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  1. Barbasol Championship, Round 4: Leaderboard, tee times, TV times
    The final round of the Barbasol Championship takes place on Sunday from Keene Trace. Here's how to follow all the action. Round 4 leaderboard Round 4 tee times HOW TO FOLLOW TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 5-8 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 4-6 p.m. (GC). Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (GC). PGA TOUR LIVE: None. RADIO: None. NOTABLE TEE TIMES (ALL TIMES LOCAL) Harris English, Richie Werenski: 9:30 a.m. Cameron Davis, David Toms: 9:50 a.m. Austin Cook, Bill Haas: 12:30 p.m. Jim Herman, Kelly Kraft: 12:40 p.m. MUST READS Sunday shootout on tap Straka shoots 63, still gets needled by twin brother Herman shoots 62, maintains lead after 54 holes Merrick's incredible ace Herman takes 36-hole lead Toms has 'prime opportunity' this weekend Poston ties course record in Round 1 Roach shoots opening-round 64, seeing hard work start to pay off Hickok off to solid start in quest to maintain PGA TOUR status Expert Picks Power Rankings
  2. Sunday shootout on tap at Barbasol Championship
    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. – Those gigantic electronic leaderboards that dot the landscape on the Champions Course at Keene Trace Golf Club this week can’t be missed. And every time Kelly Kraft looked at one Saturday after making yet another birdie in his course-record round of 61, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Surely, he was in the lead now, Kraft figured. But no, Jim Herman, the overnight leader, was more than keeping pace, eventually tossing out a 62 that left him one stroke ahead of Kraft – and set the stage for what is sure to be a shootout on Sunday. “This thing is far from over,” Kraft said on a day when it seemed like everyone was going low in the third round.  “I mean, I felt like I was making birdies and eagles on the back nine, and I look up and I'm still trailing Jim Herman. “So, it seems like a lot of other people are doing it too, so we're just going to have to keep our foot down tomorrow and get after it.” Herman is 24 under through 54 holes – one stroke better than Troy Merritt shot over four rounds a year ago when he won the first Barbasol Championship played at Keene Trace. Herman’s score is the lowest 54-hole tally of the season. Unlike Kraft, Bill Haas didn’t need to look at any leaderboards. The six-time PGA TOUR champ was playing in the final group with Herman, who made a pair of eagles and six birdies without dropping a single shot to par. “I saw it firsthand, 10 under right next to me, and could have been better,” said Haas, who didn’t exactly scruff it around, shooting a 65 of his own to tie for third at 20 under with Austin Cook, who had fired a 63 earlier in the day. “He just drove it beautifully and seemed to have a look on every hole. And when he had a nice look at eagle, he made those.” Even Herman, who hit all but two fairways and all but two greens in regulation, was a bit taken aback by the fireworks. His own, as well as everyone else’s. The 62 is his best round since he opened the 2017 Valspar Championship with the same score and went on to tie for third. “The scores I had been shooting lately, no, I didn't expect it,” said Herman, who, counting this week, has only made the cut in four of the 20 events he’s played this season. “So, just very pleased.  Obviously, just going to get some rest and try to replicate one of these other ‑‑ one of these scores I have had so far tomorrow.  But you're going to have to go low.  You can't protect anything.  So maybe that's a good thing, you don't have to protect anything.” Herman, who won the 2016 Shell Houston Open, acknowledges that he might not even own the lead when he tees off with Kraft at 12:40 p.m. on Sunday. “So, you just know you're going to have to make some birdies and stay ahead of everybody else,” said Herman, who ranks first in Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Total this week. Kraft, who said he felt like he was making putts on every hole in the frenetic third round, agrees. With wedges into a lot of greens and irons into par 5s, being aggressive again on Sunday will be key. “The fairways got a little more firm today, so we were hitting a little bit farther,” Kraft said. “The greens are softer in the beginning of the round.  They had a little bounce to them towards the end of the day, and they're rolling good.  The par 5s are all reachable. “Any time you have that combo on the PGA TOUR, guys are just going to light it up. It's just that simple.” Haas, who won the FedExCup in 2014, has only made one bogey through 54 holes this week, with that coming on his 12th hole in the first round. He closed out Saturday’s 65 with a clutch 23-footer for a par after putting his drive at the 18th hole into the lake. “(It was) a par that felt like a birdie the way Jim was going and the way Kelly in front of us was going,” Haas said. “Austin Cook I saw shot a low number. So, I just knew -- any bogey was going to feel like a double.” A week ago, Haas started the final round of the John Deere Classic trailing by one and ended up tied for 10th. On Sunday, he gets another chance to win for the first time since the 2015 Humana Challenge presented by the Clinton Foundation. “All you can ask for,” Haas said. “… Again, if he shoots 10 under again, I hope he wins by eight. That's what he deserves. “But I hope I can do the same thing tomorrow, and at least put some pressure on him. And we'll see what happens.”
