Day trying to go wire-to-wire with Woods' plan at API

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2016, 9:27 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two years have passed since Tiger Woods last struck a shot at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but his mark on Bay Hill remains unmistakable.

He won eight times after all, including each of the last two times he played here. Seemingly every corner of the par-72 layout is dotted with heroic shots that he attempted and, in most cases, pulled off successfully – none moreso than the 18th green that he once turned into his personal arena.

It’s fitting, then, that as Jason Day looks to close out a wire-to-wire victory this week, he will do so relying on Woods’ advice – not to mention his trademark gameplan.

Day began the third round with a two-shot advantage, and a lengthy round amid sloppy conditions clearly took a physical toll. But a 2-under 70 allowed him to maintain his cushion, and at 15 under he sits two shots clear of a trio of players as he looks for his first win since September.

Day and Woods are friends and frequently text one another. Those consults have led Day to adopt a two-pronged approach this week: patience and aggression. Pick your spots, make your moves, and play safe the rest of the way.

“Sometimes that’s what you need to do to win golf tournaments, especially when you have the lead,” Day said. “That’s what he’s done around here, and won so many times, doing it with that exact piece of advice that he’s given me.”

It’s a plan that has been evident all week, and certainly played out amid the rainy slop of the third round. Day has crushed the par-5s, playing them in 11 under through three rounds, and his only back-nine birdie came from a two-putt on the par-5 16th.

The rest of the round, outside of a pair of bogeys, was a textbook demonstration in protecting a lead: hit the greens, take your pars and make everyone else catch you.

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It’s a strategy that Woods has employed throughout his career, one that forces the opponent to make the first move – and, hopefully, the first mistake. Day admits to thinking often of Woods’ counsel while on the course, and he has put it to great use through 54 holes.

“Patience and aggression is what he says, and extend the lead by one, two shots every day,” Day said. “And pretty much, if it’s not going your way, suck it up and get it done somehow. And that’s just a typical Tiger Woods comment right there.”

Day is familiar with the burden of a wire-to-wire attempt; his win at the BMW Championship is both his most recent victory and the last time a Tour player pulled off the feat. That win at Conway Farms capped a torrid summer for the Aussie, one that saw him win a major and get to world No. 1.

The confidence he gleaned from that stretch, not to mention the near-misses that preceded it, make him better equipped for the spotlight than he might have been just two years ago.

“I probably would have choked,” he said. “I may choke in the future as well but like, that’s just how it is. You learn and you get better and, unfortunately, those times when you do play bad and you don’t win, that’s when you learn the most.”

While Day has converted each of his last three 54-hole leads, this tournament has not been kind to leaders in recent years, especially ones not named Woods. Should Day falter, a trio of players sit just off the pace, headlined by Henrik Stenson, who has some unfinished business to settle at Bay Hill.

Stenson held the 54-hole lead last year but succumbed to a late charge by Matt Every, one of five worldwide runner-ups last year for the Swede who remains winless since 2014.

“I played all right last year, but I didn’t get it finished,” Stenson said. “Hopefully we’re in a different position now. We need to come from behind and play a really good round tomorrow if we want to have a shot at it.”

Tied with Stenson at 13 under are Troy Merritt and Kevin Chappell, not exactly household names. But neither were Every, Martin Laird or Rod Pampling – all API champs within the last 10 years.

For Chappell especially, it’s a chance to follow in Every’s footsteps by claiming his maiden Tour victory in front of a living legend.

“I know not a lot of people in here expect me to win tomorrow, but I’m sure going to give it a shot and we’ll see what happens,” Chappell said. “It’s something I’ve thought about thousands and thousands of times, and I could see myself doing it. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it, and I can’t think of a better place to get my first win.”

But the man to beat, as has been the case all week, will be Day. Somewhat overshadowed by the recent play of other top-ranked stars, he hopes to put to rest any discussion of his recent slow start.

Equipped with the strategy Woods perfected at Bay Hill, he also hopes to firmly stamp his name as one of the favorites for the quickly-approaching Masters.

“If I can scratch out a win tomorrow, it’s going to do wonders for my confidence, knowing that I’ve held the lead every single day, won wire-to-wire,” he said. “It’s perfect timing with what’s coming around the corner.”

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”