Kristy McPherson leads Cristie Kerr at Kraft

By Associated PressApril 4, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. ' Kristy McPherson, Cristie Kerr and Brittany Lincicome will tee off together in the last group Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
The all-American pairing for the final round of the LPGAs first major of the season makes quite a statement, especially in a Solheim Cup year.
 
So much for the theory that American golf is on the wane.
 
Cristie Kerr
Cristie Kerr is looking to add to her 2007 U.S. Women's Open triumph. (Getty Images)
There is such strong competition out there from so many different countries, said McPherson, who shot a steady if not spectacular 2-under 70 on a hot, calm Saturday to take sole possession of the lead at 8-under 208.
 
Its tough golf out here. Im happy that a lot of the Americans are having a solid week, and it just makes us want to play better golf out here.
 
Kerr was one shot behind McPherson while Lincicome was two back atop the tight leaderboard. They also shot 70s on a day when tough pin placements at Mission Hills made for fewer birdies.
 
Its about time, Lincicome said of the American-dominated leaderboard. Its really cool to see. Im so proud of my girls. I am so proud of the Americans, especially Kristy. Kristy is one of my best friends on tour.
 
Kerr concurred.
 
You know, it makes me proud to see all the Americans up there, she said.
 
We have to remember, we have a very international tour, and a lot of great players from Asia, Kerr added. As the years have progressed on the LPGA, its been tougher to win. Things go in cycles, and I think that the Americans are back. Its a Solheim year. I think they are kind of getting wrapped up to play the Solheim.
 
Its also an all-Florida trio. McPherson is from Tampa, Kerr from Miami and Lincicome from Seminole.
 
McPherson will by trying for her first LPGA win.
 
To have a shot at it in a major makes it all the better, she said. I dont try to think too much, but I havent had that whole major feeling this week, which is good. It has allowed me not to have too many nerves.
 
Kerr has one thing on her side that McPherson and Lincicome dont ' the experience of winning a major, the 2007 U.S. Open.
 
I definitely think its an advantage, knowing what its not only like to win a tournament, but a major and how to handle the emotions and how you feel, said Kerr, who has 11 career victories.
 
She also had the craziest shot of the day, when her tee shot on the par-3 14th bounced on the green and was screaming toward the water when it apparently hit a rock along the shoreline and bounced back, almost going in the hole. She missed the birdie putt, though.
 
I thought it was in the water for sure, she said. I even went in there and looked. It was the hand of God that blew it over there. I should have made the putt; it would have been a better story. Sometimes you get a break, and to contend in a major especially, you have to have the good breaks. I felt that.
 
She did birdie the par-3 17th, hitting a 6-iron within 6 inches.
 
No, I didnt aim it there, she said. I made birdie last year when that pin was there, as well. It was a fortunate break for me that it hit in the spot that it did, and almost went in. It was nice not to have to work a lot.
 
On Friday, McPherson and Christina Kim teed off before strong wind raked the Coachella Valley and jumped into a tie for the lead in the LPGAs first major of the season.
 
Kim faltered in the third round Saturday with a 75 and was five shots back. Jimin Kang and Lindsey Wright both shot 71 and were four shots back.
 
Lincicome, who has two career victories, was the first-round leader after shooting a 66.
 
McPherson got a nice round of applause from the gallery ' and playing partner Kim ' as she crossed the bridge to the 18th green.
 
McPherson had a birdie putt for a two-shot lead but ran it just to the left of the cup.
 
Its a tough leaderboard up there, she said. I know that I have to play really solid golf. Youve got a lot of girls that can do a lot of good things out there.
 
On a day when nobody ran off with the lead, McPherson at least stepped up and put her name atop the leaderboard by opening the back nine with three straight birdies.
 
Defending champion Lorena Ochoa needed a birdie on 18 to shoot her best round of the tournament, a 72. She was tied for 15th at 2 over.
 
For me, better, the top-ranked Mexican star said. I feel that I have a chance tomorrow and thats what I will try to do, something special tomorrow.
 
At the bottom of the leaderboard was Michelle Wie, who had another bad day with her second straight 9-over 81. She was at 17 over for three rounds.
 
Wie ended Friday at the cut line. She started Saturday by hitting her first tee shot out of bounds to the left, leading to the first of her three double bogeys. Her other two double bogeys came when she hit into the water on both par 3s.
 
Wie also had four bogeys and only one birdie.
 
Related Links:
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  • Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 4:30 am

    Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.

    Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

    “I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.

    Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.

    “Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.

    Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.

    “Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”

    South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

    Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.