Minjee Lee takes 2-shot lead

By Associated PressApril 15, 2016, 6:08 am

KAPOLEI, Hawaii - Minjee Lee made five birdies in a six-hole stretch and finished with a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the second-round lead in the LPGA's Lotte Championship.

Playing in calmer afternoon conditions at wind-swept Ko Olina, the 19-year-old Australian birdied the final two holes on the front nine and added three in a row on Nos. 11-13. She parred the final five holes to finish at 10-under 134, two strokes ahead of American Katie Burnett.

''I holed a couple of nice putts and just got my momentum going on the front nine,'' Lee said. ''I birdied eight and nine, so I think the momentum carried on through the back nine.''

She hit every green in regulation in her bogey-free round.

''I've been striking it pretty good yesterday and today as well,'' said Lee, the Kingsmill Championship winner last year for her first LPGA title.

With constant wind gusting to 30 mph Wednesday, there were only seven rounds in the 60s and the average score was 74.6. It calmed Thursday and eight players shot 67 or better.

The 26-year-old Burnett matched Lee with a 66. Also playing in the afternoon, she birdied four of the first six holes and made two more on the consecutive par-5 13th and 14th holes.

''I putted really well and we've been really decisive on like targets and I've hit a ton of knock-downs,'' Burnett said. ''Maybe hit a handful of actually full shots. Pretty much everything has been a knock-down just to keep the ball a little straighter in the wind.''

Top-ranked Lydia Ko, going for her third straight victory, was 1 under after a morning 72.

Su-Yeon Jang was 7 under after a 66 in the morning when gusts were as high as 25 mph. The 21-year-old South Korean player, in the field on a sponsor exemption, is coming off a victory last week in a Korean LPGA event also sponsored by Lotte.

''I felt confident after winning the tournament last week,'' said Jang, making her second LPGA start and first in the United States. ''So, that helped me a lot.''

Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn and defending champion Sei Young Kim were 6 under. Jutanugarn, tied for the first-round lead with Lee, had a 71. Kim had her second straight 69. The fifth-ranked South Korean player won last month in Phoenix for her fourth LPGA title in two seasons.

Brooke Henderson was 5 under after a 70 in the afternoon. The 18-year-old Canadian has finished in the top 10 in six straight events.

''It was a lot calmer today, especially on my back nine, which was kind of nice, really,'' Henderson said. ''Walking down, I guess, No. 15 felt like there wasn't wind at all, which was kind of crazy compared to the last 27 holes.''

Megan Khang made a big move up the leaderboard, following her opening 76 with a 64 - the best round of the week - to reach 4 under. The 18-year-old American birdied six of the last seven holes after some encouragement from her father-teacher-caddie Lee.

''Back-to-back bogeys on 9 and 10, and my dad was like, 'C'mon, Megan. We got to turn it around here.' 'OK, OK, OK. Like, I know, Dad. I know.''' Khang said. ''So went on a pretty hot run, and thankfully had a good finish. I'm excited for the weekend, or Friday, Saturday.

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson and Lizette Salas also rallied, each following a 75 with a 66 to get to 3 under.

''Yesterday was just a struggle on the greens,'' Thompson said. ''I don't really know what was going on.''

Salas shot a tournament-record 62 three years ago before losing a playoff to Suzann Pettersen.

''I just erased the round from yesterday,'' Salas said. ''We knew the problem was I wasn't getting close, so I really wanted to be aggressive whenever I had a short iron.''

U.S. Women's Open champion In Gee Chun also was 3 under, shooting a 67 after opening with a 74.

Second-ranked Inbee Park was 1 over after a 71.

Michelle Wie missed the cut in her home event, following her opening 80 with a 73. She won the 2014 tournament.

''Disappointing for sure,'' Wie said. ''I wanted to play well this week. Just coming out here and not having a good performance, just definitely is disappointing. Take the weekend to practice and get ready for the next event.''

Two other players from Punahou School played this week, but only former UCLA All-American Stephanie Kono made the cut - shooting a 71 to reach 1 under. Amateur Allisen Corpuz, a high school senior who qualified, was 5 over after a 72.

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.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."