Diaz Kemp lead Jamie Farr Wie three back

By Associated PressJuly 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Jamie Farr Owens Corning ClassicSYLVANIA, Ohio ' Laura Diaz barely remembers the last time she led an LPGA event. Sarah Kemp never had.
 
Now those two unlikely front-runners head into the weekend chased by a strong group of pursuers at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
 
With a surprised hop, Diaz tied Kemp for the second-round lead Friday with a birdie on her final hole. Winless in her last 168 LPGA starts, Diaz looked discouraged with the 12-foot birdie putt halfway to the final hole but then hopped in celebration when it fell in the side door.
 
Sarah Kemp
Sarah Kemp is seeking her first career LPGA victory. (Getty Images)
I was shocked, she said, laughing, when asked about her lack of elevation on her jump. I looked silly.
 
The putt capped a 4-under 67 and a share of the lead with Kemp, who shot a 63, at 11-under 131.
 
Morgan Pressel had a 68 and was a shot back. She acknowledged that the tournament was there to be taken.
 
Its a crowded leaderboard with very good players at the top, Pressel said. Its going to take two more days of really good golf, and lots of birdies, to make it to the top.
 
Natalie Gulbis (65), Seon Hwa Lee (63) and Jiyai Shin (67) followed at 9 under. Thirty players were within five strokes of the lead at the tournaments midpoint.
 
Michelle Wie was poised to make a run at her first professional victory until she double bogeyed the final hole.
 
I didnt finish the way I wanted to, but its going to give me more ammunition for tomorrow, she said after her 69 left her tied with Suzann Pettersen (69), Lindsey Wright (68), Kyeong Bae (64) and Eunjung Yi (66), three shots off the pace.
 
Diaz has struggled with her swing and confidence the past few years but has found some answers the past two days at Highland Meadows Golf Club. She shared the first-round lead with Pressel and Song-Hee Kim after shooting a 64.
 
I saw the scoreboard only once right away when we started, said Diaz, a two-time winner on tour. But really, I havent been in place to be looking at the scoreboard in the last several months, so I was really just trying to stay in my own world.
 
She parred the first 12 holes before playing her final six holes in 4 under. Over that span she hit 9-iron approach shots to 3, 15 and 12 feet and then rolled in the birdie putts.
 
Kemp started early to post a low number, matching Lee for the best round of the day.
 
Teeing off on No. 10 first, she turned in 2 under and then birdied holes 2 and 3 before stringing together four straight birdies on holes 5-8. None of the birdie putts was more than 12 feet, with four of them half that distance or less.
 
My putter was amazing, said the Aussie, who was a rookie on tour a year ago. I dont know how many putts I had, but I dont think it was many.
 
No kidding: she needed just 20.
 
Pressel, like the co-leaders, is also looking for a breakthrough win. In 2007, she became the youngest major champion (18 years, 10 months, 9 days) at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. But she has not won in her 16 starts since her second and last win, at Kapalua last year.
 
Wie got to 10 under and a shot back of the leaders heading to the relatively easy par-5 closing hole. She was in prime position after two shots but her third ended up running just off the back of the green. Her chip ended up 10 feet away and she missed that and a 3-foot comebacker for a 7.
 
A lot of things that shouldnt have happened on the last hole, she said.
 
Wie needs to win the Farr to get into the field for next weeks U.S. Womens Open at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem, Pa.
 
Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa followed an opening 67 with a 68 and led the pack at 7-under 135. No. 2 Yani Tseng had her second consecutive 68 and was another shot back.
 
Theres a lot of birdies out there, said Ochoa, appearing at the Farr for the first time in five years. Tomorrow I need to shoot really low.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic
  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

    Getty Images

    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

    Getty Images

    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.