AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Resilient Taylor pulls through to take title

sfgate.com photo: Phil Mickelson (left) and Nick Taylor (right) confer during the third tee of the final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am on Sunday

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Despite leading throughout, Nick Taylor had a few things working against him on Sunday.

A prevailing wind that particularly showed its teeth in the afternoon, not to mention a defending champion with virtually all of the crowd support and a history of catching guys from behind to win major titles.

Taylor endured the cold, hard Sunday afternoon winds and battled through a tough stretch on the back nine to pull away with a wire-to-wire victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the second win of his PGA Tour career and the first since his rookie year of 2014-15.

“It was an incredible week,” said Taylor, who became the first Canadian to win this event. “I felt like I read the greens so well this week. I don’t think it’s going to sink in for at least another few days. To win, at such an iconic place, is amazing.”

He and Phil Mickelson, who has won this event five times, including last year, went toe-to-toe for the first six holes and struggled through the first five holes of the back side as the increasing winds came into play. However, it was Taylor who persevered by making clutch birdies at the 15th and 17th holes to seal the win.

Mickelson began the day one stroke behind Taylor, but he soon tied things up at the par-5 second hole, when he hit a brilliant shot out of a greenside bunker and rolled in the ensuing two-footer for birdie.

That lead didn’t last long, however. Two holes later, Taylor made a 13-footer for birdie to re-claim the advantage.

He then got on a roll, making an 11-footer for birdie at the par-3 fifth, moments after Mickelson stuck his tee shot four feet from the hole, a putt that he would make. Mickelson kept the heat on Taylor at the par-5 sixth, making it to the green in two shots before two-putting for birdie.

Taylor, however, again one-upped Mickelson. He parked his second shot into a greenside bunker but then holed out for an eagle to increase his lead to two. He found the bunker again at the par-3 seventh, but the ensuing sand shot wasn’t nearly as good, leaving him with a 13-footer.

As he had done all week, Taylor was able to find the hole to save par and keep his lead intact.

Both guys had their issues at the par-4 eighth, as Taylor could not get up and down from the sand and wound up with a bogey. Meanwhile, Mickelson’s short game let him down at the par-4 eighth, as after going over the green with his approach, his chip shot rolled past the green before being able to chip it on.

He then missed the ensuing bogey putt and, therefore, surrendered another stroke to Taylor. He played the next four holes at one-over, and he just could not get back on track.

The wind really picked up in the afternoon as the last groups hit the back nine, and the gusts, which were measured at up to 34 mph, had a significant effect on the scores. Even Taylor, who had been unflappable through the first three rounds, started to leak oil. He played holes 11 through 14 at four-over – including a double at the 14th – to give a sputtering Mickelson a lifeline.

Mickelson, however, was not able to generate any momentum after a birdie at the 10th. He dropped shots at the 12th, 14th and 16th holes, and when Taylor chipped in for birdie at the 15th, the tournament essentially belonged to Taylor.

“It was extremely difficult because you have the wind that kept swirling in and then down, and you had the greens that were very firm,” Mickelson said. “It was a hard day, (but) Nick played better than I did.

“He holed a couple of great shots, and he just really played some great golf.”

Kevin Streelman, who won the Pro-Am portion of this event along with All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, also put himself in contention for the individual title, shooting a four-under round of 68 and finished in second place and leap-frogging Jason Day in the process.

Beginning the day in a tie for fourth, Streelman eagled the uphill par-5 sixth, and after dropping a shot at the eighth, he began his assault on the back nine. He was one of the few players unaffected by the heavy wind, recording four birdies against only one bogey on the final nine holes.

“We just ham-and-egged it perfectly, to be honest,” Streelman said of his partnership with Fitzgerald, who has spent his entire career with the Arizona Cardinals. “He made some nice birdies, a few pars. I kind of had to carry him at the end there, (but) he kind of had to pick up a few holes.

“I just love this guy. He’s a great man, and we had a lot of fun out there.”

Day, who began his final round three shots back and in third place, could not get fully on track on Sunday. He got off to a nice start, rolling in a birdie at the second hole, but he soon hit the skids, dropping a shot at the fourth as well as the fifth.

