Notes Lunke Tears Up USGAs Age Pairing

By Associated PressJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- When Hilary Lunke sank the winning put five years ago to become the first qualifier to win a U.S. Womens Open, she immediately began thinking about Interlachen.
 
This is essentially her home course, where she often played as a teenager at Edina High School. So excuse her for showing some emotion Thursday morning after teeing it up at 7 a.m. and hitting the tournaments first ball.
 
I thought I was prepared for it, but I had tears well up in my eyes and I was wishing I had a few more moments to kind of collect myself, said Lunke, who shot a 1-over par 74 for the first round.
 
Her husband, Tylar, had tears in his eyes, too, after the couple shared a post-round hug on the side of the 18th green.
 
It was kind of overwhelming, Lunke said.
 
Now with an 8-month-old daughter, Lunke has significantly cut back on her tour schedule this season. She missed the cut in all three events she entered; since that improbable victory at Pumpkin Ridge in 2003 she has finished no higher than 22nd place in any tournament. She tied for 64th at the Open in 2004, then missed the cut in the next three.
 
But this is a special weekend, no matter what happens.
 
What a unique experience it is, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come back here as a former champion and to play the greatest event in my sport in my hometown, Lunke said. To get a reception like that on the last hole is just awesome.
 
HALL OF FAME:
Laura Davies has gone seven years since her last LPGA Tour victory, still two points shy of the required 27 to get into the Hall of Fame. She could get there with a victory at Interlachen, because majors are worth two points.
 
Until I do it, its irrelevant, she said after opening the first round with a 3-under par 70 that had her three strokes behind the leaders. When Ive got enough points, Ill be in, and not before.
 
Davies is one of the best players from her generation, bringing power long before any of her peers had it and winning her first of four majors 21 years ago at the U.S. Womens Open. The 44-year-old English star has 20 wins on the LPGA Tour, plus 48 victories overseas. She has stayed true to her roots, continuing to make several trips across the Atlantic to support the Ladies European Tour.
 
Its safe to say if I would have played full-time in America, then I would have been in (the Hall of Fame) 10 years ago, Davies said. But I didnt, and Im not. And Ive got to get on with it.
 
Thats Davies, a throwback unwilling to make excuses or complain. She balked at the suggestion she bypass the performance-based LPGA Hall of Fame criteria and try to get the 65 percent vote needed for induction through the international ballot.
 
If I dont get in on merit, I dont want to be in, she said.
 
AGE DIFFERENCE:
The USGA put 13-year-old Alexis Thompson in a group with 53-year-old Martha Nause, the youngest and oldest players in this years field' one sporting pink braces and the other gray hair.
 
Thompson barely missed a 15-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole when it hugged the lip of the cup, settling for birdie and a 2-over 75. Nause double-bogeyed the par-3 fourth hole and finished at 5 over.
 
Im a little disgusted actually, she said.
 
Nause realized she was rusty, out of professional competition for nine years and having to qualify for this event. Shes currently the mens and womens golf coach at Macalester in nearby St. Paul, but she once finished eighth at the Open in 1987 and owns three LPGA Tour victories'including one major, the 1994 du Maurier Classic.
 
DIVOTS:
Bettina Hauert of Germany wore a white cap that said CADDY on the front. Her caddie wore a white cap that said PLAYER. Hauert opened with a 79. Tied with Michelle Wie at 8-over 81 after the first round was a junior-to-be at Kansas named Emily Powers, who is believed to be the first participant in The First Tee program to qualify for a major championship. With 206 chapters around the U.S. and four other countries, the 11-year-old First Tee program is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation to promote educational and character development through the game of golf.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.