Furyk Curtis Lead Tiger Just Five Back

By Sports NetworkJuly 2, 2005, 4:00 pm
LEMONT, Ill. -- Jim Furyk shot a 4-under 67 Saturday to join Ben Curtis in the lead after the third round of the Cialis Western Open. The duo finished at 12-under-par 201, three shots clear of Tim Herron.
Three-time Western Open champion Tiger Woods posted a 67 to move into a tie for fourth place with former PGA champion Shaun Micheel at 7-under-par 206.
Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk shares the 54-hole lead for the second week in a row.
Furyk had a share of the 54-hole lead last week at the Barclays Classic but ultimately lost by a stroke to Padraig Harrington. The former U.S. Open champion has continued his strong play this week on the Dubsdread Course at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club and his put himself in position again.
'It's nice to be in this position,' Furyk said. 'I wanted to go out today and play a good round.'
He collected his first birdie of the day at the par-four fourth but stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole. Furyk responded with a birdie at the par-4 seventh and played his third shot within 13 feet for a birdie at the par-5 ninth.
Furyk ran off five straight pars before he reached the green in two at the par-5 15th and drained the long eagle try to jump into the lead momentarily at 12 under. Curtis soon joined him atop the leaderboard while Furyk parred his three remaining holes.
Curtis came out of nowhere to win the British Open two years ago at Royal St. George's. He has struggled since then with only one top-10 finish, a tie for eighth at last year's Memorial.
'When you're playing bad you sometimes try to force it too much,' said Curtis, who has made just three of 15 cuts this year. 'I just went back to the basics.'
Curtis picked up a birdie at the first and added a birdie at the par-4 seventh to make the turn at 9 under. He tallied a birdie at the par-5 11th and took the lead at the par-3 14th after his tee shot stopped inside 18 feet.
He hit a bad drive at the par-5 15th but played his second back into the fairway and scrambled for a par. Curtis followed with pars at the 16th and 17th holes before his second shot to the par-4 18th stopped 6 feet from the hole.
Curtis converted the birdie try to grab a share of first heading into the final round.
'You try not to think ahead of yourself,' said Curtis. 'It should be a fun battle.'
Woods had a slow start with five straight pars but he caught fire at the par-3 sixth with the first of three consecutive birdies. The top player in the game gave a shot back at the par-3 14th but he dropped his second shot to the par-5 15th within 15 feet.
Woods rolled in the eagle try and parred the last three holes to finish within five shots of the leaders.
'I've been putting well the last two days, which I haven't done all year,' said Woods. 'This year has been kind of streaky, good and bad, nothing in between. I logged in the time and I'm starting to see some results.'
World No. 2 Vijay Singh fired a 65 and finished at 6-under-par 207 alongside 36-hole leader Chris Couch, Pat Perez and Brett Quigley. Craig Perks, Duffy Waldorf, Brian Gay and Billy Mayfair were next at 5-under-par 208.
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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.”