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GolfWRX Morning 9: Execs on the future of golf equipment | Best par 3 courses | Quirks of Tour pro speech

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

December 27, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. The Match returneth
Gianni Magliocco with the details…”The match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson was one of the most talked about events in the world of golf in 2018, and it appears that the alternative event is one that we will see more of in the future.”
  • “According to this report from Golf Digest, Woods and Mickelson signed a three-year deal, which locked in an annual event involving the two men until 2020.”
  • “Turner’s three-year deal is with both Woods’ and Mickelson’s business companies, so you can certainly expect both men to be involved in the following two events. However, as per the report, the next match-up is highly likely to be a team event, which will draw an extra two players to the contest, along with Woods and Mickelson.”
2. Former top Indian golfer arrested for poaching
Our Gianni Magliocco…”On Wednesday, former top Indian golfer, Jyoti Randhawa, was arrested on poaching charges by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.”
  • “Randhawa was arrested inside the forest of the Motipur range of Katarniaghat. The 46-year-old had killed a jungle fowl, and inside the Indian’s vehicle, the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department recovered the skin of an animal which Randhawa claimed was a wild boar. The skin, however, was that of a sambar deer.”
  • “Speaking concerning the arrest, Director of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Ramesh Pandey stated…”Our staff was on alert. We had this tip-off that a few people are roaming around in the area, and their moves appeared suspicious. Jyoti Singh Randhawa and Mahesh Virajdar have been arrested for poaching and unauthorised entry in a forest area.”
  • “A vehicle, weapon and other equipment have been seized with the skin of… (an) animal and a dead jungle fowl. They have been sent to jail and further legal action is being taken.”
3. Cheating scandal
While the implementation of the app is ostensibly the focus of the article, the cheating itself is pretty wild…
  • Joel Beall at Golf Digest…”Last spring the Michigan High School Athletic Association was rocked with a major cheating scandal when three schools-Anchor Bay, L’Anse Creuse and Fraser-were accused of shaving strokes in the state tournament. The schools, playing together in multiple groups, each shot a score more than 45 strokes lower than their teams’ season averages. For Anchor Bay, their total of 284 became the new all-time record for state regionals.”
  • “Though the two schools that would have advanced in the places of Anchor Bay and L’Anse Creuse filed a petition, the state association said it did not have enough proof to void the controversial scores. This problem became amplified during the state championship when Anchor Bay shot 738 (385-353) and L’Anse Creuse posted 777 (401-376) to finish in the bottom two spots.”
  • “Hoping to correct the issue going forward, the MHSAA will turn to an app to track scores in-round to curbing cheating in 2019.”
3. The quirks of Tour speech
A singular bit of writing from Shane Ryan, who poured over transcripts for a piece on the individual peculiarities of Tour pro speech.
A bit of what he found.
  • “Brooks Koepka: “I mean…” The three-time major winner has an enormous chip on his shoulder about the way he’s covered in the media, but maybe the real reason is just that he needs a more spectacular verbal crutch. Looking at his PGA Championship presser alone, he uses the relatively mundane “I mean” a whopping 19 times. “
  • “Justin Rose: “Obviously… “ This is a very common one in the world of professional sports, particularly golf, and despite Rose’s relative polish compared to his peers, he is not immune. In his victory presser at the Turkish Airlines Open, he deployed “obviously” 10 times.”
  • “Dustin Johnson: “Definitely” and “I felt like… “ DJ employs almost every cliche in the book as he slogs his way through his pressers, but his two most prominent crutches are “definitely” (a close cousin of “obviously”) and “I felt like.”
4. Molinari to focus on PGA Tour
AP Report…”Francesco Molinari says he may not play in Europe until the 19th-ranked Italian defends his British Open title in July.”
  • “The lure of the US PGA Tour and changes made to the European Tour calendar will combine to leave the London-based golfer short of available dates to compete on his home circuit next year.”
  • “Molinari is even struggling to commit to the British Masters in May, despite receiving an invitation from tournament host, close friend and Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood.”
5. Execs on the 5-year future of equipment
David Dusek at Golfweek chatted with a number of executives about the future of golf equipment.
  • Here’s a bit from Bob Philion, president, Cobra/Puma Golf and Puma North America.
  • ‘Innovate or die’…”I like to say, ‘Innovate or die.’ To be successful we need to push the boundaries of what is possible, delivering products that challenge the status quo, are truly innovative and help golfers of all levels enjoy the game and look and feel their best while playing.
  • “Tying into innovation, technology and data are changing the way we play golf, particularly amongst the next generation of golfers. With access to Tour-level analytics, through offerings like Cobra Connect powered by Arccos, we’re introducing a new way to experience the game. The data every amateur golfer now has access to with Cobra Connect will change how they play, how they practice, how they work with coaches and ultimately how they purchase equipment. That desire for data will only continue to grow, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that initiative, providing the information necessary to fuel improvements in people’s games.
