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Van Pelt leads AT&T National Round 1

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Van Pelt leads AT&T National Round 1

Len Shapiro
CSNwashington.com

With a shot holed out from the fairway for an eagle and another chip into the cup to save a precious par, Bo Van Pelt opened a one-shot lead after the first round of the AT&T National Thursday at steamy Congressional Country Club, where the heat is definitely on.

Temperatures are expected to keep rising into the high 90s over the remaining three days of the tournament, a year after the golf course also hosted the rain-soaked 2011 U.S. Open. Van Pelt opened that tournament with a round of 76 but rallied to get back to a tie for 14th, and said after his first round this week the course is surely playing more difficult now than it did a year ago.

Thats all you want out there right now for sure, said Van Pelt on a day when Congressional only yielded 22 sub-par rounds from the invitational field of 120 players. Jimmy Walker, who bogeyed his final hole when he missed a five-foot par-saving putt, was tied for second with veteran Vijay Singh and Virginia Tech graduate Brenden De Jonge, all at three-under 68.

The surprise name on a leader board that definitely did not include Tiger Woods (one-over 72), the tournaments host, was Billy Hurley III. The Leesburg native and Naval Academy graduate posted a two-under 69, leaving him tied for fifth at two-under 69.

Hurley had played his opening 17 holes without a bogey, but could not avoid one at his final hole, the 636-yard No. 9, when his wayward drive hit a tree and bounced over to the rough on the nearby fourth. He managed to loft a wedge over several tall trees to get back to the proper hole but laid up on his third shot. His fourth left him an 18-foot putt to save his par, but he was unable to convert.

Still, the 30-year-old who makes his home in Annapolis had few complaints about his day, not with so many friends and family pulling for him in the gallery.

Any time you play well, its fun, he said. But this is a heck of a golf course. You have to hit a lot of quality shots that end up with not a good look at birdie sometimes. I was patient out there, made a couple of putts early and then muddled it around and didnt make anything.

Hurley was paired in a group that included 17-year-old Beau Hossler, the high school senior-to-be from Mission Viejo, Cal., who became the darling of the U.S. Open galleries two weeks ago at Olympic in San Francisco when he trailed the lead by only four shots after 54 holes. He posted 76 in the final round that week and tied for 29th place, but his performance earned him a sponsors exemption here this week on the recommendation of Woods himself.

Hossler more than held his own Thursday. He was one-under going into his final hole, the ninth, but his three-foot putt to save par just caught the edge of the lip and spun out, leaving him with a three-putt bogey and an even-par total of 71, despite making four birdies.

I hit a lot of good shots (but) the ball seemed to be going a little bit longer than normal, so I was air-mailing some pins, he said. I had some great up-and-downs, but youve got to go out there and keep the ball below the hole, especially on this golf course, when the greens are this fast and.

As for the teenagers comfort level, not a problem.

Im starting to feel pretty comfortable out here, said Hossler, who played in the Open at Congressional a year ago at age 16 but missed the cut. Obviously my game needs to get better before Im out here all the time, but (it) feels like I can make the adjustment from junior to amateur to professional golf. Obviously I need to get more comfortable as the tournaments go on, but I feel like Ive made some progress.

Woods mostly felt frustrated with his round of one-over 72, leaving him tied for 30th place.

He was fortunate to post that score because he got a huge break on the difficult 11th hole when his tee shot hit a rock in a stream bank and caromed off into the rough instead of the water. He still made bogey there, made an 18-footer for birdie at the 14th and was fortunate to escape with one last bogey at the 15th.

From the middle of the fairway, he hit his second shot in the bunker at the 490-yard par 4, hit a weak sand shot that landed on the fringe, followed by a poor chip that left him with a tough eight-foot putt to save his bogey. He made the putt to avoid further disaster and parred in to stay within five shots of the lead.

I didnt hit it that bad today, Woods said. I just didnt get a lot out of my roundIts a pretty good grind out there. Not a lot of low scores on this golf course, especially this afternoon. It was baked out, the ball was springy and its hard to believe that four-under is leading.

A year ago, Rory McIlroy scorched the course with a record 16-under total to win his first Open title.

I think (Thursday) is a little retribution for last year, Woods said. Dont be mad at me. I didnt play.

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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