Monty Harrington Fall Behind Fishers Pace

By Sports NetworkJuly 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
European TourASH, England -- Ross Fisher fired a 9-under 63 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the European Open.
 
Fisher's 63 set a new course record on the Heritage Course at London Golf Club.
 
David Frost and Graeme McDowell share third place at 7-under-par 65. Rory McIlroy is two strokes further back at minus-5.
 
Fisher played the back nine first and got his round going with back-to-back birdies from the 10th, then made two in a row again from the 15th to move to minus-4.
 
The Englishman stumbled to his lone bogey at the par-3 17th. He parred four straight around the turn.
 
Fisher, who tied for third at British Open qualifying earlier this week, caught fire on the fourth. He birdied the par-4 fourth and came right back with a birdie at five.
 
'It has been a tremendous week so far. Getting into another major is huge and gives you so much confidence,' Fisher stated.
 
At the par-4 sixth, Fisher drained his third straight birdie. He holed out from a greenside bunker for another birdie on seven, then kicked in a short birdie effort on the par-5 eighth to get to minus-8.
 
Fisher closed his round in style with a birdie on the ninth, his sixth straight birdie overall. Not only did he set a new course record, but he also established a new personal-best score on the European Tour.
 
'It was one of those days. The hole was as big as a bucket,' Fisher said. 'I got off to a great start with birdies on 10 and 11. To be honest, I kept my round going at 13. After chipping to about 20 feet, I made the par save. It just kept me going.'
 
McDowell parred four straight to start his round. After a birdie on No. 5, McDowell eagled the par-5 eighth. He ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch from the ninth to get within two of the lead.
 
However, his birdie run was stopped by a bogey on the par-4 14th. McDowell atoned for that error with a birdie on 15, before he parred the last three holes.
 
'It was a tough day. The wind was blustery,' said McDowell. 'Eventually I got it going and 6 under par through a six-hole spell is always a nice way to boost the scorecard.'
 
Frost had a strong front nine with five birdies and four pars. He wrapped bogeys at 11 and 13 around a birdie on the 12th, then poured in three straight birdies from the 14th to grab a share of second.
 
Seven players are tied for fifth place at 4-under-par 68: Peter Hanson, Peter Hedblom, Jose Manuel Lara, David Lynn, Jeev Milkha Singh, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Robert Rock.
 
Defending champion Colin Montgomerie opened with a 2-under 70 and is tied for 19th. Reigning British Open champ Padraig Harrington is among a large group tied in a 47th place at even-par 72.
 
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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.


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    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.


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    “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.”