  3. Straka shoots 63 at Barbasol Championship, still gets needled by twin brother
    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. -- Sepp Straka and his twin brother Sam virtually came out of the womb competing against each other. Ask him, and Sam will be quick to point out that he’s the elder of the two – by all of two minutes. “He’s proud of that, too,” Sepp said, chuckling. And so, it was on Saturday, after Sepp tied his career low on the PGA TOUR with a 63 that included nine birdies and propelled him into a tie for fifth entering the final round of the Barbasol Championship, that his fraternal twin had to put him in his place. Sepp had barely finished signing his scorecard and the requisite interviews when Sam called to tell him that he’d nipped him by a shot – shooting a 10-under 62 at Kinderlou Forest back home in Valdosta, Georgia that day. “He told me, you played great today, but I beat you by one,” Sepp said with a laugh. “… I was like, you’re going to ruin a good day like that for me.” Sepp and Sam pushed each other in every sport, growing in Vienna, Austria and later in Valdosta. First, it was soccer, where Sam played striker and Sepp was the goalie. When they were 11, though, after a week-long junior golf camp, their focus changed. “He just kind of decided that we're going to play more golf from that point on,” Sepp recalled. “And then I figured that was the way to go.” That the brothers would find their way to golf wasn’t really a big surprise. Their mother Mary had gone to Austria with her then-boyfriend, a golf course designer. The romance didn’t work out, but she stayed and was working in a golf shop when she met Peter Straka, the man she would go on to marry. “Sold him a golf glove in the pro shop and it went from there,” Sepp said matter-of-factly. When the boys were 14, they moved with their mom to Valdosta to be closer to Mary’s family. Peter, who is an architect, splits time between Georgia and his native Austria. Sepp, who holds dual citizenship and played on the Austrian national junior golf team, tries to get back at least once a year. While Sepp loves Vienna and misses the food – schnitzel’s his go-to meal – he spent summers when he was a kid in southern Georgia, just outside Moultrie. So, going from Vienna, a cosmopolitan city of 1.8 million, to Valdosta, where the population is just under 60,000, wasn’t as much culture shock as it could have been. Plus, he has no accent – his mother spoke English to the boys and German to her husband. The brothers both played collegiately at Georgia, with Sepp red-shirting one season. They roomed together and when Sam left, he originally went into real estate. But he’s since turned pro and is now preparing for qualifying school for the Korn Ferry Tour, where Sepp cut his competitive teeth. “We talk about golf a good bit,” Sepp said. “But he doesn't need a whole lot of advice from me. He kind of knows what my thoughts are on things. If anything, he gets me, he gives me advice. We talk about about all my rounds, all that. “It's good now that we can talk about his game, too. So yeah, it's been nice.” Sepp has some work to do of his own. The 26-year-old came to Kentucky ranked 138th in the FedExCup. Another low round on Sunday in the birdie-fest at the Champion Course at Keene Trace could go a long way toward moving him into the all-important and FedExCup Playoffs-bound top 125 with two weeks remaining in the regular season. “Can't really think about that,” Sepp said. “It's too much going on to really even figure out where you would be if you did what.  So, the key is really just to keep the pedal down and keep making birdies.” Sam would surely tell his little brother the same.
  4. Jim Herman shoots 62, leads by one at Barbasol Championship
    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. -- Helped by President Donald Trump's putting advice, Jim Herman had two eagles in a 10-under 62 to maintain a one-stroke lead Saturday in the PGA TOUR's Barbasol Championship. Trump's regular golf partner while working as an assistant professional at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey, Herman changed to a conventional putting grip and clubhead at the president's suggestion following a recent round. "He gave me a good talking to and told me to use a different style if it's not working," Herman said Friday after shooting his second straight 65 to top the leaderboard. "Some great advice, so I appreciate it." On Saturday, Herman made an 11-foot eagle putt on the par-5 eighth and a 10-footer on the par-5 15th. He also had six birdies to get to 24-under 192 at rain-softened Keene Trace. Encouraged by Trump to pursue a playing career, the 41-year-old Herman won the 2016 Shell Houston Open for his lone TOUR title -- a victory that followed a friendly round with Trump. Kelly Kraft was second after a 61. He also eagled the 15th, holing a 65-footer. Austin Cook (63) and Bill Haas (65) were four strokes back at 20 under. David Toms, two shots back after a second-round 64, had a 73 to drop into a tie for 32nd at 11 under. The 52-year-old Toms is making his third PGA TOUR start of the season. The winner will receive a spot in the PGA Championship.
