Lee Maintains Lead in Kingsmill

By Associated PressMay 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Michelob Ultra Open at KingsmillWILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Sarah Lee shook off some pre-round nerves and avoided the mistakes that plagued most everyone else Friday, shooting a bogey-free, 3-under 68 to take a two-shot lead over Becky Morgan halfway through the Michelob Ultra Open.
 
Morgan had just one blip on her card -- a bogey from a bunker on the par-4 14th -- but followed that with four birdies in five holes. Her 65 left her at 9-under 133, two better than Amy Hung, who had a 68 after making bogeys on two of her first three holes.
 
Carin Koch (69) and Jimin Kang, who matched Morgan for the best round of the day with her 65 on the 6,306-yard River Course, were tied for fourth at 6 under. Dorothy Delasin (68) and In-Kyung Kim (68), Stacy Prammanasudh (70), Natalie Gulbis (70), Brittany Lincicome (71) and Birdie Kim (72) followed at 5 under.
 
Lee's nerves, elevated after waves of people congratulated her on her course-record tying 63 in the first round, lasted only until the first shot.
 
'A good nervous,' she called it.
 
She was tested again after she made the turn, but she was ready by then. She drove into a fairway bunker off the first tee, having to lay up and get up and down from 50 yards. After a birdie at No. 3 -- her 12th hole of the day -- she hit into another bunker off the tee on the par-4 four, laid up to about 60 yards and got up and down again.
 
At the par-5 seventh, she pulled her second shot hard to the left, leaving her with a highly elevated chip on what she guessed was a 70-degree incline. She remarkably hit that to about 12 feet and two-putted, happy to escape again without any damage.
 
Seeking her first victory in her 124th event, Lee did better than she had in 2004, when she followed her career-best 60 by shooting even par in Tucson, Ariz., and better than she did last year at the Safeway International at Superstition Mountain, Ariz., when she led after the second and third rounds, but faltered to second on Sunday.
 
'I don't want to talk about my past,' she said when asked about the Safeway loss last year, 'but, you know, that time, I hit it great. I played all the time just steady, good round, but just one bad hole got me and Juli Inkster won.'
 
This time around, Lee said, 'I know what I'm doing.'
 
Morgan did, too, once the club that used to be her favorite came around again.
 
'The last couple of weeks, putting has come good again, and I finally put it all together,' she said. 'It's nice to be up there again.'
 
Morgan has made 139 career starts without winning on the LPGA Tour.
 
Kang, one of the most upbeat players on tour, is still working back from a stress fracture last October, and said everything clicked. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday and shot even, then made five birdie putts between 12 and 24 feet Friday.
 
'It's good to know I got potential playing golf out here,' she joked.
 
With weather that was threatening in the late afternoon but nearly as benign as for the first round, other challengers seemed to start to make charges, then faded.
 
Cristie Kerr, the 2005 champion, got to 4 under after four holes, but managed just one more birdie and a bogey the rest of the way. She finished at 4 under after a 69.
 
Paula Creamer was 5 under with seven holes left, but left her approach way right on the par-5 third, took bogey, and added another bogey en route to a 69 and a 3-under total.
 
Morgan Pressel, too, got to 5 under by nearly sinking her approach to the par-4 first, leaving a tap-in birdie, but was 2 over for her last eight holes. She shot a 72 to finish at 3 under. Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa also was 3 under after a 69.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”