  • “I also see things expanding on the customization front, as the demand for custom, personally fitted products, continues to grow.”
6. Woods knows what he’s capable of in 2019
USAToday’s Steve DiMeglio filed a piece that is at once a look back at Tiger’s 2018 rise from the ashes and a look ahead at the possibilities of 2019.
  • A morsel…”While Woods knows Father Time is undefeated – he turns 43 on Dec. 30 – he’s been blessed with a second chance and will march on in 2019, confident he can win again. He has begun his offseason prep work, both in the weight room and on the golf course, and he could begin his year in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii the first week of January. If not, expect his first event to be the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, which he’s won a record seven times and captured his 14th and most recent major title, the 2008 U.S. Open.”
  • “Also expect to see him play his favorite stops – the Genesis Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship, the Memorial. And the sites of three of the four majors could prove fruitful again as Woods tries to hunt down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship titles. Augusta National is home to the Masters, which Woods has won four times, most recently in 2005; the PGA Championship is at Bethpage Black, where he won the 2002 U.S. Open; and the U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach, where he won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots.”
  • “His peers again expect a challenge on their hands no matter where Woods plays. Bryson DeChambeau, the only player to win four PGA Tour titles in 2018, expects more of Woods’ “greatness to come forth.” Reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed said Woods “isn’t done winning.” Rickie Fowler said the red shirt “means something again on Sundays.”
7. Best Par 3 courses in America
Josh Sens does the textual honors for Golf.com’s list of the best par 3 tracks in America.
Here are a few…
  • THE LINKS AT TERRANEA, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA...”A boomerang. A punchbowl. A “Portuguese Bend.” No, those aren’t items on a hipster cocktail menu. They’re distinctive green designs at Todd Eckenrode’s scenic nine-holer, a family-friendly venue in a scenic locale along the California coast.”
  • THE SANDBOX, Sand Valley Golf Resort, Nekoosa, WI...””Take what the land gives you.” Call it the unofficial motto of the Keiser family, the same bunch who brought you Bandon Dunes. What the land has given them at their burgeoning new resort in central Wisconsin is two 18-hole courses, a third in the making and this 17-hole (yes, 17) short course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Sandbox is the perfect name for it, given its dune-sy setting and its receptiveness to creative play.”
  • THREETOPS, Treetops Resort, Gaylord, MI…“In the olden days, before the rise of $9 million pay-per-view extravaganzas, golf’s silly season featured quaint entertainments like the ESPN Par-3 Shootout. That dinosaur of an event died in 2006, but the course endures and it’s a gem-a Rick Smith-designed stunner, etched through the piney hills of northern Michigan.”
  • THE CRADLE, Pinehurst Resort…“At Pinehurst’s birth, more than a century ago, the property was dubbed the Cradle of American of Golf. From that cradle grew an iconic resort that now boasts 10 courses, including, yes, The Cradle, a stellar Gil Hanse design with nine artful holes ranging in length from 56 to 127 yards.”
8. No Tiger at Kapalua
ESPN’s Bob Harig...”After considerable speculation that he might play the Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2005, sources said Woods has elected to forego the tournament he qualified for by winning the Tour Championship in September.”
“Woods could still change his mind and has until Friday at the close of business to enter the tournament played annually at the Kapalua Resort on Maui. He has made no public statement, nor is he required to; a commitment is essentially the process by which players are required to enter PGA Tour events.”
9. In memoriam
Fine work by Brittany Romano at GolfWorld compiling the list of individuals we lost in 2018.
  • “Individuals connected to the game of golf who died in 2018 made an impact on the sport in many different ways. From professional golfers to golf course architects to well-known personalities with affinities for golf, their contributions and legacies will not be forgotten.”
  • “The golf world mourned-along with the country-the death of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States and a fierce golf advocate. Golf also lost a former USGA president and beacon of morality in golf, Jim Hand.”
  • “The golf media will remember a few of its prominent voices who passed away in Keith Jackson, a staple in ABC Sports coverage; Marcia Chambers, whose writing worked to address race and gender discrimination issues in golf; and Dave Anderson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his sports writing.”
  • “The loss of a handful of prominent players, among them World Golf Hall of Famers Peter Thomson, Doug Ford and Carol Mann, brought back memories of triumphant moments in the sport. But it wasn’t just the victories we recalled, but the spirit of the individuals themselves, none more vividly than Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle. The 36-year-old’s long battle with cancer was felt across the golf community and particularly hard felt on the PGA Tour. Players and officials wore yellow ribbons to honor him and his courageous fight.”
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  1. Tom