  5. Stanley says 'fore' story a non-issue
    PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Kyle Stanley said Saturday that criticism from one of his playing partners for failing to yell “fore” on an errant shot is a “non-issue.” Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, one of Stanley’s playing partners for the first two rounds at The Open Championship, confronted Stanley on Friday after Stanley did not issue the warning after his tee shot at the 17th hole. MacIntryre said the ball hit his caddie’s mom, although no medical attention was required. Related: Leaderboard | Lowry sets 54-hole record, leads The Open by four | Ominous weather moves up final-round tee times  Stanley discussed the situation following his third round Saturday and was perplexed about MacIntyre’s reaction. He said plenty of people yelled “fore” after the tee shot was launched. “I’m not really sure why he decided to make such an issue about it,” said Stanley, who shot a 2-over 73 to finish at 2 over through 54 holes. “I know it hit his caddie’s mom’s hands off the bounce, and that’s unfortunate. “But as far I’m concerned, a number of people yelled ‘fore.’ He made the argument that since I hit the ball, that it maybe should have come out of my mouth first. I guess I can see that. “But it’s unfortunate it ended up the way it did. It certainly wasn’t my intention to put anyone in harm’s way. I had my wife in the gallery. My coaches. So I’m surprised it’s kind of come to this point.” The 31-year-old Stanley, a two-time PGA TOUR winner, said he usually yells “fore” when he hits a shot off-line. “This was a unique situation,” he added. “You have marshals on the tee signaling where the ball is going. You have guys down there in the landing area. Everyone knew the ball was going right. “Like I said, it’s a bad deal. One hopped into his caddie’s mom. But everyone knew the ball was going over there. … Five or six people on the tee yelled ‘fore’ --- my caddie did, my two playing partners, a couple of the marshals. I thought that was enough.” The 22-year-old MacIntyre spoke to Stanley afterwards. “It wasn't too pleasant,” MacIntyre said. “But you've got to tell them.” Stanley said the conversation was not heated. “We talked about it briefly,” he said. “I was surprised. I was caught off-guard that it even came up, really. I just explained to him my side of it. “I saw what he said last night (to the media). The way things were kind of painted from his perspective … When you tell your story, you’ve got to make sure you have all the details. From what I read last night, he didn’t do that. He’s a young player. I’ve been out here for a while. So I don’t feel the need to be schooled on the rules of golf or what to do when you hit a shot off-line. “So that’s kind of my perspective on it. I don’t know, maybe a good learning experience for all.”
  6. Lowry thrills Irish fans, but tall task remains
    PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – After sending Shane Lowry off the 18th green with a standing ovation, the fans jammed against a white fence to watch him fulfill the customary duties of a 54-hole leader. His countrymen stood 20 deep, craning for a view of their hero. Others climbed atop a small hill to catch a glimpse as he did his post-round interviews. An Irish flag was hung from the temporary barrier that stood between them and the man who’d just set the course record at the renovated Royal Portrush that is hosting this week’s Open Championship. The crowd cheered and chanted, heartily singing, “Ole! Ole! Ole!” and “If you love Shane Lowry, clap your hands.” They were celebrating as if Lowry already had the Claret Jug in his hands. He thrilled them with a back-nine 30, including birdies on Nos. 15-17, but The Open is still far from being decided. Related: Leaderboard | Ominous weather moves up final-round tee times | Koepka looms, but has to make putts Lowry will start Sunday with a four-shot lead over England’s Tommy Fleetwood and six-shot advantage over the next player on the leaderboard, J.B. Holmes. Lowry’s 16-under 197 is the lowest 54-hole score in The Open’s history. He leads the field in greens hit, missing just nine in three rounds. His play has been impressive, but he knows first-hand what can happen in the final round. Lowry has led a major on one other occasion, losing a four-shot lead in the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont. He is playing on home soil this time. The reception Lowry received around the grounds of Royal Portrush showed the unifying power of sport. There has been a lot of talk this week about Ireland’s sectarian divide and this Open’s greater significance, but none of that mattered Saturday. Lowry and his Northern Irish caddie represent the last local hope for the fans, and they did their best to carry him across the line. A day earlier, those same fans tried to cheer Rory McIlroy to the correct side of the cut line. They had to watch as Darren Clarke tripled the last hole to miss the cut. Portrush member Graeme McDowell is still around but out of contention. The crowd’s full force will be behind Lowry. “It’s going to be nuts,” his caddie, Bo Martin, said. Such energy and enthusiasm can either be a help or a hindrance. “Walking from the green to the next tee, the people are literally a yard away from you roaring in your face as loud as they can,” Lowry said. “If you have to get up and hit a drive down a tight fairway, it's fairly difficult. I thought I dealt with it very well today and hopefully I do the same tomorrow.” He’ll have enough on his hands. Sunday’s forecast calls for high winds and rain. The forecast is ominous enough for tee times to be moved earlier. From underneath his umbrella, Lowry will have a view of this era’s dominant force in the majors. Brooks Koepka will play alongside Holmes in the second-to-last group. Koepka and Rose, the reigning FedExCup champion, are tied for fourth, seven shots off the lead. “There's a good leaderboard behind me,” Lowry said. “We'll see what happens.” Lowry shot 76 in that final round at Oakmont, finishing three shots behind Dustin Johnson. Lowry says he gave up too quickly when things went south. He bogeyed four of the first 10 holes, but a birdie at 12 put him at 4-under-par, the