Trio on Top in Virginia

By Sports NetworkMay 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
RICHMOND, Va. -- John E. Morgan fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to share the lead with Kevin Durkin and John Elliott after the first round of the Henrico County Open.
 
Camilo Villegas, Jason Gore, Bill Lunde, Greg Kraft, Wes Short, Jr., Will MacKenzie, Jason Enloe, Ken Duke, Bob Heintz, Ted Tryba, David Peoples, Chad Collins, Mathew Goggin and Nathan Green finished knotted at 7-under-par 65.
 
Morgan started on the back nine at The Dominion Club and picked up back-to-back birdies from the 11th. He added a birdie at the par-5 18th to make the turn at 3 under and kept on rolling with an eagle at the par-5 third.
 
The Englishman tallied two straight birdies starting at the par-5 fourth and collected a birdie at the par-4 seventh to guarantee himself a piece of the opening-round lead.
 
'I can't grumble at anything,' said Morgan. 'The putts were sneaking in the sides. The driver was fantastic. I hardly missed a fairway.'
 
Durkin birdied the 10th, his first, and added a two more birdies over his first nine holes. He carried his momentum to the front nine with a birdie at the second and ran off three consecutive birdies starting at the fourth to jump to minus-7.
 
The 31-year-old then birdied the par-4 eighth to join Morgan atop the leaderboard.
 
Elliott also played the back half first and birdied the first two holes of his round before stumbling to a double bogey at the par-5 12th. Elliott recovered with birdies at the 13th and 15th holes, but dropped another shot with a bogey at the 17th.
 
He countered with a birdie at the 18th and caught fire on the front nine. Elliott birdied the second and picked up the first of four straight birdies at the fourth. Elliott added a birdie at the par-3 ninth to complete the logjam in first.
 
Villegas, who held the lead heading into the final round last week at the Rheem Classic, but ultimately tied for third, tallied four birdies, an eagle and a bogey on the front side. The Colombian birdied the 10th and moved to 7 under with a birdie at the 13th.
 
He had a birdie try at the last, but his 12-foot putt hit the hole and failed to fall. Villegas tapped in to finish in the large group one shot off the lead.
 
'You gotta go low,' said Villegas. 'I had some good chances. Made some good putts, missed a couple easy ones. But that's fine. We'll be back tomorrow.'
 
Jason Caron, Fran Quinn, Blaine McCallister, Martin Laird, Joe Daley, Andy Sanders, Kris Cox, Eric Axley, Pat Bates, Brian Henninger, John Morse, Donnie Hammond, Kyle Owen and Jason Schultz are tied at 6-under-par 66.
 
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Henrico County Open
  • Full Coverage - Henrico County Open
  • 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 his 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.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

    By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 8:20 pm

    Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.