    Dec 27, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    USGA equipment rules parameters have all but stopped manufacturers from introducing new conforming equipment with any discernible performance benefit…..all these companies have left to offer are smoke and mirror claims trying to get in your wallet. Be smart with your hard earned money, snake oil salesmen are trying to take it from you.

  2. marvin

    Dec 27, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Since I’ve topped out in my golfswing, I look forward to new clubs with high technology features that will improve my distances and dispersion. I don’t mind buying new clubs if they can help me with my game and score.

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Morning 9: Nothing runs like a Frittelli | Royal Portrush takes center stage

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

July 15, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1 Scottish Open: Wiesberger nabs second W of 2019
(Image above via Wiesberger on Instagram) EuropeanTour.com report…”Bernd Wiesberger…beat Benjamin Hebert in a twilight play-off at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.”
  • “The Austrian entered the final day at The Renaissance Club with a two shot lead but found himself trailing after Hebert carded a stunning closing 62 to set the target at 22 under.”
  • “Wiesberger had edged back ahead with two to play but bogeyed the 17th in a 69 before a par on the third play-off hole handed him a sixth European Tour title.”
2. Nothing runs like a Frittelli 
AP report…”While the rest of the leaders faltered, Dylan Frittelli surged to his first PGA Tour title.”
  • “Frittelli won the John Deere Classic on Sunday, closing with a 7-under 64 for a two-stroke victory over Russell Henley. The South African earned a spot next week in the British Open, finishing at 21-under 263 after the bogey-free final round at TPC Deere Run.”
  • “One of eight players within two strokes of the lead entering the lead, Frittelli was looking forward to the tournament’s charter flight to Royal Portrush.”
  • “I’m sure it’s going to be a fun flight,” Frittelli said.

Indeed. Full piece.

