Notes Stupples Goes On Wild Birdie Streak

By Associated PressJune 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- After consecutive bogeys on the front nine, Karen Stupples told herself to be patient, the birdies would come.
 
Did they ever.
 
Stupples had birdies on six straight holes in the middle of the third round at the U.S. Women's Open on Saturday, putting herself in position to add another major title to the Women's British Open she won last year.

Stupples ended the day with a three-putt bogey on the difficult par-4 18th, but finished 1 over and was tied for the lead with teens Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel.
 
``The bogey can come very quickly out here and I had to try and maintain my patience because I was 3 over par,'' Stupples said. ``I know that I'm capable of making at least somewhere between two and five birdies a round.''
 
She did more than that.
 
It started on the uphill, par-4 ninth hole, where Stupples hit 3-wood off the tee and knocked a 7-iron to 20 feet. A five-footer at 10 followed, then she got up and down from a bunker on the par-5 11th. Stupples hit it to 8 feet on the par-3 12th, 5 feet at No. 13 and was 7 feet away on the difficult 14th.
 
And it could have been seven birdies in a row. Stupples' putt at No. 15 was on line, but came up just short.
 
``I wimped out,'' she said.
 
It was still good enough to put Stupples in the final group with Pressel for Sunday's final round. And of the eight players within two shots of the lead, she's the only one who knows how to close out a major.
 
The 32-year-old Brit proved that at last year's Women's British, when she opened eagle-double eagle and shot a record-tying 64 in the final round to hold off Rachel Teske.
 
Not bad for someone who didn't turn pro until she was 25 and toiled on the LPGA Tour in relative anonymity for five years before her breakthrough in 2004.
 
``Every year I have made little improvements in my game to try and see where I am and try to get better,'' Stupples said. ``Last year, it just happened in a big flash. All of a sudden I went 'Poof!' and got better very quickly.''
 
NERVOUS PERROT
Nicole Perrot was the surprise leader after a 1-under 70 in the second round moved her two shots ahead of Michelle Wie and Lorena Ochoa.
 
The pressure of leading the U.S. Open seemed to get to her.
 
Perrot opened the third round by missing a short putt for bogey and had four more bogeys on the front nine to turn at 6-over 41. The 2001 U.S. Junior champion from Chile gathered herself and shot 1 over on the back side, but finished the round 5 over -- four shots out of the lead.
 
``The first two days I really had two solid rounds, but today I didn't hit it as well and was more in the rough,'' Perrot said. ``I had putts that didn't make, and it was just one of those days.''
 
BAD TIMING
The final group of Michelle Wie and Nicole Perrot spent a good portion of the front nine on the clock because of slow play.
 
Tom Meeks, senior director of rules and competition, was in a cart monitoring the group from the fifth fairway when he said that Wie had 40 seconds to hit the shot. Meeks was counting the seconds over a minute when Wie backed off her 5-iron.
 
``Doesn't matter now. It's a bad time,'' Meeks said, before speeding off to tell Wie of her bad time.
 
``I didn't think I was playing that slow,'' Wie said. ``He told me I had a time of 1 minute, 37 seconds. After that, I was running around. I was out of breath.''
 
Perrot didn't handle it much better. She had four bogeys in six holes after learning they were on the clock.
 
``It was kind of tough to get focused (being timed) all those times,'' she said.
 
MALLON'S MISFORTUNE
After starting her round with a bogey, defending champion Meg Mallon used birdies on the seventh and 10th holes to get to 2 over -- just two shots off the lead.
 
Then disaster struck at the par-3 12th.
 
Mallon hit a 5-iron, thinking it would be the perfect club to put ball in the middle of the green. Instead, it hit into the bank fronting the green and hung up in the rough just beyond a pond.
 
Mallon tried to hit a pop shot with a wedge from there, but the ball hit into the hill and rolled right. Another attempt, same result.
 
Mallon finally got it on the green with her fourth shot and two-putted for a triple-bogey 6. She ended up with a third-round 75 and finished 7 over overall, six shots behind the leaders.
 
``I was going along really nicely and had a lot of momentum going and had a big momentum buster,'' she said. ``It was really disappointing because I felt like my game was in control and I was where I wanted to be in the tournament.''
 
DIVOTS
Co-leader Morgan Pressel got a scare on the 18th hole and it had nothing to do with golf. Walking next to the lake along the left side of the fairway, the 17-year-old jumped toward her caddie when a swan sitting on the shore flapped its wings. ``I wasn't paying attention and all of a sudden a saw this white thing out of the corner of my eye.'' ... Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was in the gallery watching Annika Sorenstam. ... Colin Cann, Paula Creamer's regular caddie, rode around in a cart to watch her play the third round. He's been off the bag since breaking his ankle at Kingsmill last month.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Women's Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


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    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm