Notes Lunke Recalls Victory

By Associated PressJuly 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 U.S. WomenSOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- It seemed like old times for defending U.S. Women's Open champ Hilary Lunke. And that really made her jumpy.
Hilary LunkeLunke's first-round pairing with Angela Stanford and Kelly Robbins, the two golfers she outdueled in a playoff to win last year's Open, made for a few nerves in the early going at Orchards Golf Club.
Lunke's hands shook as she teed up her first ball.
'It felt like we were going back into the playoff,' Lunke said Thursday. 'It was kind of a high-stress situation the first couple of holes.'
After making two bogeys and a double-bogey the first four holes, the defending champ settled down and rallied with five birdies, finishing at 1-over-par 72, two strokes ahead of Robbins and four better than Stanford.
'I've been introduced at every tournament the last year as the U.S. Open champion, but it never felt the same as it did coming back to the tournament itself, and being introduced as the defending champion,' she said. '(It) definitely got my nerves going.'
Five days before the birth of her first child in February, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc was swinging a golf club for fun.
Meunier-Lebouc is back to serious competition now, and her comeback is somewhat of a family affair as she's accompanied on tour by her husband, Antone, her mother and infant daughter, Phildine.
After a 4-under 67 Thursday, one stroke behind leader amateur Brittany Lincicome, Meunier-Lebouc said she has found a new perspective in motherhood and in her game.
'I'm really trying to work on my game, but at the same time I can't expect too much from myself. It's the best way to play golf because actually I'm enjoying myself so much,' Meunier-Lebouc said.
Meunier-Lebouc is looking for her second major title. She won the Kraft Nabisco in 2003 before becoming pregnant. She was back on tour 10 weeks after giving birth, and the Open marks her eighth event of the season. She's coming off a season-best fifth-place finish at Rochester.
'I'm not coming back to prove anything,' she said. 'I'm just trying to build a family at the same time I'm working hard ... and enjoying myself.'
With her father, B.J., back on her bag, 14-year-old Michelle Wie had her mother close by as well. Bo Wie was granted a special USGA pass to walk inside the ropes with her daughter's threesome on Thursday, rooting the young star on after every solid drive and clutch putt.
Bo Wie usually follows along in the gallery, so it was a first for mother and daughter.
'It was something I never experienced before,' Michelle Wie said. 'She was yelling pretty loud.'
USGA officials said players are allowed one special pass for the event and the guest must follow the same rules as media by staying within an arm's length of the ropes.
'Technically, it's for spouses and significant others, but we have a lot of very young players in the field. (They) tend to want somebody with them inside the ropes,' USGA spokesman Marty Parkes said. 'Players with 10, 15 or 20 U.S. Opens are pretty much unfazed by everything.'
Curtis Cup member Erica Blasberg, who just completed her sophomore year at Arizona, is turning professional after the U.S. Women's Open.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.