eventual winning score. Three consecutive bogeys after that resigned him to second place. Lowry knew before he left the 18th green Saturday that he’d face questions about the biggest disappointment of his career. He’s a different man than he was 3 years ago, though. Golf is less important because he knows his wife, Wendy, and 2-year-old daughter, Iris, will be waiting for him behind the 18th green, regardless of the result. “I learned a lot about myself at Oakmont,” Lowry said. “I'm going to learn a lot about myself tomorrow. Tomorrow is a huge day in my career. But it probably doesn't mean as much to me as it did then, which is going to make it a little bit easier. “I think I learned a few things that day about playing in the final round of a major with a lead, that you need to just hang in until the very last minute. You never know what can happen. And I'm going to do the same tomorrow.” A win earlier this year in Abu Dhabi – his first since he won his lone PGA TOUR title, at the 2015 World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational – also will help him Sunday. He started the day with a three-shot advantage, but trailed by as many as four shots during the final round. His one-shot victory showed him a mettle that he didn’t know he possessed. “The one thing I got from Oakmont is I laid down and I didn't show any fight or bottle there. I did that today,” he said after the victory. Lowry, the son of a famous Gaelic footballer, has won in front of the home fans before. He was still an amateur when he won the 2009 Irish Open. Now he’ll try to take the same carefree attitude he had back then into the final round of the game’s oldest championship. “Obviously there's big consequences tomorrow, but you need to play like there's no consequence,” he said. “Like, what's the worst thing that can happen?”
  7. Brooks Koepka looms at The Open, be he needs to make putts
    PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – From Brooks Koepka’s perspective, nobody in the field through three rounds of The Open Championship has been better tee-to-green. “I’ve hit it as good as I could possibly imagine,” he said. But … “I’ve putted the worst in the entire field. … It’s been really bad. Very frustrating. Disappointed.” And yet, there he is, still looming near the top of the leaderboard. Koepka’s 4-under 67 on Saturday at Royal Portrush leaves him at 9 under for the tournament and in a tie for fourth with Justin Rose. The bad news is that he’ll start Sunday’s final round seven shots off the lead held by Irishman Shane Lowry. For the player who’s gone 1-T2-1-2 in his last four major starts, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility for Koepka to make his presence felt at Royal Portrush. Yes, he’s well back of Lowry, who has a four-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood. The tournament is in Lowry’s hands, not Koepka’s, going into the final round. RELATED: Tee times | Tough weather conditions in store | McDowell: Rory 'won himself a lot of fans' | Schauffele's driver non-conforming But if Lowry stumbles – which he did three years ago after holding a four-shot lead through three rounds of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont – then Koepka has just two players to hurdle: Fleetwood, who’s 12 under, and J.B. Holmes at 10 under. “It’s just not the week I’ve been looking for, not the week that I’ve expected,” Koepka said. “But at the same time, there’s one more round, so I need to figure it out.” Bad weather will help. Strong winds and potential rain are in the forecast, and that’s potentially good news for the chase pack. In perfect conditions Saturday, Lowry shot an 8-under 63, tying for the second-lowest score in major championship history. Another perfect day would make things easier for him. “You need some wind, you need some rain,” Koepka said. “You need anything that can kind of go your way. And that’s got to be an advantage – especially the way I’m striking the ball. I’ve struck it so good. If it’s going to be windy, you need to be able to strike it good, control your flight and figure out where you want the ball to end up. If it’s going to blow 30 (mph), it can get out of control very quickly.” Rose, in the same boat as Koepka, knows it’s just a matter of picking off the guys ahead of him and taking advantage if Lowry has a bad day. “Whenever some guy’s stretch the lead, I’ve always said, where’s second place? …” Rose said. “You never know what the leader is going to do. You’ve always got to look at where the chasing pack is and stay relevant to that.” That chasing pack is led by fellow Englishman Fleetwood thanks to his bogey-free 66 on Saturday. Fleetwood’s putter has been more effective than Koepka’s this week. He’ll also have the benefit of keeping Lowry in his sights, as the two are paired in the final group. Of course, that means he’ll also have to deal with all the support that Lowry will receive Sunday. It was a crazy scene on Saturday as Lowry rode the emotional Irish backing in the final group with Holmes. No reason to think it will be different in the final round. “I’m very happy to have that challenge,” Fleetwood said. “If you had said at the start of today, at the start of the week, at the start of the year, you’re going into the last round – whether I’m four back, five back, it doesn’t matter -- I’m in the last group Sunday at The Open and playing with Shane, and the majority of the crowd might not be with you, I would’ve said fine, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’ “I’m looking forward to it, to be honest with you.” Holmes had the front-row view on Saturday and called it “awesome” to see, a “cool experience.” Added Holmes: "I don't know how many times in history you get the opportunity to witness that or be around that, to have somebody from the home country put a round up like that in an Open. It's pretty special. Something I'll never forget." But in shooting a 69 and losing six shots to Lowry, Holmes now must hope he can at least switch the scores Sunday. No lead, he figures – or at least hopes -- is insurmountable in a major. “It's tough no matter whether you have a one-shot lead or a five-shot lead,” Holmes said. “It's tough to finish off a major. It's a tough test. So we'll see.”
