Whitehouses 66 Grabs Top Spot in Moscow

By Sports NetworkAugust 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Cadillac Russian OpenMOSCOW, Russia -- England's Tom Whitehouse fired a 6-under- par 66 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Russian Open.
 
Whitehouse stands one stroke clear of five players tied for second place at 5-under-par 67, including countryman and two-time Russian Open champion Iain Pyman. The others are Spain's Jesus Maria Arruti, Scotland's David Drysdale and Mikael Lundberg and Fredrik Widmark of Sweden.
 
Ben Mason and Shaun P. Webster of England, Spain's Jose Manuel Carriles and Welshman Craig Williams are one stroke further back in a tie for seventh place.
 
This tournament is the third dual-ranking event of the 2005 season for the European and Challenge Tours. And with the PGA Championship being played eight time zones away, no player ranked in the Order of Merit's top-100 is in the field.
 
Whitehouse, who is looking for his first European Tour victory, dropped in seven birdies with just one bogey during a round dampened by rainy conditions and made tougher by a wrist injury he suffered while sleeping Wednesday night.
 
'I woke up this morning with a lot of pain on the inside of my wrist,' said Whitehouse. 'I put some ice on it this morning and it really hurt, but I just gritted my teeth for the first nine to be honest and it kind of eased off as I went round.
 
'I could still feel it and I hit some strange shots, but the sore wrist made it easier to take because you can just blame the sore wrist rather than thinking that you have made a bad swing.'
 
Whitehouse has a friend in pain in reigning European Tour Golfer of the Month Colin Montgomerie, who shook off a wrist injury to join the field at the PGA Championship.
 
'It's funny because I was watching Colin Montgomerie getting grilled by the American press about the fact he hadn't hit a shot out of the rough before playing in the U.S. PGA today,' said Whitehouse. 'But I think he's right to do so because it really hurts playing out of the rough when you have a wrist injury. I can vouch for that.'
 
Showing no ill-effects, Whitehouse moved to minus-2 with birdies at the par-5 second and par-3 fourth at Le Meridien Moscow Country Club, Russia's only 18-hole golf course. He dropped a shot at No. 6, but made the turn at 2 under after a birdie at the seventh and consecutive pars at eight and nine.
 
The 25-year-old Briton dropped in another birdie at the par-4 10th, one of four birdies on his back-nine. The others came at Nos. 12, 14 and 15, moving him to minus-6 on the day.
 
The two-time champion Pyman played 4-under-par on the front-nine, getting his round off to a good start with an eagle at the par-5 second and three more birdies before the turn.
 
'I think when you have won at a certain place, you are automatically confident about the course and playing the tournament,' said Pyman, whose round of 67 came despite three bogeys. 'Also, I have been playing well for the past month or so anyway. I've been in the top-ten at the last two Challenge Tour events, so it was a case of coming here and trying to keep that going.'
 
Sharing 11th place at 3-under-par 69 are Ireland's Stephen Browne, France's Bertrand Cornut, England's David Dixon, Denmark's Jeppe Huldahl and Hernan Rey of Argentina. Thirteen golfers are tied for 16th place one stroke further back.
 
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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.”