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Tony Finau has finished tied 10th and 5th in the first two majors of 2018 and he's on course for another big week after starting the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie with a 4-under-par 34-33=67, a closing 25-footer for birdie hoisting him to T2 and just one behind leader Kevin Kisner.

Finau went hunting for red numbers today and came up with eight of them. His set included four on the front nine (1, 2, 6 and 9) against dropped shots at 3 and 7. And coming home he outpaced bogeys at 12 and 16 with circles at 13, 14, 15 and 18. The big-hitting American, who practised with some of his potential Ryder Cup colleagues at Le Golf National last week, hit 10 of the 15 fairways and found 14 greens. He took 29 putts. Finau also shot a first-round 67 on his Open debut at Troon in 2016 when finishing T18 while he was T27 at Royal Birkdale last year so he's made a bright start to his Open career.
Jul 19 - 10:39 AM

Danny Willett hadn't posted a sub-70 round in the majors since the closing 67 which won him the 2016 Masters but he changed that stat today thanks to a 2-under-par 34-35=69 in round one of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.

That's currently three behind clubhouse leader Kevin Kisner and puts him T9 on the live board. Willett swallowed an opening bogey but hit back with a trio of birdies at 4, 5 and 6. Further gains at 10 and 13 took him into a tie for the lead but he got caught out by the tough closing holes and dropped shots at 17 and 18. The Englishman found 15 greens in regulation after hitting seven (of 15) fairways but needed 33 swishes with the flatstick. "That was good. A lot of 12, 15 footers as well that just slid by. Could have been a really, really nice knock," he said.
Jul 19 - 10:24 AM

With a walk-off birdie on Carnoustie's tough par-4 closer, last week's Scottish Open winner Brandon Stone completed a 3-under-par 33-35=68 in round one of the 147th Open Championship to bank third spot in the clubhouse.

That's two swings behind leader Kevin Kisner. Stone shook off some poor form to win at Gullane last week with a sensational final-round 60 and kept his foot on the gas today with another round in the 60s. The South African opened with three pars before hitting the accelerator with red circles at 4, 6 and 8. A birdie at the 14th put him level with fellow South African Erik Van Rooyen in second place before he dropped his only shot of the day at 15 and added three pars. Stone hit 9 (of 15) fairways, pelted 11 greens in regulation and took 27 putts. This score matches his 68 from round three at Royal Birkdale last year when he posted T70.
Jul 19 - 8:58 AM

Kevin Kisner rode a hot putter in the first round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, twirling a 5-under-par 34-32=66 to grab a one-shot lead clubhouse over Erik Van Rooyen.

The American hasn't managed a top 50 in his three Open starts but found a groove with the putter today, taking just 22 swishes. Kisner, who has just one top ten in 14 starts in the majors, fell over par after bogey at the 5th hole but wiped it out, and some, with eagle at the par-5 6th. He made another gain at 8 before surging into the lead by connecting a trio of birdies from Nos. 13-15. Three closing pars kept him out in front. Kisner split just 7 of 15 fairways today and only hit half the greens but said the putting surfaces were running faster than he expected and which helped him find good speed. He'd arrived in Scotland on a poor run of form with four MCs and two finishes outside the top 50 in his last six starts. Today's 66 beats his lowest Open 18-hole score by three (69 in R4 at Royal Birkdale last year).
Jul 19 - 8:15 AM

Erik Van Rooyen fired a 4-under-par 33-34=67 in round one of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, good enough for a two-shot clubhouse lead over Matthew Southgate on the first day.

Playing in the second group out this morning (06:46), the South African cashed in on the benign morning conditions at the Scottish links. He set the tone with a pair of opening birdies at 1 & 2 before adding another red number at the par-5 6th. The 28-year-old picked up further shots at 11 and 15 but swallowed a walk-off bogey, his only blemish, on the tough par-4 18th. Van Rooyen was the 36- and 54-hole leader in the Irish Open two weeks ago before finishing tied fourth and has a history of fast starts on the European Tour this season (he’s been in the top four after R1 five times). In his first ever round in a major, he piped 13 (of 15) fairways, hit 14 greens in regulation and took 29 putts. On the live leaderboard, he leads by a shot from Danny Willett, Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Kisner, Brandon Stone and Chesson Hadley.
Jul 19 - 6:28 AM

World No. 98 Billy Horschel makes his Barbasol Championship debut and checks in at 45th in the FedExCup standings.

The Florida alum, a pre-tourney 11/1 outright fave, is 11-for-19 on the season with six top 25 and two top 10s. His one individual top 10 is a T5 at the RBC Heritage eight (individual) starts ago, and the other is a win at the Zurich Classic teamed with Scott Piercy. The 31-year-old arrives off a T17 three weeks ago at the Quicken Loans, buoyed by a season-best 64/R1. He finished in the top 30 in all strokes gained sub categories with the exception of a -3.086 around-the-green, which ranked 69th of 74. Horschel slots 191st on TOUR this season in SG: Around and 110th in SG: Approach, while 20th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 25th in SG: Putting.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jul 18 - 8:31 PM

Unranked John VanDerLaan will make his pro and PGA TOUR debut at this week's Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