  8. The Open Championship, Round 4: Leaderboard, tee times, TV times
    The final round of The Open Championship takes place on Sunday from Royal Portrush. Here's how to follow all the action. Round 4 leaderboard Round 4 tee times HOW TO FOLLOW TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 4:30-7 a.m. (GC); 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 2:30-6 a.m. (GC); 6 a.m.-2 p.m. (NBC). PGA TOUR LIVE: None. NOTABLE TEE TIMES (ALL TIMES LOCAL) Patrick Cantlay, Sergio Garcia: 10:42 a.m. Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas: 12:07 p.m. Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth: 12:57 p.m. Tony Finau, Jon Rahm: 1:07 p.m. Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose: 1:27 p.m. Brooks Koepka, J.B. Holmes: 1:37 p.m. Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry: 1:47 p.m. MUST READS Lowry breaks 54-hole scoring record, leads by four shots Koepka looms, but needs to make putts Tough weather conditions in store for Sunday, tee times moved up Stanley says 'fore' story a non-issue McDowell: Rory 'won himself a lot of fans' Schauffele's driver ruled non-conforming McIlroy's charge falls short, misses cut by one shot Lowry, Holmes tied for lead, seeking first major victory Koepka, Spieth bringing their best to another major Westwood leads strong British contingent Tiger misses cut, cites lack of consistency Nervous day for six Irish golfers Duval makes a 14, shoots 91 in Round 1 Frittelli stays hot after John Deere win Royal Portrush shines in opening round Rory's 61 at age 16 at Royal Portrush Five things about Royal Portrush Writers roundtable: Predictions
  9. Shane Lowry takes 54-hole lead at The Open Championship
    PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- The cheers grew louder and Shane Lowry kept getting better Saturday in The Open Championship. He made two straight birdies around the turn at Royal Portrush to break out of a four-way tie for the lead. The Irishman made three straight birdies toward the end of the third round, each shot better than the previous one. He walked off the Dunluce Links with an 8-under 63, the 54-hole record at The Open and a four-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood. The first Open in Northern Ireland since 1951 no longer has favorite son Rory McIlroy. Lowry -- teammates with McIlroy for Irish golf when they won the European Amateur Championship in 2007 -- filled the void just fine. He didn't mind the lack of attention showered on the trio of Ulstermen -- McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke -- at the start of the week as Northern Ireland celebrated the return of golf's oldest championship. "They guys are from here. I grew up four hours away," Lowry said. "I felt like I could come here and come under the radar. I'm not quite under the radar anymore. I didn't feel like a forgotten Irishman. But hopefully, I'm the one they're talking about tomorrow evening." He was at 13-under 197, breaking by one the 54-hole record held by Tom Lehman at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1996. RELATED: Tee times | Tough weather conditions in store | McDowell: Rory 'won himself a lot of fans' | Schauffele's driver non-conforming Low scoring was helped by a day that ended in relative calm, perhaps ahead of the storm. The forecast for Sunday is so nasty that the R&A moved up the tee times by one hour in a bid to avoid the worst of heavy rain and gusts expected to top 35 mph. There's also the chance of an internal storm brewing in Lowry. This is the second time he has had a four-shot lead going into the final round of the major. The other time was in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Lowry closed with a 76 as Dustin Johnson rallied for his only major. The pressure figures to be even greater this time around as he goes for a silver claret jug on the Emerald Isle. Fleetwood did his part with a bogey-free 66, and he lost ground. He at least got into the final group as he goes for his first major. "You have to look at it realistically," he said. "I had a great day today. I had one of the best rounds of the day and I was bogey-free. Shane just played great and I'm four back. But that's it. I'm just happy with how I played." J.B. Holmes, who started the third round tied with Lowry atop the leaderboard, tried to stay with him until he dropped two straight shots in the middle of the back nine. A birdie on the 18th gave him a 69, leaving him six back. Still on the fringe of contention was a familiar face in the majors -- Brooks Koepka. He couldn't get enough putts to fall for the third straight day and still managed a 67, leaving him seven shots back. "I've hit it as good as I could possibly imagine. I putted the worst in the entire field," Koepka said. "It's been really bad. Very frustrating. Disappointed. But thankfully, it's going to blow tomorrow to have any sort of