Eagles Soar as Harrington Takes Command

By Sports NetworkDecember 7, 2002, 5:00 pm
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Padraig Harrington shot a course-record, 9-under 63 Saturday to take a commanding lead after the third round of the Target World Challenge. Harrington finished at 19-under-par 197, six shots ahead of tournament host Tiger Woods.
Bernhard Langer finished alone in third at 12-under-par 204. David Toms carded a 4-under 68 to finish one shot further back at 11-under-par 205 alongside Nick Price.
Harrington dominated the par-5s at Sherwood Country Club in taking the outright lead. He got started with a 12-foot eagle at the par-5 second.
He birdied the third but ran into trouble with a bogey at the fourth. At the par-5 fifth, the Irishman played his second shot short but holed out from the fairway for his second eagle of the day.
Harrington made the turn at 13-under and knocked his approach inside four feet for a birdie at the 10th. At the par-5 11th, Harrington's second shot nearly found the bottom of the hole and stopped within two feet of the cup. He tapped in for his third eagle of the day.
At the par-5 13th, Harrington reached the back fringe in two and almost had another eagle but his putt lipped out. He settled for birdie and made a three-foot putt at the 16th to reach 18-under.
Harrington then hit his second shot to eight feet at the 17th and drained the putt en route to a new 54-hole tournament record.
'Shooting 70 in the last round to win the tournament is better than shooting 63 and the course record on the third day if it doesn't come to anything,' said Harrington. 'Maybe if I win the tournament, I will put it down as the best round. At the moment it is not.'
Harrington, who finished second on the European Tour's money list this year, was eager to play alongside Woods again in the final round.
'I am happy with that,' said Harrington. 'I am sure he wants to be with me to try and put some pressure on. I am not one to watch scoreboards, so I am quite happy to try and manage my game.'
Woods had trouble with the putter early on, failing to save par from inside four feet at the third and fourth holes. He recovered with a two-putt birdie at the fifth and dropped his approach inside two feet at the seventh to make it two in a row.
Woods struggled around the turn with a bogey at the ninth and dropped another shot at the 10th after he could not get up and down from off the green.
At the par-5 11th, Woods reached the green in two and two-putted for a birdie to move to 11-under. He bogeyed the 13th but countered with two birdies down the stretch.
'It was a sloppy round of golf,' said Woods. 'I didn't play particularly well, and it showed. I made too many mistakes and didn't make any putts early in the round, which was the key because I needed to try to keep pace with Paddy.'
Jim Furyk and Colin Montgomerie share sixth place at 10-under-par 206. Davis Love III, who won this event in 2000, was alone in seventh at 9-under-par 207.
Phil Mickelson shot a 4-under 68 to finish alongside Retief Goosen at 6-under-par 210.
Chris DiMarco finished alone in 11th at 5-under-par 211 while Vijay Singh and Michael Campbell were one shot further back at 4-under-par 212.
Mark O'Meara is 14th at three-under-par 213 followed by Bob Estes at 1-under-par 215. PGA Championship winner Rich Beem is last at 5-over-par 221.
More from the Target World Challenge:
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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.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

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.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“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?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“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.”