Five months later, measure of normalcy at Masters in April
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)AUGUSTA, Ga. – The record score at Augusta National wasn't all that set Dustin Johnson apart from other Masters champions. No other Masters champion was allowed to keep his green jacket for only five months before it was time to try to win it again. Augusta National is blazing with pink and red and purple azaleas, accented by the white blooms of dogwood. Ad“I think it will be back to feeling like a normal Masters,” Johnson said. Augusta National had no choice but to keep the spectators away in November because of the pandemic, just like the other majors last year.
An opening day of emotions and a few surprises at Match Play
In the Dell Technologies Match Play, every day can feel like Sunday. “I turned out to hit that shot really well, went super high over the trees. It was his biggest loss in Match Play since Ben Crane beat him, 8 and 7, in the second round of 2011. Kevin Kisner, the defending champion from 2019 — the Match Play was the third event to be canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic — won his seventh straight match by beating Louis Oosthuizen. When you're up against an opponent who plays really, really well and you play just a little better, it's really satisfying."
Big finish sends Garcia to big lead at Players Championship
Garcia thought he had plenty of time to get from the range to the 10th tee to start his round. Then he fired off a 7-under 65, capped off by a birdie-birdie-eagle finish for a two-shot lead over Brian Harman. AdWhen darkness brought the first round to a halt — 21 players didn't finish — there already were 13 scores of 80 or higher. “For some reason, it just kind of fits my eye,” said Garcia, who won The Players in 2008 and has twice been runner-up. British Open champion Shane Lowry took bogey on his final hole for a 68 and was tied with Corey Conners and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Ortiz holds off Johnson, Matsuyama for 1st PGA Tour victory
HOUSTON – Carlos Ortiz held off Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama by closing with a 5-under 65 to win the Houston Open on Sunday, becoming the first Mexican to win on the PGA Tour in 42 years. He had to settle for a two-putt birdie, and it held up when Johnson and Matsuyama narrowly missed birdie chances coming in. Needing two putts to win, the 29-year-old holed a 20-foot birdie putt for a two-shot victory. Ortiz held back tears as he waited for his playing partners to putt. The Houston Open was the first domestic PGA Tour event that allowed spectators, with 2,000 tickets sold daily.
Late birdies let Justin Thomas keep slim lead at Sherwood
He holed a 10-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead, and then followed with a 30-foot birdie putt up the slope on the par-3 17th. It was another grind for Tiger Woods, the Zozo Championship winner last year in Japan, who could only manage a 71. Griffin opened with four straight birdies to take the lead, and he stayed there until the end of the round. Thomas was playing well enough, even if he had little to show for it after opening with two birdies. And when Griffin holed his birdie putt on the 14th, Thomas missed badly from just inside him.
Munoz in the lead and Woods with his worst score at Sherwood
Throw in a wild tee shot for double bogey, three bogeys and only five pars and it added to an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead. That led to a 4-over 76 — by two shots his worst score in 49 rounds at Sherwood Country Club — that left him 12 shots out of the lead and in no mood to talk. He is a five-time winner at Sherwood, along with five runner-up finishes, against small fields in a holiday exhibition. On the par-5 13th, he sent his tee shot again to the right, partially blocked by a tree. The sand shot didn't quite reach the green.
Munoz picks up where he left off, shares lead in Mississippi
His only bogey came on the ninth hole when his drive landed in a divot and he missed the green to the left. Walker wasn't feeling his best and wasn't sure what to expect, especially after missing two short birdie putts to start his round. “I’ve always had stuff with my left shoulder, but I just picked up some tendonitis at the U.S. Open,” Walker said. After two short misses, Walker realized he needed to move the ball up slightly in his stance. Henrik Stenson, playing in Mississippi for the first time in 10 years had a 70.
Johnson, Scheffler favorites for tour's top player, rookie
For the PGA Tour player of the year, the candidates were Johnson, Thomas, PGA champion Collin Morikawa (two wins), Webb Simpson (two wins) and Jon Rahm (two wins). Johnson won the Travelers Championship and The Northern Trust to go along with his FedEx Cup title he won at the Tour Championship. He also was runner-up to Morikawa at the PGA Championship. More interesting will be the vote for PGA Tour rookie of the year. ... Country singer Colt Ford, who once played professionally, is making his PGA Tour Champions debut on a sponsor exemption.
Poulter sets pace and Spieth turns it around at Hilton Head
Jordan Spieth putts on the 10th green during the first round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament, Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Hilton Head Island, S.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)Ian Poulter and Mark Hubbard set the pace for good scoring through a brief spell of rain at Hilton Head. Spieth didn't figure to be part of the conversation until bouncing back from a triple bogey with eight birdies for a 66. It was the kind of break Spieth has seen far too often during three years without a victory. He was on such a roll that Spieth began to contemplate eight straight birdies to end his round. Michael did a great job of reminding me that today when it wasnt going well on my front nine, Spieth said.