After a birdie at the sixth, he bogeyed the 11th and suffered a damaging double bogey at the par-3 12th. To sum up how his day was going, he threw his hands up in relief after a birdie at the par-5 14th. He birdied again at the 15th, but he stumbled again with back-to-back bogeys and he finished in fourth, eight shots behind, after a three-over round of 75.

“The way the greens were, it can make you look like a pretty big fool out there sometimes,” Day said. “I had four three-putts on the back side, so obviously, it was disappointing the way that I putted because I actually hit it pretty decent.

“Overall, I’m happy about the week, but also I wish I would have given it more of a chance.”

AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Taylor struggles early but regains footing – and lead

sfgate.com photo: Phil Mickelson chips the ball out of a bunker up to the seventh green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – After the morning fog burned off, the action around Pebble Beach heated up. And at the end of Saturday’s proceedings, a familiar face emerged near the lead, with another chance to win at this event.

The weather on Saturday was the opposite of the day before. All three courses were covered in fog in the early morning, resulting in cooler temperatures and tougher playing conditions, before the skies cleared up hours later.

Nick Taylor, the leader of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after each of the first two rounds, had his struggles in the early going while playing at Spyglass Hill. He bogeyed two of his first four holes on Saturday and momentarily lost his lead to a surging Jason Day, who was also at Spyglass.

Taylor got things back on track a few holes later, and then slowly began to make up ground and, in the process, regain the lead while Day backtracked slightly. The Canadian birdied the par-four 17th and finished his first nine one-over, and his round gained momentum as the fog subsided.

He picked up a couple of shots in the first five holes of his back nine before making eagle at the par-five seventh. He parred out the rest of the way and went into the clubhouse with a three-under round of 69.  He will play the final round with defending champion Phil Mickelson, who shot a five-under round of 67 at Pebble Beach on Saturday and trails Taylor by single shot.

“It’s going to be a new experience,” Taylor said of playing with Mickelson, who he has never played with. “(But I’m) not really trying to pay attention to what he’s doing. Obviously, if he makes a putt or hits a great shot, the crowd’s going to go wild.

“I’ve just got to do my own thing and try to block all that out. (But that’s) easier said than done.”

Mickelson, who has won this event five times, started his third round at Pebble Beach hot and, with the exception of a brief hiccup in the middle, kept the pedal down to ultimately get within an earshot of the top spot. He birdied the first two holes – including a second hole that saw him hit his tee shot into the fairway bunker and then watch as his second shot found the greenside bunker – and added another birdie at the par-five sixth.

He dropped a shot at the par-three 12th but quickly got his momentum back in Mickelson-esque style. He holed out from a greenside bunker at the par-four 13th for a birdie and then chipped in for birdie at the par-five 14th.

He also ended his third round with a roar. After hitting his second shot way right of the green at the par-five 18th, he hit a super-high lob shot that settled four feet from the hole and then nailed the ensuing birdie putt to go into Sunday’s final round trailing Taylor by a single shot with a five-under round of 67.

“I felt like I had a pretty good day with my short game and had some pretty good shots,” said Mickelson, who actually missed the cut in his previous tournament, the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago. “So it was a nice score. I scored well today, on a day that wasn’t easy. The greens were firm.

“I thought the wind made it difficult, and I ended up playing really well and making a good score. I did a good job getting the ball in the hole.”

Also in the hunt is Day, although he is now three shots behind the lead after holding the second position the day before. He started out very well, making birdies at two of his first four holes in the third round before dropping a shot at the par-four 17th.

He quickly rallied and picked up two shots in the first four holes of his second nine. However, that momentum was stalled by a bogey at the par-three fifth and was not able to regain it, finishing with a two-under round of 70.

“I gave myself plenty of opportunities out there. I just, unfortunately, didn’t capitalize,” Day said. “But for a day like this, to walk away under par, I think I’m still pretty pleased.

“I think if I just stay within myself and play, I just got to focus on giving every shot 100 percent. If I can do that, hopefully I’m holding the trophy at the end of the day.”

AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Mickelson, Day make huge runs but Taylor maintains slim lead

photo from sfgate.com: After making a birdie on the 18th green Nick Taylor holds first place on the leader board at Pebble Beach in the second round on Friday

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH – As Nick Taylor has found out through the first two days of this tournament, in order to get on top and stay there, you have to go low. Very low.

