Lincicome maintains lead at Wegmans LPGA

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2014, 11:18 pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. - Brittany Lincicome beamed. She had fought off the jitters while leading an LPGA major and it felt oh-so-good.

Lincicome, who hadn't held a second-round lead since 2009 and never in a major, shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday at the LPGA Championship to finish the third round at 10-under 206. That was one shot better than Suzann Pettersen (67) of Norway and defending champion Inbee Park (69) of South Korea as the fourth major championship of the season heads to the final round.

''Nervous is probably an understatement. My stomach was in knots,'' Lincicome said. ''When it came time to eat lunch, it just wasn't happening because I haven't been in this position in a while. Hopefully, going into tomorrow it's out of my system.''

Mirim Lee of South Korea was alone in fourth at 7 under after a 69, while 17-year-old Lydia Ko (71) of New Zealand was another shot back along with South Korea's Meena Lee (71) and Gerina Piller (69).


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The long-hitting Lincicome began the day at Monroe Golf Club with a three-shot advantage over Park and Lexi Thompson, who finished with a 74 and was at 4 under.

Lincicome won the 2009 Kraft Nabisco for her lone major title and has five LPGA victories. The United States is seeking to win its fourth straight major.

The long-hitting Lincicome is 11 under on the generous par 5s at Monroe Golf Club, a distinct advantage over most of her challengers and surely the reason Park wasn't looking down from the top of the leaderboard.

''I hate talking about it. I feel like I'm going to jinx myself,'' Lincicome said. ''If I can hit it on the fairway, get it on the green and two-putt, it's stress-free. I feel like my tempo the last couple of days has been really, really good. We're going to be more aggressive (Sunday).''

Lincicome birdied all four par 5s on the opening round and added two more to go with an eagle on Friday.

''This golf course is not exactly for short hitters,'' said Park, who won three majors last year. ''She was probably 50 yards ahead of me. I haven't really played that well on the par 5s. I only made one today, none the first day. That's a big difference. If I had made a couple I'd be up. It feels like a little bit of a disadvantage. It's an easy birdie for her.''

Pettersen has five top 5s in her last eight majors, including a victory last year in the Evian Championship, and she continued her solid play when it matters most, reeling off four birdies on the back nine.

''I seem to like the back nine. I like what I see,'' Pettersen said. ''I managed to make a move. It's nice to make a charge. I actually could have had a couple more.''

Pettersen birdied Nos. 10 and 11 and had a chance to forge a tie at the par-5 14th hole, but her eagle try slid just past the cup and she settled for a birdie that moved her into a tie with Park at 8 under.

Moments later, Lincicome recovered from an errant second shot that landed in the rough on the par-5 12th hole, pitching to 5 feet and making birdie to regain a two-shot lead.

Pettersen continued her rush, nearly holing a fairway shot at No. 15 and reached 9 under with a tap-in birdie. When Lincicome lipped her par putt at No. 13, the two were tied at 9 under.

Lincicome regained the lead with a birdie at the par-5 14th hole and nearly made it a two-shot advantage, but her long birdie try at No. 15 stopped at the lip.

The closing three holes at Monroe rank among the four most difficult on the course and Pettersen parred all three to keep the pressure on.

Lincicome saved par at the par-3 16th hole after driving a fairway bunker. Her tough 12-foot par putt broke ever-so-slightly right to left and barely dropped in, eliciting a big smile from the American, who parred the final two holes to maintain her slim lead.

Lincicome got some breathing room early when Thompson started badly. Thompson had a three-putt bogey at the opening hole, lipping out a short putt for par, and followed with another bogey at No. 2 to drop five shots behind.

A gusting 25 mph wind strafed the course all day Friday, sending leaves and bits of bark onto some greens. There was only a slight breeze with a light rain on Saturday.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



FALLING

Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”