New Generation Gets Shot at Merion

By Associated PressJune 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
U.S. OpenPHILADELPHIA -- Hogan, Jones, Nicklaus and Trevino are part of Merion Golf Club history. Now, a new generation of golfers will get a chance to leave their mark at the venerable club in the 2013 U.S. Open.
 
On Wednesday, the U.S. Golf Association officially selected the historic club as the site of the 2013 national championship. It is the fifth Open for the course in suburban Philadelphia that has held 17 USGA events, the most of any club.
 
The membership of Merion Golf Club is very excited and proud to have been chosen by the USGA as the host site of the 2013 U.S. Open Championship, Merions championship committee chairman Bill Iredale said in a statement.
 
The 120-acre layout was, for years, believed to be too small'in length and size'to accommodate the trappings of the U.S. Open. But the USGA is confident the 6,800-yard Hugh Wilson-designed East Course can hold its own against golfs best. Winged Foots West Course, site of this years Open, will play more than 7,200 yards to a par of 70.
 
We feel that our East Course is a very special venue, a classic golf course which, while lengthened some 400 yards to accommodate modern players and equipment, still retains the same shot angles, bunkering and greens that challenged Bob Jones in 1930, Ben Hogan in 1950, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in 1971 and David Graham in 1981, Iredale said.
 
Merions tiny greens, thick rough and lengthened layout proved to be a formidable test for some of the best long-hitting nonprofessionals at the 2005 U.S. Amateur.
 
Theyve always had great holes, a number of great layup holes where you werent using driver off the tee, said David Fay, executive director of the USGA. But theyve been able to make their long, stout holes'the ones that have been known throughout history'theyve made them really long. So I think they have adapted so well to the changing nature of the game.
 
The club instituted a 10-year plan to prepare for the Amateur, and always had an eye on a possible Open. Leading up to the Amateur, hundreds of trees were removed, the East course was closed for a year to re-grass the greens, all bunkers were restored, 14 holes were lengthened and fairways were realigned to bring hazards into play.
 
The result: Only six players scored in the 60s on the par-70 layout during the stroke-play portion of the Amateur.
 
The USGA is also confident Merion can handle the logistics of an Open. While it might mean limiting daily crowds, officials will find space for a corporate village, merchandise tent, trophy room and media.
 
The USGA said the exact number of spectator tickets has not been determined for the 2013 event, but the total should exceed the 18,000 daily tickets sold for the 1981 Open.
 
While Merion is not a huge physical facility, we are confident that well be able to conduct a complete U.S. Open operation outside the ropes, said Jim Hyler, chairman of the USGA championship committee. The cooperation, enthusiasm and resources of the surrounding community remain the major reasons why we are able to do so.
 
Merion hosted its last Open in 1981, which was won by David Graham. The Amateur has been played at the club six times, and the Womens Amateur has been held there four times. The club is also scheduled to host the Walker Cup in 2009.
 
The course renowned for red wicker baskets atop its flagsticks and sand hazards known as the white faces of Merion has been the site of some of golfs most memorable moments.
 
Bobby Jones played his first U.S. Amateur at Merion as a 14-year-old and returned 10 years later to claim his first Amateur title. Seventy-six years ago at Merion, he completed the Grand Slam by winning the 1930 Amateur to go along with the U.S. Open, British Open and British Amateur.
 
Theres a plaque commemorating Jones final competitive hole at Merions 11th tee. It was on that hole he closed out Eugene Homans 8 and 7 in the 36-hole final.
 
Ben Hogan also left his mark at Merion.
 
A little more than a year after surviving a horrible car crash, Hogan came to the 72nd hole of the 1950 U.S. Open needing a par to force a playoff. In one of golfs most enduring photos, Hogan is pictured, from behind, hitting a 1-iron from the 18th fairway to a green ringed by spectators. He went on to two-putt for par and won a three-way playoff the next day.
 
Before the start of a playoff for the 1971 Open, Lee Trevino pulled a prank on Jack Nicklaus, tossing a rubber snake at his feet while on the first tee.
 
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    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.