That’s precisely what the Canadian has done, but in doing so, he still doesn’t have much breathing room. He held a two-shot lead after the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a 63, which is tied for the lowest opening-round score in four years, and after a 66 on Friday, goes into the weekend with the same two-shot advantage.

Taylor, whose lone victory on the PGA Tour came in his rookie season of 2014-15 at the Sanderson Farms Championship, finished his second round at Pebble Beach in grand fashion, making birdies in four of his last five holes, capping off his round by rolling in a 16-footer at the iconic par-5 18th.

Taylor has, in large part, done it with his putter. He is currently second in the field in strokes gained in the putting department, as he made 101 feet of putts on Friday

“I hit some really good shots coming in and made all the putts,” Taylor said. “So obviously, it was all coming together there.

“I really love coming to this stop, so I was happy to come here, and it’s been nice to make some putts. I feel like from here, and next few months, are probably my favorite stretch of golf tournaments.”

There were a number of players who made big charges on Friday and wound up hot on Taylor’s tail, including Phil Mickelson, the left-handed crowd favorite who is known for his exquisite short game and sometimes-erratic play off the tee.

He, in his words, “drove it like a stallion” on Thursday to get himself in the hunt and more than holding his own at Spyglass Hill, and he did the same the next day to inch closer, blistering Monterey Peninsula in the process.

He started out his day with back-to-back birdies and made another birdie three holes later. After dropping a shot at the par-4 15th, he rallied to make eagle at the par-5 16th. He started his second nine with four straight birdies and was eight-under through his first 14 holes.

However, the fog rolled in at that point, and that seemed to affect his scoring. His birdie rampage stalled, as following the four consecutive, he parred the ensuing four holes and even dropped a shot at the par-3 ninth to end his round in third place.

Jason Day finished his round about an hour before Mickelson, so he just missed the fog and played all 18 of his holes in picture-perfect conditions with relatively-light wind and responded with a seven-under round of 64 at Pebble Beach that put him in second place, two shots behind Taylor.

Day did not have to go through foggy weather, but he did have to battle through injuries, particularly with his back – a very common issue in the game of golf – throughout most of last season, and he spoke Friday of the return of his health.

“I’ve been working very (hard), and I’ve been very disciplined about the rehab,” Day said. “I had six, seven weeks of rehab before Torrey Pines (two weeks ago), and I’m trying to stay on top of that right now, and for the most part, I feel pretty good.

He also spoke of a change in focus, not only in his practice routine but also his overall approach to the game. In years past, he would spend at least two hours putting in a day, but due to his back issues, he has cut that time in half and has, in turn, turned up the concentration in those sessions.

In getting ready for this tournament, Day said that he did not play standard practice rounds but rather would play different nine-hole rounds at the different courses with a number of friends.

“Sometimes working hard is not the solution,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, you still have to work hard, but don’t be so involved in it, and don’t make it your whole world.”

Headline Sports with London Marq: AT&T underway with Mickelson back; Warriors dealing at the deadline; plus more

photo from sfgate.com: Comedian Bill Murray takes a cut on the green at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am on Thu Feb 6, 2020

On Headline Sports podcast with London:

#1 The AT&T at Pebble Beach Pro Am is under way and fan favorite Phil Mickelson is there. Mickelson won last year’s tournament by three shots.

#2 The Golden State Warriors were sellers dealing Glen Robinson III and Alec Burks to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night and dealing D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night

#3 Talk about some of the San Francisco Giants pitchers vying for a spot in the rotation to name a few, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Shaun Anderson, Tyler Beade, Derek Rodriguez, and Aaron Saurez.

#4 Former Cincinnati Red Pete Rose is asking MLB for reinstatement citing sign stealing and steroids issues that might support his defense to have a shot into the Hall of Fame

#5 The Sacramento Kings host a very talented Miami Heat team on Friday night at Golden One Center in Sacramento. The Kings are coming off a big win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

London does Headline Sports each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Taylor takes early lead

photo from sfgate.com: Nick Taylor follows his shot from the ninth tee of the Monterey Peninsula County Club Shore Course during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Pebble Beach, Calif

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH–Nick Taylor got out to an early lead on Thursday, taking advantage of the usually-easier scoring conditions at Monterey Peninsula Country Club to earn a two-shot advantage by firing an eight-under round of 63.

