gay's 12-foot par putt at the eighth stayed above ground, but Gay had one more look at matching Hart atop the leaderboard. Hart failed on a 10-foot birdie effort at his last to stay one behind.
'I had some chances coming in but didn't make any putts the last five holes or so, but played really solid,' said Gay. 'I'm really happy to get off to a good start.'
Billy Mayfair, Bart Bryant, Daniel Chopra, Bubba Watson, Robert Garrigus and former U.S. Amateur Champion Jeff Quinney, who has two top-10 finishes in his last two starts, are knotted in eighth place at 5-under-par 66.
Reigning Masters champion and two-time winner of this event Phil Mickelson continued struggling this season. He opened with a 1-over 72 and is part of a tie for 88th place.
'It wasn't a very good round,' acknowledged Mickelson, who has tied for 45th and 51st in his two starts in 2007. 'I made a number of bogeys and made some good birdies, but just didn't get it under par. There were a lot of low rounds out there. Even though the weather wasn't the best, there were still a lot of birdies to be made. I just made too many mistakes.'
Defending champion J.B. Holmes was worse than Mickelson on Thursday. He only managed a 3-over-par 74 and is tied for 117th place.
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    Next up for Koepka: Buddies and a bachelor party

    By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Coming off a successful title defense at the U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a nap. It appears he won’t be getting one anytime soon.

    Koepka normally wakes up by 6 a.m. without using an alarm, but without much down time since his victory at Shinnecock Hills he slept in until 8:20 a.m. Sunday morning, prior to his 10:40 a.m. tee time. Any impact to his pre-round routine appeared negligible, as Koepka fired a 5-under 65 that included seven birdies over his first 13 holes.

    “I felt like today was kind of the first day I got everything back,” Koepka said. “I was definitely running behind, but it was nice to catch up on some sleep.”

    Koepka became the first U.S. Open winner to play the week after since Justin Rose in 2013, and he finished the Travelers at 9 under with four straight sub-par rounds. While he’s got some free time in the coming days, it won’t exactly be restful.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “We’ve got 11 guys that I’m pretty close with, so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them in Boston for a few days and then [getting] back down to West Palm for a night, and then we’re off to my best friend’s bachelor party,” Koepka said. “I was really hoping to get some rest, but I don’t know how much that will happen.”

    Last year, Koepka took a month off following his U.S. Open win at Erin Hills, only touched a club once, and still finished T-6 at The Open at Royal Birkdale. While this will be his final competitive start before Carnoustie, he expects to make a strong run toward a third major title next month in Scotland.

    “I’m shutting it down for a while. I don’t feel like I need to play,” Koepka said. “I feel like my game’s in a good spot, played really well this week. Just some stupid mistakes and mental errors. That’s all it was, lack of focus and low energy. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I did play well though, I putted well, and I’m somewhat pleased.”

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    Spieth ends busy stretch without top-10 finish

    By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:39 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – There were no final-round heroics this time around for Jordan Spieth at the Travelers Championship.

    After taking the title last year with perhaps the most memorable shot of the year, Spieth appeared poised to make a robust defense of his title after an opening-round 63 gave him a share of the lead. But that proved to be as good as it would get, as he played the next three rounds in a combined 3 over to drop outside the top 40 on the final leaderboard.

    It marked the end of a pedestrian run of six events in seven weeks for Spieth, during which his best finish was a tie for 21st at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

    “A lot of cut-line golf, which is somewhat unusual historically for me, fortunately,” Spieth said after closing with a 1-under 69. “Kind of a grind, but I made actually a lot of progress where I needed to within the last few weeks.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Spieth has struggled to get on track on the greens this year, but he has started to turn a corner in recent weeks, specifically during a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, and he picked up more than three shots on the field this week in strokes gained: putting.

    “My putting’s right on point where it needs to be. It’s getting better every single week,” Spieth said. “It’s the best it’s been in a couple years.”

    Unfortunately for Spieth, a slight uptick in putting has coincided with some regression from his normally reliable ball-striking. Of the 74 players who made the cut at TPC River Highlands, he ranked 61st in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

    “I’ve just got to kind of get my alignment back in order on the full swing. It’s tough when you swing and you think you hit a good shot, and you look up and the ball’s, it could be 15 yards right or 15 yards left, and it’s all because of alignment,” Spieth said. “It’s literally the same thing I went through with the putting. I’ve just got to find a way to get it back on track with the full swing.”

    Having concluded a busy stretch, Spieth noted that he now has “a few weeks off.” But still in search of his first quality chance to contend heading into a final round this year, he didn’t rule out the notion of adding a start before defending his title at Carnoustie next month.

    Spieth is not in the field for next week’s Quicken Loans National, but he won the John Deere Classic in both 2013 and 2015, which will be played the week before The Open.

    “As far as leading into The Open, we’ll see,” Spieth said. “Last year I went in after three weeks off and it didn’t hurt me. So I believe I can get the work in whether I’m playing or not, to get the repetitions.”

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    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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    Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

    Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.