Spieth appears to have ironed out his iron play

By Will GrayMay 28, 2016, 12:32 am

FORT WORTH, Texas – There are plenty of similarities between the past two tournaments for Jordan Spieth.

Both weeks Spieth teed it up in front of partisan crowds in his home state of Texas. In both instances, he played his way into contention at the halfway point.

But the comparisons stop when it comes to how Spieth feels, and how he views the current state of his game. The picture, according to the world No. 2, is much rosier this week at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

After fighting his swing for much of last week across town in Dallas, Spieth has put together two straight rounds of ball-striking that more closely resemble his 2015 form. The drives are curving on command; the pesky irons are cooperating once more.

Spieth sits at 7 under after a second-round 66, having garnered some momentum that he hopes to build on this weekend.

“I feel really, really good over the ball right now,” Spieth said. “I got a little loose at the end of the round today. Fortunately still kept those on the green. My putting is coming around. Once I adjusted to the speed after a couple of kind of sloppy three-putts, really made the most of the round today.”

Spieth had to wait nearly six extra hours to begin his second round as thunderstorms battered the Fort Worth area overnight and into the morning. Once he finally reached the tee at Colonial Country Club, he found the opening fairway and green and never looked back.

In fact, after a self-described “stress-free” opening round, Spieth did even better Friday, affording himself a birdie putt on every single hole (16 greens in regulation plus a pair of fringes).

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Spieth’s lone bogeys came on No. 10, where he misjudged his first putt of the day, and No. 16, where he had to stand with his back to the hole on his first putt because of a huge swale.

“The greens were up, I think, 2 feet over yesterday, and it just took me a little while to adjust,” he said. “But once we made that adjustment, a little better on the greens and yeah, it was set up by the fairways hit.”

Spieth went out in even-par 35 on the back nine, but he made his move on the part of the course that often creates the most carnage. After birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, Spieth played the “Horrible Horseshoe” of Nos. 3-5 in 2 under par, briefly holding sole possession of the lead after rolling in a 15-footer for birdie on No. 5.

“It was a fantastic back nine that we played,” he said. “(Nos.) 1 through 5, if you play them 1 under, you’re going to be up there with the leaders because the rest of the course you can kind of really get around and have some chances. Playing 4 under today was awesome.”

Spieth’s total leaves him one shot off the clubhouse lead set by Webb Simpson, but he is four shots behind Bryce Molder, who will finish his second round in the morning because of the lengthy weather delay.

The results through 36 holes are promising, but the intangibles offer even more reason to believe that Spieth could be in for a big weekend – like the one Rory McIlroy enjoyed last week and Jason Day experienced the week prior.

After the AT&T Byron Nelson, where the word “frustrated” was never far from his lips, Spieth appears confident. He appears relaxed.

Perhaps it’s shifting the venue across town. Perhaps it’s playing a course that better suits his game. Or perhaps it’s just that, after two straight starts of squirrely ball-striking, Spieth has found a way to iron out the kinks with, well, his irons.

“I’d say (my comfort level) is up there close to where I want to have it, 100 percent trust by major time,” he said. “It’s creeping up. Big step up from last week. It’s getting close.”

“Close” is a word many golfers trot out when the results don’t quite match up with the internal assessments. It’s a word that Spieth has used at points this year, now nearly five months removed from his eight-shot rout in Maui.

But this week, on this course, in this neck of the woods, he just seems a little bit closer.

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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.”