3. Goose is loose at Senior Players 
AP report on Goosen’s win at one of the low-key best venues for watching professional golf…”Retief Goosen birdied the final two holes to win the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship on Sunday at Firestone Country Club for his first PGA Tour Champions title.”
  • “The 50-year-old Hall of Famer from South Africa broke a tie for the lead with a 15-foot putt on the par-4 17th and made a 10-footer on the par-4 18th for a 2-under 68 and a two-stroke victory over 65-year-old Jay Haas and Tim Petrovic.”
4. Kim outduels Thompson 
AP report…”I’m very happy to win, especially this tournament, because Marathon has a lot of history,” Kim said.
  • “With five birdies in the middle of her round, Kim pulled away from Lexi Thompson in their head-to-head duel at Highland Meadows Golf Club outside Toledo, Ohio.”
  • “She played some amazing golf,” Thompson said. “There was a stretch there, mid-round, where she stuck every shot.
  • “Had under 5 feet [for birdie] about four times in a row. So, it was a very well-deserved win by her.”
5. If only Tony Romo played playoff football as well as he does the American Century Championship…
(Kidding, Cowboys fans)
Golf Channel’s Adam Woodard…”Tony Romo is the man to beat in Lake Tahoe.”
  • “The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst has staked his claim as best celebrity golfer by defending his title at the 2019 American Century Championship, winning with a score of 71 points. Former MLB All-Star Mark Mulder (61) finished second, followed by tennis Olympic medalist Mardy Fish and another former MLB All-Star Derek Lowe (57). Actor Jack Wagner rounds out the top five with 55 points.”
6. *Points to Collin Morikawa* You get a tour card!
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”A week after Matthew Wolff earned his PGA Tour card by winning the 3M Open, Collin Morikawa locked up membership for next season.”
“The 22-year-old Cal product, in just his fifth pro start, tied for fourth Sunday at the John Deere Classic to collect 122.5 non-member FedExCup points and run his season total to 456.5. With just three weeks left in the regular season, that number, which currently would slot Morikawa at 88th, will assuredly be more than No. 125 in the final standings, meaning Morikawa can count on earning his card for the 2019-20 season.”
7. Portrush to center stage
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Much has changed since The Open last visited the coastal links of Royal Portrush. It’s been 68 years, in fact, since Max Faulkner scooped 300 pounds for winning the tournament despite never breaking 70. But that remains the only time the oldest major in golf was held somewhere other than England or Scotland.”
  • “That is, until this week. Long viewed as one of the best courses in the world, Royal Portrush now has a chance to shine in front of a global audience like never before.”
  • “And chances are, she’s going to put on quite a show.”
8. In a similar vein… 
James Corrigan at The Telegraph files his look ahead…
  • “Yet things change, as do politics, finance, perception and even dusty old men in blazers, and here we are in Open week. Everywhere you walked in Portrush on Saturday, with a big wheel spinning and looking down on families eating ice creams, and the brave dipping their toes in the grey ocean, it was clear that this was not a normal weekend. For, as the doors swing open, Tiger Woods is turning up on the Sunday morning and, no, that is not an everyday occurrence.”
  • “Perhaps Graeme McDowell summed it up best in a spectacular blog post on the European Tour website. “It’s been amazing to see the Open Championship evolve in the sleepy little town where I was born,” he said. “For anyone who has never been there, Portrush is on the very northern tip of the island of Ireland and is a very raw, beautiful, rugged landscape which feels very remote. To see an Open being staged there is mind-blowing for many of the local people.”
9. Fun yields win for Frittelli  
Good bit from Cameron Morfit going a level beyond the game story for PGATour.com…”It was mentality clarity,” Frittelli said, when asked to explain the difference at the Deere.
  • “With his attention divided and his career flagging, the 29-year-old with the prescription glasses found himself feeling stressed as this season wore on. His European Tour membership was running out, and he found himself in danger of losing his PGA TOUR card, too. That would mean going back to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, where nothing is guaranteed except for the fact that it would preclude his playing in some big overseas events.”
  • “The clock was ticking, and Frittelli had to find a way to tune it out. Enter sports psychologist Jay Brunza, who helped Frittelli finally accept that he couldn’t affect outcomes, at least not positively, by obsessing over them. When he three-putted the 14th hole after driving the green Sunday, he not only forced himself to slow down and not overreact, he smiled.”
  • “I think I was the only one on the course who smiled after a three-putt,” he said.
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Tour Rundown runs toward Open with Frittelli, Kim, Goosen victories

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Something quite brilliant was in the air this week on the world’s golf tours. A new course debuted in Scotland, South Africa stood tall with two champions, and the world anticipated a return to a legendary, northern course that has not seen an Open Championship since 1951. The American tours are drawing to a close, and plans for 2019-2020 are firming up. Five events caught our attention this week, from Gullane to Toledo, from Iowa to Colorado. Plug in your charger and settle in for a nice read of this week’s Tour Rundown.

