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Bridgestone Invitational Golf Tournament

Bridgestone Invitational: William McGirt bogeys No. 16 but maintains lead

By Ron Ledgard Published: July 1, 2016

William McGirt remains in lead by a stroke over David Lingmerth during the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational on Friday at Firestone Country Club.

McGirt birdied the second hole to go to 7 under but suffered his first bogey of the tournament on No. 9. He followed that with a bogeys on Nos. 13 and 16.

Lingmerth is at 3 under after a bogey on No. 18. World No. 1 Jason Day and Emiliano Grillo also are at 3 under. 

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Larry O'Brien Trophy on display at Firestone front entrance Saturday, Sunday

By Marla Ridenour Published: July 1, 2016
NBA trophy gloves

The Larry O’Brien Trophy presented to the NBA champion Cavaliers arrived at Firestone Country Club Friday, complete with gloves bearing the NBA Finals logo for handling.

The trophy has its own itinerary for display at the $9.5 million World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. It will be under constant guard and those posing alongside are not allowed to touch it.

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Memorial winner William McGirt leads Bridgestone after first round, fires 6-under-par 64

By Ron Ledgard Published: June 30, 2016

There have been only four instances of a player winning the Memorial Tournament in suburban Columbus and then the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, the two Ohio PGA Tour events, in the same year.

William McGirt, winner of this year’s Memorial Tournament, is on his way to becoming the fifth after shooting a 6-under-par 64 to grab a three-stroke lead in the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on Thursday.

He’s also well aware of the significance of the four instances in which a player won both Ohio tournaments. They all involve one familiar name.

“Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods,” McGirt said. “That would be pretty special company.”

McGirt, a first-time player in the Bridgestone Invitational, had the only bogey-free round of the day, which included three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front-9. He also holed-out from a bunker on the par-3 15th to save par.

“It was a good, solid day all around,” McGirt said. “Drove it pretty well with the exception of the tee shot on 18 and had a lot of perfect numbers, perfect yardages. Actually felt better with the putter from 35 or 40 feet than I did from six feet. Missed a couple here or there early on that could have been a couple lower, but I had a couple opportunities to make bogey as well.”

McGirt immediately took a liking to Firestone’s South Course when going through his practice rounds, praising it’s straight-frowardness that demands accuracy, not just bombing every drive.

“I fell in love with the place because length is not everything out here,” McGirt said. “You have to drive it in the fairway. You have to drive it in the correct spots in the fairways to be able to attack pins. I love it because you can't stand up there and just hit it as hard as you want, go find it and hack it on the green. It's an old, traditional style golf course, which I absolutely love. … Maybe it's something with Ohio I like.”

McGirt’s three-stroke advantage is the largest first-round lead in the tournament since it became a World Golf Championships event in 1999. But some of golf’s biggest names are lurking near the top of the leaderboard.

World No. 1 Jason Day, Jimmy Walker and Emiliano Grillo all shot 3-under-par 67s to tie for second. World No. 2 Jordan Spieth, World No. 7 Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman and Anirban Lahiri carded 2-under-par 68s to tie for fifth.

Spieth entered entered the 15th hole two-over-par and eight strokes off the lead but finished his round with a flurry of four consecutive birdies. Already one of the more dangerous players in the field, Spieth enters Friday’s second round on a tear, shooting a Thursday-best 31 on the back-9.

“I hit two greens of the first 13 holes, two greens in 13 holes means you're probably not going to be under par no matter where you're playing, especially here,” Spieth said. “[I] started hitting some greens and really got that putter hot. I made a couple I maybe didn't expect to make, and I actually made a couple great par saves that kind of started getting my putter hot, and finally they were more birdie instead of par.”

Fowler bogeyed the par-4 1st but responded by birdieing every other hole through No. 8, putting him at three-under-par at the turn. He finished the day with eight pars and a bogey (No. 17) on the back-9.  

“After bogeying the first, it was nice to get things going, make a few birdies on the front nine,” Fowler said. “[I] had a nice chip-in at the fourth. It was a nice day. It was tough to hit fairways out there with the firm conditions. It's nice to see this golf course play firm. Being earlier in the year, less rain, and not a whole lot in the forecast right now. It's going to be a fun week.”

For now, some of golf’s biggest names are chasing McGirt, the North Carolina native with one PGA Tour win who’s taken a liking to golf in Ohio.

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Five tidbits from Sunday at Firestone Country Club

By Michael Beaven Published: August 9, 2015

+ Shane Lowry finished atop the leaderboard after Sunday’s final round of the tournament at 11-under-par for a total of 269. Lowry made several spectacular shots Sunday en route to a 66 on the South Course at Firestone Country Club.

+ Lowry is the eighth player to come from behind in the 17-year history of the Bridgestone and NEC Invitational. Rory McIlroy came from behind to win last year too.

+ Bubba Watson jumped up to second with a 66 of his own, and finished two shots behind Lowry. Jim Furyk and Justin Rose entered the final round tied for first, but both faltered on Sunday and each posted a 72 to finish tied for third and four shots back. Robert Streb carded a 68 Sunday and rounded out the top five at 6-under over four days.

+ Camilo Villegas posted Sunday’s best round with a 65, which helped him finish tied for 25th with five other golfers at even.

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Five tidbits from Saturday at Firestone Country Club

By Michael Beaven Published: August 8, 2015

+ Jim Furyk and Justin Rose are atop the leaderboard following three rounds of the tournament at 9-under-par for a total of 201. Rose shot a 7-under 63 to jump up the leaderboard and catch Furyk, who tallied a 69. Shane Lowry is third overall at 7-under.