chance. I need to figure out the putter." Justin Rose had a 68 and joined Koepka at 9-under 204, figuring that just enough to at least stay in the conversation. Behind him, Lowry kept widening the gap. The pin was back right on the par-3 16th known as "Calamity Corner" because it drops off some 50 feet right of the green. He sent that tee shot onto the green and right at the flag until it settled about 10 feet away. From the light rough to the left of the fairway on the 17th, he hit a perfect chip-and-run to 3 feet for his final birdie. Holmes drove down the hill short of the green, close enough to use putter. He ran it about 8 feet by, and when it caught the lip and spun away, Holmes dropped the putter in disbelief. Some of that surely was the frustration of seeing Lowry getting farther and farther away from him. Lowry can't think of a better day he's ever had on the golf course. His 63 was one short of the major championship record that Branden Grace set at Royal Birkdale in 2017. The support was more than he could have imagined. "Every time I had a putt today, I wanted to hole it so I could hear that roar," Lowry said. Now he has 18 holes left to make it through tough weather and Sunday pressure with the hopes of an island following him along.
  10. G-Mac: Rory 'won himself a lot of fans'
    PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Rory McIlroy’s frantic determination to make the cut Friday at The Open Championship, followed by his disappointment that left him fighting back tears after falling one shot short, left a huge impression on his good friend Graeme McDowell. “I think Rory probably won himself a lot of fans last night,” McDowell said Saturday after his 3-under 68. “… It’s great in sports when we see emotions because sometimes these guys look like robots out here. We’re not robots. We hurt, and we hurt a lot sometimes. “It’s a tough sport.” The first Open Championship in Northern Ireland in 68 years has been an especially emotional one for the three golfers born here – McIlroy (from Holywood); McDowell (a native of Portrush); and Darren Clarke (a Portrush resident). While they’ve enjoyed being the homegrown favorites, they’ve also felt the weight of giving their fans a good showing. Clarke was emotional as he hit the opening tee shot of the tournament Thursday morning, and was crushed when a triple-bogey at the 18th hole Friday moved him outside the cut line. The normally loquacious Clarke wasn’t able to discuss it with the media after his round When McDowell teed off Thursday, he also acknowledged shedding a tear. His home club, Rathmore, sits just outside the main gate, and McDowell used to sneak on to Royal Portrush as a kid. Three others from the Republic of Ireland – Padraig Harrington, amateur James Sugrue and 36-hole co-leader Shane Lowry – also understood the enormity of this week. Lowry said his legs were shaking on the first tee Thursday, and as the primary Irish contender now, he’ll have more support than anybody else this weekend. “There's no point trying to shy away from it,” he said. “It's an incredible feeling.” As for McIlroy, the four-time major winner and a big favorite this week, he tried to keep his emotions in check, but it was apparent he felt like he had let down his fans after an opening 8-over 79. Friday’s heroic effort put a buzz in the air that might be difficult to match the rest of the week, his 6-under 65 matching the low round of the championship and leaving him at 2 over. Alas, that was a stroke too much. RELATED: Tee times | McIlroy's charge falls short | Nervous day for six Irish golfers | Rory's 61 at age 16 at Royal Portrush  Walking down the 18th fairway Friday, knowing he would come up a stroke short but receiving a standing ovation fitting of a Sunday champion, McIlroy finally felt the enormity of the week. “I came here at the start of the week saying I wanted to do it for me,” McIlroy said afterwards. “By the end of the round there today, I was doing it just as much for them as I was for me. “I definitely feel over the last week has been .. an eye-opener for me,” McIlroy said. “Sometimes you're so far away and you forget about all the people that are cheering you on back home. And then you come and play in front of them, it definitely hit me like a ton of bricks today.” McDowell said watching McIlroy on Friday gave him a perspective he might not have felt the previous day. “To watch him break down a little bit kind of … legitimized my tears in my eyes Thursday morning,” McDowell said. “I was on the first tee Thursday wondering what the hell was wrong with me. But when I saw Rory last night, I understand it means a huge amount to us all. … “To show that raw emotion, to see how much it means to him, to see how much it means to all of us being out here and to bring this great tournament to Portrush, and for him obviously to not play the way he wants to play, the way he