Thursday marked the lowest round that he has scored since 2013,

He birdied the first two holes on the front nine, and then followed that up with two more birdies on the last two holes on the front side.

He was not done there. He got out to the par-five 10th and made eagle before making back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th holes.

Two shots behind him are Patrick Cantlay, who shot a six-under round of 66 at Spyglass Hill, considered to be the toughest of the three courses in the tournament rotation, and Chase Seiffert, a relative unknown on the PGA Tour who shot the same score at Pebble Beach on Thursday.

The two guys who are one stroke behind Cantlay and Seiffert are Harold Varner III, who played Pebble Beach on Thursday and shot a five-under round of 67, as well as Richy Werenski, who took on Monterey Peninsula and shot five-under.

Tied with those two, in a tie for fourth, is Cal product Max Homa is tied for fourth after the first round, by virtue of his five-under round of 67 at Spyglass Hill, along with Stockton native Ricky Barnes.

The most recognizable name on the leaderboard, Phil Mickelson, is currently in a tie for 12th after shooting a four-under 68 at Spyglass.

He started his round at the 10th hole and parred out until he got to the 15th, where he stumbled and made bogey. He quickly rallied, however, and made three birdies in a row to close out that side.

Mickelson then turned around on the front side and made two birdies – at the second and at the fifth – to card his four-under round.

Safeway Open: Sac native Champ wins it for Papa

Photo credit: taiwannews.com.tw

By Jeremy Harness

NAPA, Calif. – This week, Cameron Champ wore black shoes that had “Papa Champ” written in white lettering and also had it etched on his wedges.

With his grandfather in hospice battling stomach cancer and his father behind the 18th hole, the Sacramento native kept his focus and earned his second-career PGA Tour win at the Safeway Open, this one certainly the more emotional of the two.

He held the lead for most of the day but had to fight off a threat from Canadian Adam Hadwin, who had rallied from five shots down at one point on Sunday to tie him at the top, making a birdie directly in front of him at the 18th to do so.

“Probably with what’s going on, I don’t know if it’s meant to be or what, but just to play the way I did – basically, this is my home event – to have so many family and friends here, it’s just been awesome,” Champ said.

Champ was a bit shaky off the tee – he did not hit his first fairway until the 12th hole – but his short game and putting kept him afloat long enough to win the tournament.

He pulled his drive left at the first hole – dangerously close to a hazard – but hit a brilliant wedge shot to about seven feet before making the putt for birdie. The wedge and putter came in handy again on the next hole, the par-3 second, after his tee shot came up woefully short and rolled down the hill.

He pitched it to about nine feet and made the putt to save par. The ball striking continued to be a struggle for the next two holes, but he was able to get it up and down to keep the lead intact.

He again pulled his drive left at the par-5 fifth, but this time he was in a tree line, meaning that he had to negotiate the trees to get to the green. He then took a mid-iron around the trees – flirting with out-of-bounds on the left – and landed it in the middle of the green from 201 yards away. He then two-putted for birdie to increase his lead to four.

He dropped a shot at the par-4 eighth but got it right back by getting up and down for a birdie at the ninth.

He was in serious danger of dropping another shot at the par-3 11th, after he short-sided himself and stubbed his first chip attempt. However, he rallied and chipped his third shot in to save par.

“I got some key up-and-downs,” Champ said. “The chip-in on 11 was huge and the up-and-down on 15 just kind of kept my round going.”

Hadwin started the round three shots behind Champ, but he caught fire after a one-over front nine, as he recorded five birdies against only one bogey, including birdies on each of the last three holes, which momentarily left him tied for the lead with Champ.

Ten minutes later, Champ rolled in a four-footer to win it.

“At least I made him think about it a little bit, didn’t I?” Hadwin asked. “I wasn’t sure where I stood. I walked off, I saw his name at 17 there, 17-under when I walked off the 15th green. I knew I had to do something special. I put a little pressure on him and made him make birdie for it.” Marc Leishman made a big charge on Sunday, shooting a seven-under round of 65 to launch himself into second place, 11 groups ahead of Champ. He made four birdies on the front nine against only one bogey, and he picked up four more shots on a bogey-free back nine and finished his round nicely by rolling in a 23-footer for birdie at the par-5 18th.

“(It was) nice to finish off on 18 like that,” Leishman said. “It probably won’t be enough, but hopefully it will make (Champ) think about it a little bit.

