Leonard Cruising at FedEx St Jude Classic

By Sports NetworkMay 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Justin Leonard fired an 8-under-par 62 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at the TPC at Southwind.
 
Kirk Triplett is alone in second place at 6-under-par 64, while Davis Love III and Jason Bohn are knotted in third place at minus-5. Matt Gogel and Tom Pernice, Jr. share fifth at 4-under-par 66.
 
Leonard wasted little time in breaking into red figures on Thursday. He birdied his first three holes, all from inside 5 feet, then added another at the fifth when his 7-iron stopped 15 feet from the hole.
 
At the seventh, Leonard hit another 7-iron, but the ball came to rest almost 60 feet from the cup. He drained the long birdie putt and birdied the ninth to make the turn in 29.
 
'It is hard to feel a 29 coming,' admitted Leonard. 'But, I felt pretty good the last couple of days.'
 
Leonard had some trouble on the back nine. At the 13th, Leonard ran home a 6-foot par save, then one hole later, sank a 10-footer to save par and keep his bogey-free round intact.
 
The Texan rebounded at the next hole when he hit a sandwedge to 5 feet. Leonard collected his eighth and final birdie at the 17th when he knocked a 9-iron to 20 feet.
 
'Yesterday in the Pro-Am, everything got better as the day went on,' said Leonard, who won the 1997 British Open. 'By the end of day I was hitting the ball pretty well.'
 
Leonard is in the middle of a long stretch of golf. He has played the last three weeks after taking a month off for the birth of his second daughter. Leonard won the Bob Hope earlier in the season, but has only one top-15 finish and three missed cuts since.
 
On Thursday, he felt like the round, which featured 16 of 18 greens in regulation, was a long time coming.
 
'I feel like I played my way into this round,' said Leonard. 'Certainly shooting 62 is a surprise. I felt like that coming into this week I was in a pretty decent place. After the last two days working, everything felt pretty good.'
 
Triplett started on the back nine Thursday and birdied the 12th from 15 feet. He recorded his second birdie of the round at 17 when his 7-iron approach landed 18 feet from the cup. Triplett made it back-to-back birdies at 18 after a 5-iron came to rest 10 feet from the hole.
 
Triplett collected his third birdie in a row at the first and added another at the par-5 third. He laid up and knocked his approach to 8 feet. At the fifth, Triplett drove into the trees, but managed to get his approach under the branches through the green. He made par, then rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at seven to get within two of Leonard.
 
'The pins were for the most part set up so you could get at them, bouncing the ball in,' said Triplett. 'There was a couple you needed to stay away from. That shows on the scoreboard a little bit. Some of the guys with some experience were playing it out there 20, 30 feet.'
 
Bob Estes, the 2001 champion, Olin Browne, Paul Goydos, Hank Kuehne, Hunter Haas, Scott Gutschewski, Will MacKenzie, Phillip Price, Carl Pettersson, Roland Thatcher and Lucas Glover are tied for seventh place at 3-under-par 67.
 
Kenny Perry, who won last week's Colonial, struggled a 3-over 73 and is tied for 101st place.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - FedEx St. Jude Classic

  • Full Coverage - FedEx St. Jude Classic
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    Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

    By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 7:08 pm

    Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.


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    Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 7:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.

    Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.

    Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.

    Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.

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    Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 20, 2018, 6:17 pm

    Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

    Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.

    It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.


    Full-field scores from the Portugal Masters


    A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.

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    Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews

    By Grill Room TeamSeptember 20, 2018, 4:25 pm

    The Old Course at St. Andrews has endured all sorts of wacky weather over the years, but things ratcheted up a notch this week with the arrival of Storm Ali.

    The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.

    According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:

    While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.