LeBruns 61 Good for 36-Hole Lead

By Sports NetworkJuly 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
Scholarship America ShowdownHUDSON, Wis. -- Steve LeBrun set a new course record on Friday with his 9-under 61 in the second round of the Scholarship America Showdown. LeBrun stands at 14-under-par 126 through 36 holes at Troy Burne Golf Club.
 
LeBrun's 61 broke Kyle Thompson's course record by one stroke and LeBrun's 36- hole total smashed Thompson's record of 130 from last year.
 
Chad Wilfong, who played with LeBrun, posted a 7-under 63 to move into a tie for second place at 10-under-par 130. Steven Bowditch, who won the Jacob's Creek Open earlier this season, also moved to minus-10 with a 65.
 
Anthony Painter, Tim Simpson, Jerry Smith and Jon Mills share fourth place at 7-under-par 133.
 
LeBrun, 27, was on fire right from the start, opening with birdies on the first three holes. He dropped in a birdie putt on the sixth and moved to 10 under with a birdie at seven. He then birdied the eighth to cap his second run of three straight birdies.
 
'It was a nice way to start, especially on Friday,' LeBrun said. 'I think my Friday scoring average is probably around 77 going into today. I started off with three birdies and you can't beat that. You get to 8 under and you're not thinking about the cut anymore, you're thinking about trying to win the tournament or getting yourself in position to win it.'
 
LeBrun stumbled to a bogey on nine to fall back to minus-10. The Floridian converted back-to-back birdie chances from the 11th and got to 13 under with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th. LeBrun closed out his round with a 25-foot birdie putt at the last to set a new course record.
 
'It's definitely my best round ever,' said LeBrun, who has never been higher than tied for 18th after 36 holes in any of his 17 career starts on the Nationwide Tour. 'Chad and I were both feeding off each other, especially early on. We were both making so many putts.'
 
Wilfong matched LeBrun's run of three straight birdies from the first. He then dropped in a birdie on the fifth to start another run of three birdies in a row.
 
The 24-year-old parred his next five holes. Wilfong, who made the cut for the second time in seven career Nationwide Tour starts, stumbled to a bogey on the par-three 13th.
 
Wilfong converted consecutive birdie putts from the 16th to move into a tie for second place.
 
'I looked at him and said, 'What did you shoot?' and he said '61.' I just threw my card up at that point because 63 is no good,' Wilfong said of his talk with LeBrun walking off the 18th green. 'He played well. It was fun to be a part of it.'
 
Bowditch opened with a birdie on the first and sank back-to-back birdies from the fifth to move to 8 under. The Australian stumbled to a bogey on the seventh, but came right back to birdie the eighth. He then managed two birdies over his final nine holes to tie for second.
 
'I started driving the ball better, though I'm still making a few terrible swings,' said Bowditch. 'Because I'm starting to drive it good, I took driver on absolutely every hole I could today.'
 
First-round leader Brandt Snedeker struggled to a 1-over 71. He stands at 6-under-par 134 alongside John Merrick, David Morland IV, Jason Dufner and Charley Hoffman. Jason Gore, who won the Pete Dye Classic last week, leads a group at minus-5.
 
The cut line fell at 1-over-par 141 with 65 players moving on to the final two rounds.
 
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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”


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    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.


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    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”


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    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”