King misses cut in final major

By Associated PressJuly 9, 2011, 11:30 pm

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Betsy King played one hole on a near-empty golf course Saturday morning, then said goodbye.

Not exactly the way one of the game’s greats hoped it would end. But not that big of a surprise, either.

The 55-year-old King briefly came out of retirement to play in the U.S. Women’s Open this week, leaving the door slightly ajar to more if she played well on a difficult course at the Broadmoor.

She didn’t, and tried to enjoy the moment, even though going through the motions on a golf course has never been her thing.

It was nice, very nice,” the soft-spoken King said. “But it’s hard when you’re not playing well.”

King missed shots, putts and finally the cut as she wound up 18 over, tied for 142nd out of 156. Her final farewell came early Saturday, when she returned to close out the rain-delayed second round.

An unusual way to end it for the six-time major winner, who knew the odds were against her – returning to a major championship without playing a big-time round in six years.

“That’s the problem,” said one of her contemporaries, Juli Inkster, who didn’t make the cut, either. “Trying to qualify for the Open and playing in the Open are two different things. I think she knew that going in. But you’ve got to hand it to her for qualifying and doing this.”

King thought she was using the U.S. Open qualifying rounds as practice for a senior event coming up a few weeks down the road. Instead, she made it into the field, where she was the oldest – and one of the most decorated.

She won her first U.S. Open title in 1989 – the year Yani Tseng, the top-ranked golfer in the world, was born.

King won another the following year – when Michelle Wie was barely 6 months old.

This version of Betsy King didn’t resemble those versions. She shot rounds of 12-over 83 and 6-over 77.

“Starting out, I had a couple of birdie chances early on. I didn’t convert. Just didn’t play that well after that,” King said.

For King, this wasn’t so much about being in contention as embracing the experience. She was paired with longtime friends Sherri Steinhauer and Pat Hurst.

“I try to keep a good attitude,” King said. “There were a lot of fans out here, not just for me, but in general. I had some friends come out to watch me play. That was nice.”

If she stays retired as planned, King will concentrate on her other passion – charity work. She founded Golf Fore Africa, a nonprofit group that supports kids on that continent who have been orphaned or affected by AIDS.

King has enlisted the help of LPGA players such as Stacy Lewis and Inkster.

“It was unbelievable just seeing things you never thought you’d see before,” said Lewis, who ventured to Africa with King. “It just really puts golf and our life and everything we do into perspective.”

After a rough week back at the majors, King doesn’t anticipate another return.

“It’s funny, because I’ve looked at other players that have tried to come back and I said, `I’ll never do that,”’ King said. “And I wasn’t planning on it.

“I got away from it and decided that I’ll try it a little bit. You know what it takes to be (competitive), to play your best, and I definitely don’t have the desire to do that.”

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."