Morgan Edges Into Lead

By Sports NetworkFebruary 8, 2003, 5:00 pm
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Gil Morgan posted a 4-under 68 Saturday to grab the second-round lead of the Royal Caribbean Golf Classic at Crandon Park Golf Club. Morgan stands at 6-under-par 138 and owns a one-shot advantage over Rodger Davis.
Bobby Wadkins, the overnight leader who is battling back problems, struggled to a 2-over 74 on Saturday. He is tied for third place with Hubert Green (68), Tom Purtzer (69) and Dave Barr (70) at 4-under par.
Morgan, who trailed Wadkins by four at the start of the second round, broke out the gate with a pair of birdies at one and three but two bogeys erased his move up the leaderboard.
The 56-year-old missed the green at the ninth and hit a poor chip 15 feet from the hole. He two-putted there for bogey and dumped his tee ball into the water at 12 for his second mishap of the round.
Morgan got his round going at the par-5 14th. He knocked it on in two and two-putted from 30 feet for his third, but certainly not his last, birdie of the round.
At the 16th, he landed an 8-iron 12 feet from the hole to set up birdie and reach 4-under par. He followed with a five-foot birdie at the par-3 17th and another five-footer for birdie at the par-5 closing hole to collect three birdies in a row and assume the top spot on the leaderboard.
'I was glad to finish with three birdies, especially at 17,' said Morgan, who holds a Doctor of Optometry degree. 'The wind direction was more of a factor. It switched around from yesterday. I wasn't very stable out there.'
If Morgan can hold on and visit the winner's circle Sunday, it will be the 22nd time since joining the Champions Tour in 1996.
'I've accomplished quite a bit on this tour,' said Morgan, whose last win came at the 2002 BellSouth Senior Classic at Opryland. 'I've won seven straight years out here and it would be nice to extend the streak early this year.'
Davis took sole possession of the lead midway through the back nine, thanks in part to Wadkins' mistakes and his own beautiful iron play. At 12, Davis fired a 6-iron 10 feet from the hole and cashed in on the birdie chance. One hole later, Davis once again hit a great 6-iron, leaving him with a 12-footer for birdie and sending him to 5-under par for the tournament.
Davis left his tee shot short of the green at 17 but the ball landed in rough in front of a bunker. He chipped his second 20 feet short of the hole and two-putted for a bogey.
The 51-year-old from Australia rebounded at 18 with a five-foot birdie to polish off a round of 2-under 70.
'You have to be patient out there. It was hard to pick the wind out there,' said Davis. 'It could be an interesting day tomorrow.'
Wadkins flushed his ball into the water at 12 and took double-bogey. Over the next six holes, Wadkins mixed two birdies and two bogeys to finish two shots out of the lead.
Gary Koch, the NBC analyst who is making his Champions Tour debut this week, managed an even-par 72 Saturday. He is tied for seventh at 3-under with Allen Doyle and Christy O'Connor, who aced the 12th hole in the second round.
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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.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    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.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “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.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”