McCord Takes First-Round Lead at SBC
'All I know is I'm playing well now,' said McCord. 'It's a lot of fun.'
McCord, who is looking for his third win on the Senior Tour and first since 1999, had a flawless round of golf with nine birdies and no bogeys en route to an 18-hole career best.
The golf announcer birdied the second and third holes, both from outside 20 feet, before birdieing the par-5 7th. McCord went on to birdie five of the next seven holes to open a two-stroke advantage over his closest challenger.
'It was just fairways and greens today,' he said. 'I was driving long and making the par-fives easy.'
McCord closed out his round with a birdie on the par-5 18th to give him a perfect mark on the par-5s at the Dominion Country Club.
Bobby Wadkins finished two behind McCord at 7-under 65. The Long Island Classic winner was even through the first four holes before sinking a 25-footer on the par-3 5th for the first of three consecutive birdies.
'After I made the first birdie it got me going,' said Wadkins. 'After that I made a second and it was what I needed to do.'
He finished with a birdie on the closing hole to move under-par on all the par-5s.
Bruce Fleisher came in one stroke behind Wadkins at 6-under 66. Fleisher played a remarkable stretch with seven birdies over the span of nine holes, but bogeys on Nos. 6 and 16 disrupted a flawless round.
Defending champion Doug Tewell took the lead for the early part of the round. He posted a bogey on the par-3 5th but countered with an eagle on the ninth from 45 feet. He added birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 but managed only pars on the remaining five holes.
Tewell is joined by Mike Smith, Larry Nelson, and Bruce Lietzke at 5-under 67.
A group of six players closed out the opening round at 4-under 68 including current money-leader Allen Doyle. Doyle carded five birdies and one bogey to finish alongside Jim Thorpe, Lanny Wadkins, Bob Gilder, Bob Murphy, Terry Dill, Terry Mauney.
Bill Rogers made his Senior Tour debut Friday. The 1981 British Open winner managed a 4-over 76.
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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.”
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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.