Scottish Open chalice rests in Wiesberger’s hands

Interesting stories envelope the Austrian golfer, Bernd Wiesberger. After a many-month layoff to rehab a wrist injury this season, 2 victories have come his way, including last week’s Scottish Open. The first 3 playoffs of his European Tour career all ended in defeat. In 2011, 2014 and 2015, he lost in extra holes at the Johnnie Walker, the Lyoness, and the Irish Open. Since then, he’s 2-0 in extra time. During the days leading into the 2016 and 2018 Ryder Cups, the 6-time Euro champ always seemed on the edge of breaking through to the European squad, but tailed off in the stretch run. On Sunday, under great pressure, he broke through for his finest triumph to date.

Soft ground and zero wind made The Renaissance Club an easy target during its championship debut. Wiesberger took advantage in round two, posting a course-record 61 to seize the lead. He held the top spot after 54 holes, placing all pressure squarely on his shoulders as round 4 began. It didn’t help that England’s Andrew Johnston had signed for a 62 before the Austrian pegged his opening tee shot. It also didn’t help that Benjamin Hebert of France was in the midst of his own 62, climbing the leaderboard. Ultimately, the duo of Wiesberger and Hebert would trade counters through the closing holes. After the Austrian holed a gutty, 7-feet effort at the last for a spot in the playoff, Hebert’s sound game betrayed him. He bogeyed the 2nd playoff hole, when par would have won, then 3-putted the 3rd go-round to finish 2nd.

As consolation, Hebert, Johnston and Italy’s Nino Bertasio earned the final 3 spots in this week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

@ScottishOpen     @EuropeanTour     @Renaissancegc     @BWiesberger

John Deere Classic is Frittelli’s 1st PGA Tour victory

The 3rd weekend of July redefined the careers of its tournament winners. Dylan Frtitelli has long been a quality golfer, since before his days at the University of Texas. Frittelli found himself uncertain of his status for the 2019-2020 campaign. His major-tour memberships were at risk, and a return to the triple-A tours was not his number-one comfort blanket. Everything changed on Sunday, in the middle of the American continent, when Frittelli surged past 3rd-round leader Andrew Landry with 64. As Landry fell to 3rd spot, Frittelli reached 21-under par. His work wasn’t finished, however. After a 4-under opening nine in round 4, the kind that gets you into the top 10, Russell Henley continued to make birdies. He made 6 more coming home, including a marvelous one at the final hole. Henley reached 19-under, claiming 2nd spot for himself. Frittelli didn’t falter. He made 4 at the par-5 17th, one of the few holes Henley failed to birdie in his march to the green. Ultimately, the win was vindication, security, and an unexpected trip to Royal Portrush for this week’s Open Championship. Breathe easy, Dylan.

@JDCLASSIC     @PGATOUR     @TPCDeereRun     @Dylan_Frittelli

Sei Young Kim takes 2nd win of LPGA season at Marathon Classic

Sei Young Kim offered an LPGA marketing tutorial on how to pronounce her name (So Young!) a season or two ago. On Sunday, the 26-year old Korean golfer earned her 9th LPGA title by 2 strokes, over Lexi Thompson of the USA. Kim made 7 birdies over her first 15 holes, establishing a healthy lead as the tournament headed for home. Bogey at the 16th reduced her margin of victory to 2, but also served to secure trivia on the week: Kim’s scorecard’s were 64, 65, 66 and 67. A hand that would do some damage at the card table, also worked well at the Toledo LPGA stop. Thompson nor anyone else ever threatened the front-runner on day four. Thompson had too many bogies (2) and not enough birdies (also 2) on the outward nine, to mount an early challenge. 3 more birdies plus 1 additional bogey through the 16th, brought her even with Stacy Lewis for 2nd spot. Thompson closed fiercely, with birdie at 17 and eagle at the last. Her torrid finish made the final score appear closer than actuality. In truth, it was the Sei Young show all day long, a fitting tribute to a stellar performance.

