Fischer Reels in First Win at Fort Smith Classic

By Sports NetworkJuly 21, 2002, 4:00 pm
FORT SMITH, AR -- Todd Fischer birdied the 16th hole and went on to earn a one-shot victory at the Buy.Com Fort Smith Classic for his first career victory.
Fischer carded a 1-under-par 70 in Sunday's final round at the Hardscrabble Country Club to finish with a four-day total of 11-under 269. He earned a first-prize of $76,500 and moved up to fourth on the season money list.
'Winning is fantastic, it feels great,' said Fischer, who became the 12th first-time winner on the Buy.Com Tour this year. 'Right now, I'm calm about it, but I'm sure it'll get a little wild later on.'
Fischer was anything but calm early in the morning when he had to come out and play the final two holes of the third round because rain delayed play earlier in the week. He held the lead overnight at 12-under par, but a pair of bogeys dropped him into a tie for the top spot entering the fourth round.
'I was hot this morning,' said Fischer, 'but what can you do. I went back to my dark, cold dungeon of a hotel room, watched some of the British Open and just flipped the channels. I came back out and just tried to hit better shots.'
It didn't happen early, as consecutive bogeys early on the front nine dropped him off the lead. He rallied with back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh holes, but another bogey on eight left him 1-over par for the round heading to the back nine.
Fischer played a steady back nine with seven pars and birdies at the par-five 11th and the par-four 16th. He drained a long birdie putt on the 16th hole to break the logjam at 10-under, then made a 10-footer for par at 17 and a two-putt par from 20 feet at 18 to wrap it up.
'The hardest thing about the last two holes was that first putt on 18,' said Fischer. 'I was over it and couldn't figure out if it was uphill or downhill.'
Gavin Coles, Doug Barron and Andy Sanders finished second at 10-under. Coles and Barron each shot five-under 65s on Sunday, while Sanders posted a 67. All three were in the clubhouse hoping for a playoff that never came.
Sanders reached 11-under on the back nine, but a bogey at the par-three 15th was his undoing.
Daniel Chopra, Doug Dunakey, Vic Wilk, Grover Justice and Craig Spence tied for fifth at eight-under par.
Spence played in the final group with Fischer and was 12-under through six holes, but double-bogeys at seven and eight derailed his momentum. He also bogeyed 10, but an eagle at 11 moved him back to 11-under. Another bogey at 13 left him at minus-10 and he could only manage pars the rest of the way.
Full field scores from the Fort Smith Classic
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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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.”