battled coming down the stretch says a lot about him as a person.” McIlroy’s emotions touched others as well. Justin Thomas offered this tweet late Friday night. Even though McDowell and Clarke have longer and more direct ties to Portrush, McDowell acknowledged that it was McIlroy who shouldered the biggest expectations. After all, as a 16-year-old, McIlroy set the course record at Portrush with a 61 (prior to renovations leading to the current layout). “This was always going to be a difficult week for (McIlroy) because he was the Irish shining light coming in here,” McDowell said. “It’s all right for me and Darren and Padraig and guys like that saying it’s great. Rory was the guy with the spotlight on him this week. He was handling all the pressure. He’s done a phenomenal job. Rory is a rock star. “He was coming in with the pressure of a nation on his shoulders and he was always going to feel a lot more than we did. So it obviously meant a huge amount to him … He was the guy with all the pressure on him this week. It’s a lot to handle.” In addition to an entire country leaning on him, McIlroy was also hoping to end his drought in majors, one that’s now reached five years since the last of his four wins. “He won’t finish on four,” McDowell said. “He’ll win more. I have no doubt in my mind. “Five years is a huge gap for a man of his capabilities, no doubt about it. But people grow up at different rates. There’s so much happens in a man’s life. He’s met his wife, got married. Life gets in the way sometimes. “I feel like he’s gone through that transition in his life and he’s spent this year trying to really get himself settled … I feel like mentally he’s settling back down and getting back into a rhythm again.” McDowell said double-digits in majors is well within McIlroy’s grasp. At age 30, McIlroy certainly has plenty of time to achieve that. “He’ll get fairly criticized this week for not playing well,” McDowell said. “But he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders this week. It’s difficult to come home and try and do what he tried to do this week with all that pressure and all that spotlight.”
  11. Tough weather forecast for final round at Royal Portrush, tee times moved up
    PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – The winner of the claret jug may have to endure the toughest weather The Open can offer. There’s a chance that wind gusts could reach 35 mph Sunday afternoon. Even if the worst wind doesn’t come, it’s still expected to blow about 20 mph throughout the day. Rain is also forecast for the final round. RELATED: Tee times | McIlroy's charge falls short, misses cut | Lowry, Holmes tied for lead | Westwood leads strong British contingent The ominous forecast has caused the R&A to move up final-round tee times. The final group will tee off at 1:47 p.m. local time. "I know it's going to rain," said 54-hole leader Shane Lowry. "I know it's going to be difficult at times and I have just have to try and shoot the best score I can." This Open has seen spells of wind and rain but it mostly has been played under relatively docile conditions, at least by Open standards. Many of Royal Portrush’s greens are elevated, as well, requiring aerial approaches. That will put players at the mercy of the wind. “This golf course doesn't really give you the option of running golf balls up on a lot of greens unless you hit a really low and really hot one,” said Rickie Fowler, who’s 8 under. “It benefits it if you can control it through the air. But you start talking with moisture and water on the face and on the golf ball you start losing control there because you can't spin it as much. “It should be interesting. That's where it kind of gets fun.”
  12. Win probabilities: The Open Championship
    2019 The Open Championship, End of Round 3. Top 15 win probabilities: Shane Lowry (1, -16, 74.3%) Tommy Fleetwood (2, -12, 14.6%) Brooks Koepka (T4, -9, 2.7%) Justin Rose (T4, -9, 2.6%) J.B. Holmes (3, -10, 1.9%) Rickie Fowler (T6, -8, 1.0%) Jon Rahm (T8, -7, .6%) Lee Westwood (T6, -8, .6%) Tony Finau (T8, -7, .3%) Danny Willet (T8, -7, .3%) Jordan Spieth (T8, -7, .3%) Matt Kuchar (T12, -6, .2%) Henrik Stenson (T12, -6, .1%) Andrew Putnam (T12, -6, .1%) Dylan Frittelli (T12, -6, .1%) NOTE: These reports are based off the live predictive model run by @DataGolf. The model provides live “Make Cut”, “Top 20”, “Top 5”, and “Win” probabilities every 5 minutes from the opening tee shot to the final putt of every PGA TOUR event. Briefly, the model takes account of the current form of each golfer as well as the difficulty of their remaining holes, and probabilities are calculated from 20K simulations. To follow live finish probabilities throughout the remainder of The Open Championship, or to see how each golfer’s probabilities have evolved from the start of the event to the current time, click here for the model’s home page.