@MarathonLPGA     @LPGA     @HMGCgrounds     @SY_KIM_lpga

Colorado Championship earns Ledesma a ticket to the show in 2019-2020

Argentina’s Nelson Ledesma had won on this level before. He triumphed at the LECOM in 2019, but that victory was not enough to propel him to the PGA Tour. In a campaign highlighted by higher, more consistent finishes, Ledesma’s victory on Sunday was enough to earn him a card on the golf world’s grandest dance stage. The walk home wasn’t easy on Sunday. Ledesma dueled with fellow southern-hemisphere golfer Brett Coletta the entire round. Ledesma went -1 on each of his 9s, but they could have differed more. On the outward half, the Platense was all over the place: 4 birdies, 1 bogey, 1 double. On the inward half, all pars until the last. Coletta might look back on Sunday and wonder, what went wrong on the par 5 holes. He doubled the first, bogeyed the 5th, and failed to birdie the 13th and 15th. A late birdie at 17 tied him with Ledesma, setting the stage for the 20-feet birdie putt that would settle the matter and send the champion to new heights.

@TPCColorado     @KornFerryTour     @TPCColoradoChampionship     @nelsonledesmaok

Senior Players Championship is Goosen’s 1st on senior circuit

There was a time, in the early 2000s, when a lead in Goosen’s hands was nearly as secure as a Tiger one. Then came the US Open of 2005, when his final-round lead simply went far, far away. Since those days, family, injuries and new challengers brought him back to the pack. Goosen won 4 more events on the European tour, never again on the US side of the water, until Sunday. Having followed Friday’s 62 with a Saturday 75, the South African found himself in 2nd spot, behind the 2019 story of the year, Scott Parel. This time, it was Goosen who hung on and the leader, that faltered.

Parel came out of the gate limping. He was plus-two through 14 holes in round four. Needing to make something happen to put pressure on his playing partner, Parel birdied the 14th and 17th holes. Unfortunately for him, sandwiched in between were another bogey and a double. He fell to a tie for 4th spot, 4 behind Goosen. In other groupings, Tim Petrovic and Jay Haas were making noise. Each closed to within 2 of Goosen, but neither had the firepower to gain any more ground. The pair tied for 2nd at 4-under par. As for Goosen, it was anything but steady or consistent. He had an eagle and 4 birdies on the day, including chirps at the final two holes, to seal the deal. He also had 2 bogies, along with a double at the 11th. It seems that excitement and thrills are part of the new normal for the formerly-unwavering champion. As long as the recipe results in victories, he’ll certainly cook something up.

@ChampionsTour     @SeniorPlayers     @BridgestoneGolf    

 

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Morning 9: Kuchar: “The things my grandma was hearing were really tough” | Kendra Little | Tiger’s Virginia course DOA?

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1. Diaz ahead
AP report…”Roberto Diaz shot a 9-under 62 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic.”
  • “Playing in the final group of the day off the first tee, the 32-year-old Mexican player birdied four of the first five holes, eagled the par-5 10th and birdied three of the last five in the bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run. He took the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th.”
  • “…Americans Adam Long and Russell Henley were two strokes back. Martin Laird was another stroke back at 65 with Ryan Palmer, Andrew Landry, Vaughn Taylor, Zack Sucher and Ryan Blaum.”

Full piece.

Also worth noting for those invested: Ho Sung Choi fired an opening-round 71, which is currently one stroke off the cut line.
2. A smiling American in Scotland
While the second round is well under way, here’s what happened in the first…
AP report…”Matt Kuchar shot an 8-under 63 on Thursday to share the lead with three players in a low-scoring opening round at the Scottish Open.”
  • “Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, the highest-ranked players in the field, opened with 67s – a score only slightly better than the field average on a day when 118 players broke par at The Renaissance Club, which was softened by heavy early-morning rain.”
  • “Kuchar, who has two previous top-four finishes at the Scottish Open, made two eagles on his first nine and ran off four birdies in five holes to reach 9 under before bogeying his last hole of the day, the par-3 ninth.”

Full piece.

