Dodd Assumes Lead in Ireland

By Sports NetworkMay 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
MAYNOOTH, Ireland -- Stephen Dodd posted a 2-under 70 on Friday to take first after two rounds of the Irish Open. He stands at 5-under-par 139 and leads by one at Carton House Golf Club.
Nick Dougherty, one of two co-leaders after the first round, managed an even-par 72 and is tied for second place with David Howell (70), Bradley Dredge (68) and Pelle Edberg (68). The group is knotted at 4-under-par 140.
Heavy rain and high winds blew through the Colin Montgomerie-designed Carton House. The course has been called difficult by most in the field, so the combination of weather and narrow fairways made scoring very tough.
Dodd wasted little time in getting into red figures. He birdied the second hole, a hole he bogeyed on Thursday, but dropped shots at five and seven. Dodd closed his front nine with a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at even-par 36.
The Welshman made it two in a row with a birdie at the 10th, a hole he has birdied both rounds. Unfortunately, he bogeyed the 11th for the second time in as many days to fall to 3 under for the tournament.
The 38-year-old birdied the 13th and had a great look at birdie at the par-5 15th. Dodd's 4-foot birdie putt missed the hole, but he grabbed sole possession of the lead at Carton House's par-5 closing hole.
Dodd had a tree in his way for his second shot, but his third stopped six feet from the hole. He converted the birdie try to move clear of the logjam and grab the second-round lead.
Dodd has been enjoying the most success of his career in the 2005 season. He won the season-opening China Open, then tied for second at the Dubai Desert Classic.
All totaled, Dodd has four top-10s, including two in his last three starts. The success has translated into more confidence on the golf course.
'It's been a great six months obviously,' said Dodd. 'I had a good finish to the end of last season, and it gave me a lot of confidence. So did the start of this year, obviously, and I could not have asked for it to go any better.
'I just think I'm a lot more confident now about the way I approach things. I'm not saying I hit the ball any better because I probably don't. I think I do things in a more confident manner now.'
Dougherty opened on the back nine and bogeyed the 16th. He collected birdies at three and five to get to minus-5, but things went downhill thanks to an errant drive at seven. Dougherty bogeyed the hole to fall back into a tie for second.
'It's a very difficult course. On a day like today especially when it's windy and a bit wet, it's a beast of a course,' said Dougherty. 'Level-par today and 4 under yesterday is a great start.'
Howell also began on the second nine and bogeyed two of his first three holes. He parred his next seven until three birdies in a row from the second and a birdie at seven moved him into a share of second.
'Things are going well for me,' said Howell, who lost in a playoff last week to Thomas Bjorn at the Dunlop Masters. 'I know my game's in pretty good shape.'
Dredge mixed seven birdies and three bogeys for his 68, while Edberg tallied six birdies and two bogeys.
European Ryder Cupper Paul McGinley and Philip Golding each carded rounds of 3-under 69 and are tied for sixth place at 3-under-par 141.
Jose-Filipe Lima posted a 1-under 71 and is alone in eighth at minus-2.
Klas Eriksson shared the lead with Dougherty after the opening 18, but struggled to a 4-over 76. He joined Montgomerie and Lee Westwood in a group tied for 18th at even-par 144.
Defending champion Brett Rumford shot his second consecutive 73 and is tied for 39th at plus-2.
The 36-hole cut fell at 4-over-par 148 and Michael Campbell (149) and Graeme McDowell (149) failed to advance to the weekend.
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    'Get in the squad car!': Fan ejected for heckling Garcia

    By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 11:46 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Early Wednesday morning at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about fan behavior in recent weeks.

    Although Monahan stressed that anything that impacts play inside the ropes would not be tolerated, he did address an incident like what happened a few weeks ago when a fan yelled for Justin Thomas’ ball to “get in the bunker.”

    “That’s part of what our players have to accept,” Monahan said. “In any sport, you go to an away game in any other sport and people aren’t rooting for you. Sometimes out here you’re going to have fans that aren’t rooting for you, but they can’t interfere with what you’re trying to do competitively.”

    That theory was put to the test later on Wednesday when Sergio Garcia found himself in a similar situation on the 12th hole at Austin Country Club and the fan was removed from the course.

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    “The guy obviously was shouting not very nice things at me. So I pointed him out to my [police] officer and then he decided to get him out of the course because he was being disrespectful not only to me but to everyone around,” said Garcia following his Day 2 match, a 2-up victory over Dylan Frittelli.

    “Crowds in our game have gotten bigger. So obviously it's not just golf crowds that you get now. And sometimes unfortunately you get one or two guys that are probably having too much fun and a little bit too much liquid and unfortunately it happens.”

    Last weekend at Bay Hill, Rory McIlroy suggested the Tour should consider limiting alcohol sales on the course and he was again asked about fan behavior on Thursday.

    “What is too much? If they are not shouting in your backswing then it's OK? It all depends,” McIlroy said. “I made my comments last week on St. Patrick's Day when everyone was just a few too many deep. I don't know, I'm all for people coming out here, having a good time. I think what happened to Justin Thomas at the Honda, that went over the line.”