  13. Schauffele in contention after driver ruled non-conforming
    Xander Schauffele, in contention this weekend at The Open Championship, said it was “a little bit unfair” after his driver was ruled nonconforming during random testing by the R&A going into this week’s tournament at Royal Portrush. After finding a new driver, Schauffele was 3 under through 36 holes, then moved inside the top 10 of the leaderboard midway through Saturday’s third round. Schauffele was found to have an illegal driver during random testing. The event’s governing body selected 30 drivers from the field of participants to test for conformity, and Schauffele’s driver did not pass. After finding out that his driver was deemed non-conforming, Schauffele scrambled to find a new driver, and he expressed his displeasure with the testing process. “I had a little bit of a run-in with [the R&A] because they only test 30 players,” Schauffele said. “I thought it was a little bit unfair. I would gladly give up my driver if it's not conforming. But there's still 130 other players in the field that potentially have a nonconforming driver, as well.” The USGA and the R&A have rules in place to limit the CT (characteristic of time) of a driver face, and last year, the R&A began testing the drivers of Open Championship participants during the week of the event. Of the 30 players tested in 2018, no drivers were found non-conforming. In 2019, however, Schauffele’s driver was found to be illegal; Schauffele said his Callaway driver “barely missed” being under the limit. Schauffele said he confronted the R&A about its testing process. “Had a word with them and hopefully they take my comments seriously and my concern just because it wasn’t my plan to show up Monday morning of a major … sorry, it was Tuesday event where I was doing driver testing here. It’s not really what players want to be doing,” he said. Schauffele then offered a solution in his press conference: “Just test the whole field. It’s plain and simple.”  “We offer the testing as a service to players so that they can ensure that their drivers conform,” the R&A said, according to the Golf Channel. “We believe that 30 is a reasonable sample and a practical option for conducting this process in the week of a major championship.” With an Open Championship to play, and a driver that was ruled nonconforming, Schauffele tested different driver heads on Wednesday to find one that he was comfortable with to use in competition. After his opening-round 3-over 74, Schauffele said his driver wasn’t matching, but he got it figured out before his second-round 6-under 65 that tied for the lowest round of the week. “(Thursday), it wasn't really matching my bag, which was a bummer,” Schauffele said. “I was getting a little upset on the golf course. I was testing a little bit on the range again (on Friday) with two different heads but moved a few weights around and sort of found a good setting.” After his second round, Schauffele explained his thoughts moving forward: “I have a legal driver now and I sort of put that one to rest, and happy to see that ball performing like it did today or the driver performing like it did today, so that was very comforting. Like I said, it will get better every day. We’ve still got two more.”
  14. Barbasol Championship, Round 3: Leaderboard, tee times, TV times
    The third round of the Barbasol Championship takes place on Saturday from Keene Trace. Here's how to follow all the action. Round 3 leaderboard Round 3 tee times HOW TO FOLLOW TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 5-8 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 4-6 p.m. (GC). Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (GC). PGA TOUR LIVE: None. RADIO: None. FEATURED GROUPS (ALL TIMES LOCAL) Peter Uihlein, Jhonattan Vegas: 9:35 a.m. Anders Albertson, Jason Dufner: 10:35 a.m. David Toms, Kramer Hickok: 1:25 p.m. D.J. Trahan, Kelly Kraft: 1:35 p.m. Jim Herman, Bill Haas: 1:45 p.m. MUST READS Merrick's incredible ace Herman takes 36-hole lead Toms has 'prime opportunity' this weekend Poston ties course record in Round 1 Roach shoots opening-round 64, seeing hard work start to pay off Hickok off to solid start in quest to maintain PGA TOUR status Expert Picks Power Rankings
  15. Jim Herman takes lead at Barbasol Championship
    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. -- Jim Herman shot his second straight 7-under 65 on Friday to take the second-round lead in the PGA TOUR's Barbasol Championship. Herman had a one-stroke lead over Bill Haas at rain-softened Keene Trace. He won the 2016 Shell Houston Open for his lone TOUR title. Haas followed his opening 65 with a 66. He made a 45-foot eagle putt on the par-5 eighth, his 17th hole. David Toms was two strokes back at 12 under after a 64. The 52-year-old Toms made a 13-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fifth, his 14th hole of the day. D.J. Trahan, Kelly Kraft and Kramer Hickok also were 12 under, each shooting 67. Jose de Jesus Rodriguez (65), Austin Cook (66), Sebastian Munoz (68) and Wes Roach (69) were 11 under. Tom Lovelady played the first six holes on the back nine in 7 under, capped by a 10-foot eagle putt on the par-5 15th. He bogeyed the par-3 16th and parred the last two for a 65 to top the group at 10 under. J.T. Poston, the first-round leader after a 62, had a 73 to drop into a tie for 18th at 9 under. Canadian Nick Taylor, a stroke behind Poston after an opening 63, also was 9 under after a 72. John Daly missed the cut with rounds of 71 and 72. Fighting osteoarthritis in his right knee, the 53-year-old Daly was playing his first PGA TOUR event since he was approved for a cart last fall. Denied a cart by the R&A for the Open Championship, he has been approved for a cart at PGA TOUR events until the end of the year. The winner will receive a spot in the PGA Championship.

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