3. A John Deere stalwart struggles
Danny Lawhon, Des Moines Register, syndicated in Golfweek… “…the past 14 months might have been the most frustrating of the Cedar Rapids native’s professional career. He’s got just one top-10 finish in that span, and he hasn’t finished better than 16th this calendar year.”
  • “Coming off three weeks of mental and physical rest following the U.S. Open, he was a fountain of optimism Tuesday in his pre-tournament news conference. By Thursday evening, not even the friendly confines of the John Deere Classic seemed to be on his side.”
  • “For the first time in 11 years, Johnson failed to break par at TPC Deere Run, bogeying the 18th hole to card a 1-over-par round of 72. The last time the Drake alum was over par in any round in the Quad Cities was the third round in 2008, when he shot a 75 on his way to finishing 69th.”
4. Marathon: Lewis lurking
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Stacy Lewis would like to take a decision out of U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster’s hands.”
  • “Lewis would like to make the American team on points, rather than rely on a captain’s pick.”
  • “With a 6-under-par 65 Thursday at the Marathon Classic, Lewis took a step in that direction. She equaled her best score since rejoining the tour as a mom this year.”
  • “Lewis is one shot off the lead in suburban Toledo, where she’s embraced as a hometown favorite. She was born in Toledo, and her parents grew up there.”
5. Stricker leads Senior Players
AP report on the action…”Steve Stricker topped the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship leaderboard at 5 under with a hole to play Thursday when the first round was suspended for the day because of lightning and rain.”
  • “Coming off a victory two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Open at Norte Dame, Stricker had a hole-in-one on the 184-yard, par-3 seventh at Firestone Country Club.”
  • “Play was suspended at 12:55 p.m., and called for the day at 5:05 p.m…”
6. “Things my grandma was hearing were really tough”
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Kuchar did not reveal what his grandma read or heard, but has those in his life who keep him abreast of what’s being said about him.”
  • “Just the fact that she had called me to say, ‘I can’t believe what they are saying’ was hard, because I had a pretty decent idea from friends telling me, you know, ‘I can’t believe what this guy said,’ or ‘This guy really threw you under the bus,'” Kuchar said.
  • Yet, mentioned above, Kuchar continues to enjoy a prosperous year. He attributes the run to the advice of Phil Mickelson (who’s also had his fun with Kuchar). “He’s been one that says, ‘Listen, this is a tough deal,'” Kuchar said of Mickelson’s words. “He said, ‘I’ve been through way worse. It will pass. You keep being the guy you are and this will go away. Unfortunately it’s a tough situation you’re in, but just keep being the guy you are and time will heal.'”
7. Kendra Little’s struggle
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols...”If I had success, I knew that was going to push me closer to the LPGA,” said Little, who knew a drug test would have revealed her higher levels of testosterone.
  • “But it also would’ve pushed me closer to having to deal with my gender. That was such an insane internal battle.”
  • “It was around the age of 12 or 13 that a doctor first told Little that she was both a boy and a girl. After that day, she never discussed AIS with her parents or anyone else. Once a month she’d get estrogen injections. Later, once every three months.”
  • Those days in the doctor’s office were the darkest. There Little had to face the fact that she was different. That this really was her confusing and complex reality.
8. No Cliffs at High Carolina?
Dillon Davis, Asheville Citizen Times (syndicated in Golfweek)…”A nearly 800-acre Swannanoa, Virginia, property that once was the intended site of a luxury housing community and a Tiger Woods-designed golf course has changed hands, but future development plans there remain unclear.”
“The property was slated to be part of The Cliffs at High Carolina, a neighborhood project featuring about 1,000 luxury homes and what would have been the first U.S. golf course designed by Woods straddling parts of the Fairview and Swannanoa communities. It was sold in April by David Straus of Straus Family LLC for about $15.3 million.”
9. Rain no concern for Royal Portrush
RTE Sport report…“There are no concerns about Royal Portrush links golf club ahead of next week’s Open Championship after heavy rainfall on Wednesday.”
  • “Footage emerged on social media of torrential rain and several puddles at the venue in Antrim. Retired Ulster rugby player Darren Cave posted the video on his official Instagram account today, but tournament organisers Royal and Ancient (R&A) have no worries about the condition of Portrush.”
  • “We had a lot of rain yesterday but the course coped well and we are happy with how it is looking,” an R&A spokesman told RTÉ Sport.

Full piece.

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