“When you can see the ball go in a little bit, it just puts a little bounce in your step. I feel like it goes through your whole game. I feel like if you’re not putting great, that can also go through your whole game, so it’s nice to take advantage of it when they’re going in.” Bryson DeChambeau shot out of the gate on Sunday, pouring in three birdies in the first five holes – including rolling in a 25-footer for birdie at the par-4 third – to get himself into a four-way tie for second before the last two groups teed off.

DeChambeau, a native a Clovis, just outside of Fresno, held the lead after Friday’s second round, but thanks in large part to a damaging double bogey on the back nine, he sputtered to a four-over 76 on Saturday before closing the gap considerably on Sunday.

He wasn’t the only one making noise in the final round. Roger Sloan, who began Sunday six shots back, birdied twice in his first four holes and then chipped in for an eagle at the par-5 fifth to get himself to two shots back and into second place all by himself.

However, both guys soon fizzled and could not make up any more ground. DeChambeau played the back nine at one-over with four bogeys and three birdies and finished with a two-under 70.

After the eagle, Sloan’s momentum hit the skids starting at the seventh, as he sandwiched a birdie with two bogeys. He was also one-over on the back after three bogeys and two birdies and also shot a 70. Both men finished tied for 13th.

DeChambeau, Watney come crashing down while another NorCal soars to the top

photo from sfgate.com: Cameron Champ hits on the sixth fairway in the third round of the Safeway Open at the Silverado Resort on Saturday. Champ’s emotions are in play as his grandfather Mack battles stomach cancer in the Sacramento area.

By Jeremy Harness

Saturday was not a very good day for Bryson DeChambeau or Nick Watney, and as a result, they fell from the top of the leaderboard while some new folks took over the top spots as the final day of the Safeway Open approaches.

DeChambeau’s four-over round of 76 dropped him toward the middle of the pack, while Watney’s round of 72 was a little more modest, and he is now tied for the fifth spot in the field and four shots shy of the lead.

Meanwhile, another native of Northern California grabbed the lead on Saturday with stellar play. Sacramento native Cameron Champ, who considered to be the longest hitter on the PGA Tour, used that distance to get good looks at birdies and ended up shooting a five-under bogey-free round of 67.

Besides averaging 335 yards off the tee this week that ranks him at the top of the field, including a 372-yard bomb on Saturday, Champ also leads the field this week with a 91.67 scrambling percentage. He is also tied for the fewest bogeys this week.

“I’m extremely pleased,” Champ said. “Not to make a bogey on the scorecard, mission is accomplished. I’m hitting it well, I’m giving myself so many chances. I’m just executing everything. I’m hitting my shots, I’m not making the little mistakes I was, then I’m getting it up and down when I need to.

“Today was like a faultless day.”

Champ currently leads the tournament by three shots, while Sebastian Munoz also shot a 67 on Saturday to get into the second spot. Munoz has had some recent winning experience, as he won the Sanderson Farms Championship earlier in the 2019-20 season.

He then followed that up with a tie for seventh place at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.

“I’m hitting the ball pretty solid, I’m making the putts, so I’m feeling great,” Munoz said.

Joining Munoz in the No. 2 slot are Canadians Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor. Hadwin first a five-under 67 while Taylor shot 70 to give themselves a chance to win on Sunday.

Safeway Open: NorCal natives on top of the leaderboard

Photo credit: golfweek.com

By Jeremy Harness

NAPA–The Safeway Open is being held in Northern California, so it’s only fitting that two guys who grew up in the region are in the top two spots as the tournament heads into the weekend.

Bryson DeChambeau shot into the lead with an eight-under round of 64 on Friday. A native of Clovis, which is in the Fresno area, the 26-year-old started off hot and did not really let up the rest of the way. Starting on the 10th hole, he began by birdieing the first three holes in a row and would pick up two more shots on his first nine.

He would go on to birdie three more holes on the second nine and did not record a single bogey in the entire second round.

“Well, I made a couple good putts, that was obviously awesome, and I struck it lot better than I did yesterday,” DeChambeau said. “I scrapped it around, I got it in at four-under, and then I knew today if I could go work on my swing like I did yesterday and come out and feel comfortable like I did today, I’d come out and shoot a low number.”