+ Rose and Steven Bowditch each posted a 63, the best rounds of the day. Bowditch is tied for fourth at 5-under overall with Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson.

+ Bernd Wiesberger had the first bogey-free round of the week, carding a 4-under 66. There were no bogey-free rounds through the first two rounds, something that hadn’t happened since the British Open Championship in 2013 at Muirfield. Wiesberger is tied for 26th with six other golfers at 1-over overall. Rose proceeded to post the second bogey-free round of the week.

+ Jordan Spieth, the world’s No. 2 ranked golfer, carded a 2-over-par round of 72 on Day Three, and is tied for 17th at even overall with eight other golfers.

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Five tidbits from Friday at Firestone Country Club

By Michael Beaven Published: August 7, 2015

+ Jim Furyk is atop the leaderboard midway through the tournament with consecutive rounds of 4-under-par 66 for a total of 132. Furyk has a four-shot lead over three men tied for second: Shane Lowry, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson. Furyk, Lowry, Watson and Charley Hoffman each posted the best rounds Friday on the South Course with all at 66.

+ Watson said after his round Friday that he has enjoyed playing the past two days with fellow long-ball hitter Johnson. The two will be paired up again Saturday at 1:55 p.m. Furyk and Lowry will tee off at 2:05 p.m.

+ PGA Tour communication director Chris Reimer said there has been no bogey-free rounds through the first 36 holes, which is the first time that has happened this year. The last there were no bogey-free rounds through the first 36 holes was the 2013 British Open Championship at Muirfield. 

+ Jordan Spieth, the world’s No. 2 ranked golfer, carded a 2-under-par round of 68 on Day Two, and is tied for eighth with eight rivals.

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Five tidbits from Thursday at Firestone Country Club

By Michael Beaven Published: August 6, 2015

+ Danny Lee’s 5-under-par 65 is the highest score by a first round leader since Retief Goosen’s 66 in 2008. Since then, the top score on the first day was either a 62, 63 or 64. Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk are tied for second at 66.

+ Sergio Garcia shot a 9 on the South Course’s No. 16 for a quadruple bogey, but remains in contention after finishing at 1-over-par 71.

+ The field of 77 players features four previous winners at Firestone Country Club, three Bridgestone champs (Keegan Bradley in 2012, Adam Scott in 2011 and Hunter Mahan in 2010) and one NEC World Series of Golf champ (Phil Mickelson in 1996). Bradley had the best round of the four on Thursday with a 69.  

+ Jordan Spieth, the world’s No. 2 ranked golfer, carded an even-par 70 on Day One.

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Report: Rory McIlroy to test injured ankle Saturday at Whistling Straits

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 4, 2015

Rory McIlroy may be preparing to test his injured left ankle in a practice round Saturday at Whistling Straits, sight of next week's PGA Championship.

Reuters reported Tuesday morning that was McIlroy's plan. But when reached by the Irish Golf Desk, McIlroy's publicist refuted the story, saying, "Not booked for such a round. Still going through the ankle rehab process."

Ranked No. 1 in the world, McIlroy is the defending champion at this week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, but withdrew from the elite field last week.

On July 6, the 26-year-old from Northern Ireland announced via Instagram that he ruptured the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) in his left ankle while playing soccer with friends at home. The picture he posted showed him on crutches.

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Revamped 2016 PGA Tour schedule sets Bridgestone Invitational for June 30-July 3

By Marla Ridenour Published: July 30, 2015

Northeast Ohio fans of professional golf and the NBA may not have a conflict in 2016, unless the NBA dramatically pushes back the start of the post-season.

The PGA Tour released its schedule for 2015-16 Thursday and next year's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was set for June 30-July 3 at Firestone Country Club. According to the tour, the event will move back to its traditional date in 2017.

The schedule needed revision because of golf's return to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The 72-hole Olympic stroke-play competition will include 60 men's and 60 women's players. The men's event will be Aug. 11-14.

"All associated with the game are excited to see golf return as an Olympic sport in 2016,” Don Padgett, executive director of the Bridgestone Invitational, said in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating the fact that the Games are a year away at this year’s tournament and know that in 2016, our fans, sponsors and players will enjoy being at Firestone Country Club from June 29-July 3. Firestone Country Club is traditionally one of the favorite stops for the world’s best players each year. We know that the staff at Firestone will have the golf course in pristine condition a few weeks earlier than normal.”

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Defending champion Rory McIlroy withdraws from next week's Bridgestone Invitational

By Marla Ridenour Published: July 29, 2015

Rory McIlroy has already missed defending his British Open title on a St. Andrews course that is special to him. Now an ankle injury he suffered playing soccer with friends will rob the world's No. 1 player of a chance to record back-to-back victories in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at another venue he cherishes.

McIlroy announced through the PGA Tour Wednesday morning that he was withdrawing from next week's $9.25 million Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, where he recorded a two-stroke victory over Sergio Garcia in 2014.

“Unfortunately, I will not be defending my World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational title,” McIlroy said in a statement released by the tour. “Best of luck to all the competitors, and I look forward to returning to Firestone in 2016.”

McIlroy has played in Akron since 2009. In his six appearances, he has recorded four top-10 finishes. Last year, McIlroy rated Firestone South No. 5 on his top 10 list of favorite courses in the world on

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