The 2018 Jack Nicklaus Award winner is in the field via a sponsor exemption, earned after winning last month's Barbasol Shootout in Columbus, Ohio, by three shots over Oregon's Norman Xiong and Midland College's Callum Bruce. He was the 2018 NCAA Division II Men's individual champion out of Florida Southern, where he won seven times last season en route to the Sunshine State Conference's Male Athlete of the Year. Along with his seven wins, the Connecticut native recorded nine top 5s and 13 top 10s and owned a national-best 69.05 scoring average. His highest position attained in the World Amateur Golf Ranking was 17th.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jul 18 - 8:19 PM

Unranked Cooper Musselman makes his pro and PGA TOUR debut at this week's Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

The Louisville native is in the field via a sponsor exemption and this is his first event on any pro circuit. He'll leave the unpaid ranks as the No. 53-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, highlighted by winning the 2017 Kentucky Open, a 54-hole event consisting of pro and amateurs that are Kentucky residents. Musselman won the event while a senior and co-captain at the University of Kentucky and will have a childhood friend on the bag for him this week.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jul 18 - 7:51 PM

World No. 251 Harris English preps for his Barbasol Championship debut and arrives at 127th in the FedExCup standings.

The Georgia alum finished a career-worst 118th in the FEC standings last season and recorded no podiums for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2012. He's not faring any better this season, checking in 9-for-27 and on the heels of five straight missed cuts, seven in his last eight (T20, Fort Worth). The 28-year-old, who celebrates his birthday on July 23rd, is a two-time winner on TOUR, most recently the 2014 OHL, and is a buried down at 66/1 outright in an extremely weak field, reflective of his months-long-slide. He's not missed the FEC Playoffs in his six previous seasons and with five events remaining in the regular season, needs to get on his horse.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jul 18 - 7:30 PM

Peter Malnati arrives at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club looking for a bounce back after last weekend.

Malnati failed to make the cut at the John Deere Classic, but could be a little more comfortable this week. He hails from nearby New Castle, Indiana, and is now a Tennessee resident. Perhaps playing closer to his stomping grounds will knock off some of the edge. He has made the cut in five of his past seven PGA Tour events, and was a respectable 30th at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in early June in a similar geographic setting. He has been a disaster in Driving Distance (156th), Driving Accuracy Percentage (168th) and GIR (189th), but his sand work, decent scrambling ability and top-notch putting gets him through. In fact, he is one of the best on TOUR when it comes to the greens, checking in fourth in Putts Per Round (27.99). In a field where he is among the hunted, and not the hunter, he could excel.
Jul 18 - 5:10 PM

Spencer Levin will make his second PGA Tour appearance of the season at the Barbasol Championship this week.

Levin lost his PGA Tour card after the 2017 season, and he cited an equipment change as the biggest reason for his shaky play last year. He switched back to his old equipment this season, but it hasn't made a difference, as he has made just four cuts in 18 events on the Web.com Tour. Perhaps he has been pushing too much, but he isn't in great position to get his tour card back anytime soon. A solid showing at the Barbasol would help, and he did make the cut in his only previous PGA Tour event this season back in late October at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi. Still, he is just too toxic to roll with, and even the biggest contrarians won't touch him.
Jul 18 - 5:04 PM

Stephan Jaeger heads to the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club looking to rebound after a disappointing finish last week.

Jaeger bowed out of the John Deere Classic after a second-round 72, missing the cut by one stroke. He made some waves a few weeks ago when he pieced together a 7-under 263 at the Quicken Loans National to end up 13th overall. His best attribute is his Driving Distance, ranking 65th on TOUR at 298.9 yards. The scores will be low this week at Keene Trace, and he can run it out there with the best of them. Whether he makes the cut will depend on his scrambling and putting. He is so-so in the scrambling department, but awful on the greens. He ranks 158th on TOUR in Putts Per Round (29.48). If he can at least be adequate on the greens, he should make the cut and challenge for a top-25 position.
Jul 18 - 4:46 PM

Lanto Griffin arrives at the Barbasol Championship this week with a four-event cut streak in tow.

Griffin will try to slay the Champions Course at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky for his fifth consecutive cut made. He hasn't been terribly impressive during the four-event streak, but he did turn in a 26th-place showing at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier to turn some heads and earn a nice payday. Scores will be low at Keene Trace, and he has show 70 or better in 12 of his past 16 rounds. Griffin should make the cut again this week and he has top-20 potential.
Jul 18 - 4:36 PM

Bryson DeChambeau made the trip to Scotland and is all set to return from injury at this week's Open Championship.

DeChambeau lasted just 15 holes last week before withdrawing, as he was trying to defend his title at the John Deere Classic. It wasn't a case of wanting to leave town early. In fact, Tom Johnston of The Dispatch/Argus reported that he flew to Denver to get his shoulder evaluated. The X-rays were negative so he then flew back to the Quad Cities to catch the charter plane. The SMU product is having a breakout season in terms of consistency but he's a major wildcard this week as he attempts to return from his shoulder injury. Gamers should be aware of the WD risk if they decide to take a chance on DeChambeau.
Jul 18 - 3:27 PM

Morgan Hoffmann provided an update on his leave of absence from the TOUR as he goes through treatment for muscular dystrophy.

Hoffmann posted an update via social media, saying that's he's in Day 88 (of 90) of his treatment in Nepal for muscular dystrophy. He finished with "I’ll be making my comeback on the @pgatour once I know I’m getting better! And it’s looking like sooner than later." This is great news for Hoffmann fans as it looks like we might see him return to action as soon as the fall.
Jul 18 - 12:27 PM



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