Meanwhile, Nick Watney, who currently lives in Las Vegas but grew up in nearby Dixon, fired a seven-under round of 65 to vault himself into second place, only two strokes behind DeChambeau. He birdied his first two holes and would birdie two more holes on the front nine but dropped a shot with a bogey at the par-four eighth.

Watney recovered very nicely and finished with quite a flourish. He birdied holes 14 through 16, and he closed things out with a chip-in birdie at the par-five 18th hole.

“It was pretty smooth,” Watney said. “It was kind of like this course, if you keep it in front of you, you’ve got a chance to shoot a good score, so I’m happy with the day.”

However, Friday wasn’t all smiles. Tony Romo, who shot a two-under round of 70 on Thursday to give himself a chance, he shot a six-over 78, which was marred by six bogeys on the front nine and led the way to his missing the cut.

“(I) didn’t hit many fairways today,” Romo said. “With the firmness of the greens, it’s just difficult when you put yourself in some of the spots I was.

“I didn’t putt well. Started (with) three three-putts, I think, on the first eight holes. Kind of gets you a little antsy as far as trying to get some of them back.”

Safeway Open: Scott, Landry blaze their way to the top

Photo credit: cbssports.com

By Jeremy Harness

NAPA–The Safeway Open has annually been the opening event of the PGA Tour season, but that is not the case this year. Regardless of that, the fans showed up in full force for Thursday’s opening round at Silverado Golf Resort.

Of course, when you have well-known commodities such as Stephen Curry and Tony Romo, the fans are bound to show up.

Two guys who definitely showed up and showed out for the first round were Andrew Landry and Adam Scott, who each shot seven-under rounds of 65 and are tied for the lead after Thursday’s action.

Scott went four-under on the front nine, including an eagle at the par-5 fifth that saw him make a 54-foot putt for his three. He took his only bogey at the par-four 13th, but he more than offset that with three more birdies on the back nine.

“(The eagle was a) fun way to kind of keep the momentum going and get the most out of the round,” Scott said. “If I had any complaints about last season, I didn’t get the most out of my good rounds or my good weeks.

“Today, I felt like I kind of got the most out of myself.”

Landry had no such hiccups, firing a bogey-free 65. He made a pair of birdies on the front side, but he lit the course up on the back nine, making five birdies, including back-to-back birdies to close out his round.

“I can make a lot of putts right now,” Landry said. “That’s kind of what I did all day, I made a lot of putts. Ball-striking wasn’t as good as I wanted, but the putting was there, and it made up for it.”

Right behind those two is Francesco Molinari, who is best known for his heroic play for Europe in the 2018 Ryder Cup, who is one stroke behind with a six-under 66. He made four birdies on the front nine, and made three more on the back to offset a dropped shot at the par-four 14th.

Also one behind is Matthew NeSmith, who spent last season on the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly known as the Web.com Tour). His round of 66 was a bogey-free one, making four birdies on the front and two more on the back.

Romo, who spent many years as the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and now makes his living as an NFL color analyst for CBS, showed that he’s got plenty of game on the golf course. He fired a two-under round of 70 on Thursday and stands a good chance of making the cut and playing into the weekend.

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Gruden expects more aggressive offense this Sunday; A’s hold on for dear life, get walkoff HR from Chapman; plus more

Photo credit: @NBCSRaiders

On Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria:

#1 Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden says he hopes the offense could provide more vertical shots and that the receivers can be more aggressive.

#2 Gruden did say that the offense needed to be more aggressive and that was before the release of Antonio Brown during the first three weeks of the season.

#3 In the first three games of the season, Raider quarterback Derek Carr has thrown 23 passes for 10 yards past the line of scrimmage and has completed 13 pass for 257 yards.

#4 Turning to baseball, at one time, the Oakland A’s had a two-game lead before Wednesday night. The A’s had just a 1/2 game lead and the Tampa Bay Rays keep winning, beating the New York Yankees on Wednesday and the A’s dropped two straight games and almost lost a third in Anaheim on Wednesday night, but thanks to a Matt Chapman home run, they came back with two runs in the ninth to win it 3-2 and hold a 1/2 game lead in the AL wild card.

#5 The PGA Tour Safeway Open starts today at Silverado Resort in Napa. Some of the big names at the event include the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Phil Mickelson and Hideki Maysuyama, a five-time winner.

Tony Renteria does Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com