Sluman Makes Early Memorial Move

By Sports NetworkJune 2, 2005, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Jeff Sluman fired a bogey-free, 7-under-par 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after one round of The Memorial Tournament.
South African Rory Sabbatini stands alone in second place at 6-under-par 66.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods shot 3-under 69 despite needing 32 putts Thursday.
Adam Scott, who will defend his title next week at the Booz Allen Classic, is tied for third place at minus-5. He was joined there by Woody Austin, Nick O'Hern, Joe Ogilvie, Bo Van Pelt, Jonathan Kaye, Lucas Glover and Richard Green.
Three-time champion Tiger Woods shares 13th place at 3-under-par 69. Woods got off to a steady start with 10 straight pars to open his round. He then birdied three of his next five holes. The 29-year-old parred his final three holes to close a bogey-free round of 69.
'With the wind blowing like this, I'm extremely happy with my start,' Woods said. 'I made no bogeys, three birdies and that's it. You've got to make putts. Some of the pin locations are accessible. You just kind of plod along, wait your turn.'
Sluman first got on the board with a birdie at the par-3 fourth. He came back with a 2-foot birdie putt on No. 6 at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The 1988 PGA Championship winner chipped in for birdie on the eighth.
The 47-year-old made it two straight as he sank a birdie putt on the ninth to make the turn at minus-4. Sluman capped a run of three straight birdies as his 20-foot putt at the 10th fell into the cup.
Sluman then birdied the 12th from 40 feet out, his third birdie on a par-3 in the first round. After a pair of pars, the Florida State alum ran in a 6-foot birdie putt on the 15th to move into the lead at 7 under. The six-time winner on the PGA Tour parred his final three holes, including an up-and-down par at the last to maintain a one-shot cushion.
'The golf course is in terrific shape. It's the best I've ever seen it,' said Sluman, whose best finish this year was a tie for ninth at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. 'It was a lot of fun out there. Obviously I was pleased with how I played today.'
Sluman leads after one round for the 13th time in his career. However, of those previous 12 events, he has never went on to win.
Sabbatini dropped a sand-wedge within 4 feet to set up a birdie on the third to get his round going. The South African scrambled to a birdie on the par-5 fifth.
He sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the next to move to 3 under. Sabbatini made it three in a row as his 5-foot birdie putt on the seventh found the bottom of the cup.
Sabbatini rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at the 10th to get to 5 under. He sank an 18-foot birdie putt at 17 and parred the last to close a bogey-free round of 66.
'The wind was just kind of swirling out there, making conditions a little tougher, and you really had to settle into each shot as it came,' Sabbatini said. 'You really needed to decide on what the wind was doing and go with that and really trust it.'
Ian Poulter and Tim Herron are tied for 11th at 4 under par.
Woods was joined at minus-3 by 14 other players. Among that group are two-time champion Kenny Perry, British Open winner Todd Hamilton and Byron Nelson Championship runner-up Sean O'Hair.
Defending champion Ernie Els struggled to a 1-over-par 73. He stands in a tie for 61st. Tournament host Jack Nicklaus posted a 3-over-par 75. World No. 1 Vijay Singh shot a 5-over-par 77.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
  • Getty Images

    FedExCup projected standings after Rd. 1 of Tour Championship

    By Mercer BaggsSeptember 20, 2018, 10:13 pm

    ATLANTA – Bryson DeChambeau started the week in the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings. But after the first round of the Tour Championship, he’s surrendered his lead.

    Justin Rose, the current world No. 1, is the new projected winner of the $10 million bonus. Rose shot 4-under 66 in the first round and is tied for third in the tournament. He began the week in second place in the FEC standings.

    DeChambeau struggled to a 1-over 71 and is currently tied for 21st in the field of 30.

    Here’s a look at the projected standings after 18 holes at East Lake Golf Club, which includes Tiger Woods jumping from No. 20 to No. 2.

    FedExCup Rank PLAYER NAME FedExCup Points
    1 2 Justin Rose 2450
    2 20 Tiger Woods 2219
    3 23 Rickie Fowler 2182
    4 1 Bryson DeChambeau 2160
    5 3 Tony Finau 1920
    6 5 Justin Thomas 1680
    7 4 Dustin Johnson 1528
    8 6 Keegan Bradley 1238
    9 7 Brooks Koepka 1192
    10 8 Bubba Watson 992
    11 9 Billy Horschel 800
    12 28 Gary Woodland 783
    13 12 Jason Day 678
    14 10 Cameron Smith 672
    14 17 Rory McIlroy 672
    16 11 Webb Simpson 616
    17 18 Xander Schauffele 561
    18 13 Francesco Molinari 544
    19 24 Jon Rahm 480
    20 19 Tommy Fleetwood 463
    21 26 Paul Casey 461
    22 14 Phil Mickelson 454
    23 16 Patrick Cantlay 453
    24 15 Patrick Reed 450
    25 21 Aaron Wise 398
    26 25 Kyle Stanley 393
    27 22 Kevin Na 330
    28 27 Hideki Matsuyama 278
    29 30 Patton Kizzire 275
    30 29 Marc Leishman 242
    Getty Images

