Tiger Daly Chasing Singh

By Sports NetworkJuly 31, 2004, 4:00 pm
GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Vijay Singh fired a 7-under 65 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead of the Buick Open. He stands at 18-under-par 198 and is two ahead of John Daly.
Tiger Woods, the 2002 champion, posted a 6-under 66 and is in the hunt for his first stroke-play title since the World Golf Championships - American Express Championship last year.
He is at 15-under-par 201 and is tied with last week's U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee winner Carlos Franco, who bogeyed the 18th at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club to shoot a 67.
'You can't afford to make any bogeys,' said Woods, who has tallied only one through three rounds. 'To have one is pretty good. I'm starting to play a little better now.'
Singh has tried to supplant Woods atop the world rankings and last year topped Woods on the PGA Tour money list. However, on Sunday, it will be Woods chasing Singh.
Singh shared the 36-hole lead with defending champion Jim Furyk and Billy Andrade, but broke out of the pack with back-to-back birdies at two and three. Singh two-putted for birdie at the seventh, then sank a 20-footer for birdie at eight to go to 15 under par.
But Daly hung tough. Daly hit a spectacular punch shot from the trees at the ninth. His ball stopped 15 feet from the hole and he drained the birdie putt to get to minus-14. Daly, who won this year's Buick Invitational, rolled home an 8-foot birdie putt at the 10th to draw even with Singh.
Singh pulled ahead with a 4-foot birdie putt at 10. He added another at the par-5 13th although he looked to be in trouble when his second landed in the back bunker. Singh blasted his long, downhill bunker shot 8 feet past the hole, but ran home the birdie putt to go to 17 under and two clear of Daly.
Daly did well enough to stay in the hunt. At the driveable par-4 14th, Daly landed in a bunker in the fifth fairway. Faced with trees in front of him, Daly chipped to the rough, then pitched to 3 feet. Daly tapped in the par save, then holed a tough 8-footer for par at the next after his approach nicked a tree.
Singh was up two, but Woods and Franco charged up the leaderboard. Woods drained a 30-footer for birdie at 13 and made it two in a row at the 14th. The No. 1 player in the world drove into the right rough then hit a huge hook into the left trees. Woods hit a low chip 5 feet from the stick and converted the birdie try.
Franco flew up the board with four birdies in a row from the 11th, but made a mess of the par-5 16th. He was forced to lay up short of the putting surface, then sailed over the green with his third. Franco chipped on, but two-putted for a bogey.
Singh, playing with Franco, two-putted from 55 feet for birdie at the 16th, but Daly got within two while Singh was on 16. Daly knocked his approach inside 4 feet at the last and made the birdie putt to stay within two.
Singh had an easy chance to extend the lead at the last. His second stopped inside of where Daly hit his, but Singh badly pulled his birdie putt. Singh settled for par and the 54-hole lead, which has been a good landmark for the 1997 champion.
The last six times Singh has held the 54-hole lead, he has gone on to visit the winner's circle.
'I played nicely,' said Singh, a three-time winner this season. 'I'm very happy with my golf swing. I'm happy with my performance now and I'm really happy with putter.'
Singh returned to a conventional putter after more than two years with the belly putter. He needed 27 putts on Saturday and has averaged slightly over 28 putts for the week.
'I played like this the first two days as well, but made a few more putts today and the first day,' said Singh, who took 26 swipes with the flat stick en route to a 63 on Thursday. 'I feel like I got some touch back.'
Daly shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday.
With three tournaments remaining before the American Ryder Cup team is finalized, Daly is not in the top-25, but if he can overcome Singh on Sunday, he will be in the mix and potentially a pick for captain Hal Sutton.
'Whatever Hal does, I'm for him,' said Daly, who has never played in a Ryder Cup, despite winning two majors. 'If I get in, I get in. At least I'm trying and that's all you can do.'
Daniel Chopra carded a 6-under 66 and is alone in fifth place at 14-under-par 202.
Furyk managed a 2-under 70 and is knotted in sixth with Olin Browne, who shot a 69 on Saturday. The duo is tied at 13-under-par 203.
Matt Gogel (68) and Stewart Cink (70) are tied for eighth at minus-12, while Jeff Sluman has sole possession of 10th place after a third-round 68. Sluman is at 11-under-par 205.
Andrade struggled to a 1-over 73 and is part of a group in 11th at minus-10.
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”