LaBelle Long Lead Cox Classic

By Sports NetworkAugust 3, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Preferred Wichita OpenOMAHA, Neb. -- Doug LaBelle II and Michael Long each posted rounds of 8-under-par 63 on Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the Cox Classic.
Ryan Armour, Peter Tomasulo, Matt Hendrix, Scott Dunlap, Bradley Hughes, Kevin Johnson and Chez Reavie are knotted in third place at minus-7 at Champions Run.
LaBelle parred his first three holes, but broke into red figures with a 6-foot birdie putt at the fourth. He made it two in a row with an 8-footer at the fourth.
LaBelle tried to drive the green at the reachable, 315-yard, par-4 ninth, but instead found a bunker. He blasted out to 4 feet and canned the birdie putt to make the turn at 3-under-par 32.
At the par-5 10th, LaBelle reached the green in two and two-putted for a birdie from 40 feet. Two holes later, LaBelle hit a 4-iron to 6 feet to set up birdie at the par-3 12th.
He made consecutive pars at 13 and 14 and appeared destined to make another par at 15. Instead, LaBelle chipped-in from 30 feet for another birdie to reach 7 under par for the championship.
LaBelle hit another great shot at a par-5, this time a 3-iron landed 15 feet from the stick at the 17th. He two-putted for another birdie, then sank a 10-footer for birdie at the last to polish off his second opening-round 63 in as many starts on tour.
'I got off to a good ball-striking round early, but I didn't capitalize on my birdie opportunities,' admitted LaBelle. 'The greens are very receptive if you can control the spin on the short irons then the course is very scoreable. As straight as I usually drive it, that is my strength.'
LaBelle ranks sixth on the Nationwide Tour in driving accuracy and eighth on the money list. He won his last start, the Price Cutter Charity Championship, when he opened with a 63, but took seven days off for a wedding in South America.
Doesn't seem he's missed a beat.
'I'm just taking one shot at a time and right now, everything is working for me,' said LaBelle. 'I didn't touch a club and you don't know if that will take away your momentum. You just try to prepare mentally as best you can.'
Long began on the second nine and two-putted for birdie at the par-5 10th. He parred his next two, but rattled off back-to-back birdies from the 13th, both inside 5 feet.
Once again, the New Zealander parred his next two, but closed his opening nine in style. Long did not reach the green with his second shot at the par-5 17th, but chipped to tap-in range. He made it two in a row with a 25-foot birdie putt at 18 to make the turn at 5-under 31.
Long did not play as well on the second nine as he opened with three straight pars. He kicked in a 3-foot birdie putt at the fourth, then rolled in a 12-footer for birdie at five.
Long's drive at the ninth, found the putting surface and it took him two to get down for a birdie and a share of the lead.
'The birdies just fell in,' acknowledged Long, who is 39th on the Nationwide Tour money list. 'I started the year real solid, but the last month or so has been a little scratchy.'
Tom Carter, David Morland IV, Brendon de Jonge, Bryce Molder, Michael Sim, Steve Larick, Chris Tidland, Chris Anderson and Andrew Johnson share 10th place at 6-under-par 65.
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

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    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

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    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.