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    Reed: 'Back still hurts' from carrying Spieth at Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:48 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Friday’s marquee match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who are both undefeated in pool play, just keeps getting better and better.

    Following his 1-up victory over Charl Schwartzel on Thursday, Reed was asked what makes Spieth, who defeated HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, so good at match play.

    “I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, who teamed with Spieth at Hazeltine National.

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    The duo did go 2-1-1 at the 2016 Ryder Cup and have a combined 7-2-2 record in Ryder and Presidents Cup play. Reed went on to explain why Spieth can be such a challenging opponent in match play.

    “The biggest thing is he's very consistent. He hits the ball well. He chips the ball well. And he putts it really well,” Reed said. “He's not going to give you holes. You have to go and play some good golf.”

    The winner of Friday’s match between Spieth and Reed will advance to the knockout stage.

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    Reed vs. Spieth: Someone has to go

    By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:11 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – The introduction of round-robin play to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was a necessary evil. It was needed to stem the tide of early exits by high-profile players, but three days of pool play has also dulled the urgency inherent to match play.

    There are exceptions, like Friday’s marquee match between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, which is now a knockout duel with both players going 2-0-0 to begin the week in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

    That the stars aligned so perfectly to have America’s most dominant pairing in team play the last few years square off in a winner-take-all match will only add to what promises to be must-see TV.

    Sport doesn’t always follow the script, but the pre-match subtext on this one is too good to dismiss. In one corner, professional golf’s “Golden Child” who has used the Match Play to wrest himself out of the early season doldrums, and in the other there’s the game’s lovable bad boy.

    Where Spieth is thoughtful and humble to the extreme, Reed can irritate and entertain with equal abandon. Perhaps that’s why they’ve paired so well together for the U.S. side at the Ryder and Presidents Cup, where they are a combined 7-2-2 as a team, although Spieth had another explanation.

    “We're so competitive with each other within our own pairing at the Ryder Cup, we want to outdo each other. That's what makes us successful,” Spieth said. “Tiger says it's a phenomenon, it's something that he's not used to seeing in those team events. Normally you're working together, but we want to beat each other every time.”

    But if that makes the duo a good team each year for the United States, what makes Friday’s showdown so compelling is a little more nuanced.

    The duo has a shared history that stretches all the way back to their junior golf days in Texas and into college, when Reed actually committed to play for Texas as a freshman in high school only to change his mind a year later and commit to Georgia.

    That rivalry has spilled over to the professional ranks, with the twosome splitting a pair of playoff bouts with Reed winning the 2013 Wyndham Championship in overtime and Spieth winning in extra holes at the 2015 Valspar Championship.

    Consider Friday a rubber match with plenty of intrigue.

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    Although the friendship between the two is genuine, there is an edge to the relationship, as evidenced by Reed’s comment last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he was denied relief on the 11th hole on Sunday.

    “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said.

    While the line was clearly a joke, Reed added to Friday’s festivities when he was asked what makes Spieth such a good match play opponent. “I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, a not-so-subtle suggestion that he carried Spieth at Hazeltine.

    For his part, Spieth has opted for a slightly higher road. He explained this week that there have been moments in the Ryder Cup when his European opponents attempted some gamesmanship, which only angered Reed and prompted him to play better.

    “I've been very nice to [Reed] this week,” Spieth smiled.

    But if the light-hearted banter between the duo has fueled the interest in what is often a relatively quiet day at the Match Play, it’s their status as two of the game’s most gritty competitors that will likely lead to the rarest of happenings in sport – an event that exceeds expectations.

    Both have been solid this week, with Speith winning his first two matches without playing the 18th hole and Reed surviving a late rally from Charl Schwartzel on Thursday with an approach at the 18th hole that left him a tap-in birdie to remain unbeaten.

    They may go about it different ways, but both possess the rare ability to play their best golf on command.

    “I’m glad the world gets to see this because it will be special,” said Josh Gregory, Reed’s college coach who still works with the world No. 23. “You have two players who want the ball and they aren’t afraid of anything. Patrick lives for this moment.”

     Where Reed seems to feed off raw emotion and the energy of a head-to-head duel, Spieth appears to take a more analytical approach to match play. Although he admits to not having his best game this week, he’s found a way to win matches, which is no surprise to John Fields, Spieth’s coach at Texas.

    “Jordan gave us a tutorial before the NCAA Championship, we picked his brain on his thoughts on match play and how he competed. It’s one of those secret recipes that someone gives you,” Fields said. “When he was a junior golfer he came up with this recipe.”

    Whatever the secret sauce, it will be tested on Friday when two of the game’s most fiery competitors will prove why match play can be the most entertaining format when the stars align like they have this week.

    It was a sign of how compelling the match promises to be that when asked if he had any interest in the Spieth-Reed bout, Rory McIlroy smiled widely, “I have a lot of interest in that. Hopefully I get done early, I can watch it. Penalty drops everywhere.”

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    Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

    By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

    We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

    But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

    One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

    It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

    And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

    Hey, whatever works.