Fleisher Nelson Share Top Spot

By Sports NetworkSeptember 26, 2003, 4:00 pm
CONOVER, N.C. -- Bruce Fleisher and Larry Nelson posted matching rounds of 8-under-par 64 Friday to share the lead after the opening round of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. Bob Gilder is one stoke further back at minus-7.
Champions Tour rookie Craig Stadler notched a 6-under-par 66. He shares fourth place with Tom Jenkins and James Mason.
Fleisher opened with a birdie at the first on the Jones Course at Rock Barn Golf Club and Spa. He birdied both front-nine par-5s, Nos. 4 and 7 to move to minus-3.
Around the turn, the Verizon Classic winner stumbled to a three-putt bogey at the 10th. He came right back to sink a 20-footer for birdie at the next to atone for that mistake.
Fleisher caught fire from there. He rolled in a birdie putt at the par-4 13th and followed with kick-in birdie at No. 14. Fleisher made it three straight when he birdied the 15th after dropping an 8-iron within two feet.
The 54-year-old continued his roll on No. 16 when he sank a birdie putt. Fleisher capped a remarkable run of five straight birdies when he made a 10-footer for birdie on the 17th.
'What is it about North Carolina? If I knew I would write a book and I'd sell it for a fortune,' said Fleisher, who has won four straight years in the state of North Carolina. 'I just like the surroundings.'
Fleisher, who was paired with Nelson and Stadler, used the strong play in the group to keep him going.
'We all played off each other out there,' said Fleisher. 'It would have been nice to birdie the last hole. Nelson is playing very good golf and he is confident.'
Nelson, like Fleisher, opened with a birdie on the first. He later sank back-to-back birdies from the fourth to climb to 3-under. However, he faltered to a bogey on the seventh but came right back to birdie the eighth to make the turn at minus-3.
On the back side, Nelson made a six-foot birdie on the 12th and made it two straight with a birdie on No. 13.
Nelson, who won the Constellation Energy Classic earlier this season, then holed a lob-wedge from 80 yards out for eagle at the 14th to get to 7-under. He finished his hot streak with a birdie at No. 15 to grab a share of the lead.
'I wanted to shoot 63 very badly,' said Nelson, who missed a short birdie try on the 18th. 'Seeing guys at 5-under early helped the guys who were playing later. We said, `Well, maybe we can go low here.''
Nelson, who has won 17 times in six years on the Champions Tour, knows this may be one of his last chances to win.
'You don't know when age is going to come and catch up with you, but I feel as good right now as I've felt ever since I've been out there,' said Nelson. 'I've always played fairly well when I've been healthy and right now I feel pretty good.'
Dana Quigley, starting his 229th consecutive event for which he's been eligible on the Champions Tour, carded a 5-under-par 67. He is joined in seventh place by Gil Morgan, Doug Tewell, Jim Thorpe and Jay Sigel, who played his college golf at nearby Wake Forest.
Bobby Wadkins and his brother, Lanny, lead a group of seven players at 4-under-par 68.

Related Links:
  • Greater Hickory Classic Leaderboard
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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

    1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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    Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

    Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

    “We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

    Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

    “It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

    It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.