    Tiger's driver now a great asset to his game

    By Mercer BaggsSeptember 20, 2018, 9:57 pm

    ATLANTA – Tommy Fleetwood hit a handful of tee shots past Tiger Woods on Thursday at the Tour Championship. But Woods found more fairways [10 to eight] and shot four strokes lower [65 to 69].

    Ever since making adjustments to his driver – which included adding loft and changing the shaft – at The Northern Trust, Woods’ long game has become one of his greatest assets.

    Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways in the first round at East Lake Golf Club, which led to hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation. Twenty-eight putts equaled a 5-under round and a share of the lead.

    It’s not as though Woods has completely traded distance for accuracy. He hit his drive on the par-5 18th 320 yards and that helped produce an eagle.

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    It’s more like he now has the ability to control his driver. Those wayward tee shots we had become accustomed to seeing aren’t so offline. That means sometimes he’ll send one 296 yards – like he did on the first hole – and sometimes he’ll gear up and knock one 328 yards – like he did at the fifth.

    “[I]f I hit it normal, I hit it just as far. And so that's to me like 300 yards in the air,” he said. “But … the neat thing about this one is that if I miss it and spin it a little bit, those spinners stay in play instead of chasing off on me, and I can turn this ball.

    “Like the tee shot I hit down 18, I didn't have that shot earlier with – not enough loft. … [M]y spin rate would be so low that it wouldn't stay in the air.”

    “And so, yeah, if I hit controlled shots, they're in play and they're shorter. But if I go ahead and step up and launch one, I'm just as far. The neat thing is I don't have to swing it as hard to hit the ball as far. And so it puts a little less toll on my body. I don't have to have my speed up there at 120, 121, 122 miles an hour to carry it 305, 310 like I did before.”

    Often times you hear players talk about aspects of their game and it sounds like they are trying to convince themselves that things are OK. Tiger's actions are backing up his words.

    Getty Images

    TT postscript: This 65 better than Aronimink 62

    By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 9:21 pm

    ATLANTA – The start wasn’t much to look at, but that finish was something else. Tiger Woods eagled the final hole on Thursday and shares the 18-hole lead at the Tour Championship. Here are the things you know you want to know:

    • First of all, let’s give a pat on the back to the man who most deserves it today: Me. Early this morning, I sent this tweet:

    Never doubt my good feelings. Ben Crenshaw doesn’t have my good feelings. We may have 54 holes to play, but I gotta good feeling we’re going to be changing that Tiger Tracker avatar Sunday night.

    • Now onto Tiger. After all, he did hit 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and took 28 putts. It wasn’t looking good early when he had nine putts through four holes and was 1 over par. But he birdied Nos. 5 and 6, turned in 1 under, and really turned it on down the stretch with two birdies and an eagle over his final seven holes. And if you take a good look at the scorecard below you’ll notice he didn’t make a bogey after the first hole.

    • How good is a 65 at East Lake? Better than his opening 62 at Aronimink, according to Woods: “This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink. Conditions were soft there. This is – it's hard to get the ball closer. There's so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can't get the ball close.”

    Woods added that you had to play “conservatively” and be patient – take what the course allowed. Tiger missed five putts – four of them for birdie – inside 15 feet. But in the 93-degree heat, he kept his composure and made putts of 26 and 28 feet for birdie, and 28 feet for eagle.

    • This week feels different. It feels like Tiger is really ready to win again. He seems very serious, very focused. He talked about “getting the W” on Wednesday and said on Thursday, “[T]he objective is to always win.”

    After shooting 65, Woods signed a few autographs and eventually made his way to the putting green. If he gets those 15-footer to fall, we’re going to be two wins away from tying Sammy.

    • So, what about that eagle on 18, you ask? Tiger said he “hammered” a driver – which was listed at 320 yards – and then hit a 5-wood from 256 yards to 28 feet. As for the putt: “It took forever for that putt to start breaking, grain coming down off the left. But once it snagged it, it was going straight right.”

    Right into the cup. Right into the lead. Our man is making history this week.

    Getty Images

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

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 8:30 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.

    Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.

    Woods finished his round with a vintage eagle on the par-5 18th hole, finding the green with a 5-wood from 256 yards out and then sinking the 28-foot putt.

    The eagle at the last gave Woods a share of the early first-round lead with Rickie Fowler at 5-under 65.