Get your sleep this weekend people. The early morning wakeup calls for the Open Championship begin on Thursday!
Conditions behaved themselves in the first round of the abrdn Scottish Open, allowing players to take advantage of a gettable Renaissance Club. Jack Senior, seeking his first European Tour win, leads after carding a 64, but he has a strong contingent of chasers, including Lee Westwood (65), Justin Thomas (65), Jon Rahm (66), Tommy Fleetwood (66), and Matthew Fitzpatrick (66). Leaderboard
With five of the top 10 and nine of the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking in attendance, this week’s Scottish Open is more of an Open Championship preview than it has been in the past. More and more PGA Tour members are coming over a week early to get acclimated, and this year they’re playing some really good golf. Fresh off his U.S. Open victory, Jon Rahm showed he is still in top form. Westwood, JT, Fleetwood, and Fitzpatrick—all reasonable picks to contend at Royal St. George’s next week—are right there as well.
Serving a purpose
As expected, the field tore TPC Deere Run to shreds on Thursday at the John Deere Classic. More than 50 players shot 68 or better. Sebastián Muñoz and Chesson Hadley lead after rounds of 63. Leaderboard
Is the field at the John Deere lacking star power? Of course. But there are several names near the top of the leaderboard who are looking for a career-changing break, as Bryson DeChambeau and Jordan Spieth were in 2017 and 2013, respectively. For someone like Hank Lebioda (64), Doug Ghim (66), or Michael Gellerman (66), this might be a huge week. Young guys like Alex Smalley (67) or Will Gordon (68) could use more starts and, with a big finish here, could get them.
The John Deere Classic is a longtime staple of the PGA Tour schedule. It deserves better fields and more attention, but for now the event is at least a great opportunity for up-and-comers to prove themselves.
LPGA Tour player Jane Park and her husband Pete have been in the hospital with their infant daughter Grace for about a week. Grace started experiencing seizures and brain swelling last week, and doctors are working to figure out what is going on. She remains in critical condition. One of Jane’s close friends, fellow LPGA player Tiffany Joh, set up a Fight for Grace GoFundMe to help support the family through this difficult time.
The U.S. Senior Open at Omaha (Peyton Manning voice) Country Club got off to a sweaty yet exciting start on Thursday. Coming off two top 10s in his last three U.S. Senior Open starts, Stephen Ames leads the pack alongside Billy Andrade. Leaderboard
Nasa Hataoka dusted the field in the first round of the Marathon LPGA Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club (not Inverness Club, as we inadvertently implied in our Wednesday newsletter). Hataoka shot 61, four shots clear of the rest of the field! Ariya Jutanugarn (66), Yealimi Noh (66), Brittany Lincicome (67), and Alison Lee (67) are in close pursuit. Leaderboard
Taylor Moore, Chandler Eaton, Charlie Saxon, and Brandon Harkins are in the hunt at the TPC Colorado Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. Leaderboard
The Tokyo Olympic Games will be held without fans in attendance. A new state of emergency was declared for Japan on Thursday because of a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Two-time major champion Ángel Cabrera was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of assault. Full Story from Joel Beall
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Tom Doak on the Renaissance Club – Host of this week’s abrdn Scottish Open, Renaissance Club is the work of architect Tom Doak. Two years ago, Andy Johnson sat down with Tom to discuss the course and what to expect out of both the men’s and women’s Scottish Opens.
Superintendent Series: Brendan Byrne on Llanerch, the 1999 Ryder Cup, and Philly Cheesesteaks
Brendan Byrne, superintendent and co-general manager at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pennsylvania, chats with Andy about his 20+ year career in golf, from starting out at Rolling Green Golf Club to overseeing the recent restoration at Llanerch. He shares stories from his unique experience at the 1999 Ryder Cup, offers his expertise on managing staffs, and provides insight on how the golf industry has changed over the years. He and Andy also cover the Philly sports scene and opinions on the best cheesesteaks in the area. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: Coffee Golf delights, British Open via the world feed, and Flashback on Monty
This Friday episode was recorded early before a road trip, so it focuses primarily on the Scottish Open. Andy and Brendan react to some of the early scenes at the Renaissance Club, praising the warm and fuzzy feeling of true links coffee golf in the morning. They also discuss the stout leaderboard, and if Jack Senior is related to Peter Senior. News hits on plans for the Open broadcast to be done remotely from Connecticut, and if the world feed might actually be a revelation for some. They also discuss Kevin Na and Cam Davis taking a pass on a spot in the field at Royal St. George’s, for distinctly different reasons. Precision Pro Flashback Friday is a short history lesson on the Scottish Open, and then the first Scot to ever win the event, Colin Montgomerie. There are details about a frustrating loss in 1995 at Carnoustie, when he shooed a rules official back over the Barry Burn, and a bit on his breakthrough win at the event in 1999, when he had a small tiff with rookie sensation Sergio García. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.