Four Share Lead at BuyCom Boise Open
This is the first event back for the Buy.Com Tour as last week's Oregon Classic was cancelled after the terrorist attacks on the United States last Tuesday.
At 9:00 a.m. (ET), horns sounded and a 10-minute tribute took place in memory of the victims at New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The ceremony included bag pipes, a message from the Governor of Idaho and a rendition of 'God Bless America' by the Boise State University band.
Raulerson got off to a rocky start with a bogey at his opening hole, the 10th at Hillcrest Country Club. He rebounded with a seven-foot birdie putt at No. 12 and three birdies in a row, starting at No. 14. Raulerson added a 12-foot birdie putt at the 18th for a front-nine 31.
'My putting has been much better than it has in a long, long time,' said Raulerson, who birdied his final hole Thursday to earn a share of the lead. 'I got back to using my short putter and the ball is rolling better than it ever has been.'
Warren opened with a pair of birdies at Nos. 2 and 3 but they were quickly erased with bogeys at the sixth and eighth. He birdied six of his last seven, including the last four holes, to vault into a share of the lead.
'As tragic as everything has been, it gave me a week off to work on my ball striking,' said Warren. 'It's not what I want it to be.'
McKelvey used an ace at the par-3 4th to fly out of the gate. He struck a 7-iron at the 182-yard hole and watched as the ball kicked left and rolled into the cup.
'It took a little pressure off but there was a lot of golf left,' said McKelvey, referring to his hole in one. 'It's really rare that I'm sitting here taking advantage of the par-threes.'
McKelvey birdied two of the remaining par-threes, the eighth and 17th for his 66.
Long was flawless on Thursday with three birdies and an eagle.
Casey Martin, Don Reese, Sonny Skinner, Matt Peterson, David Sutherland, D.A. Points, Craig Bowden, Tjaart van der Walt and Billy Judah share fifth at 4-under par.
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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.
Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.
“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”
Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.
The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.
“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”
Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.
“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”
Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.
“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.
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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.
“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.
Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.
Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.
“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.
“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”
It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.
“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.
“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”
This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.