Pak leads through two rounds of Wegmans LPGA

By Associated PressJune 8, 2012, 11:13 pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – When Se Ri Pak rolled in a par putt on her final hole of the second round at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, she smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

Playing in her first tournament since injuring her left shoulder in early April, the Hall of Famer shot a 1-under 71 on Friday to take a one-shot lead.

'I'm happy to be back in this seat,' Pak said. 'Before I teed off, I knew it was tougher because of the wind. It was very difficult. I tried not to make big mistakes. I'm very happy about the finish. I got a couple of great up and downs.'

Pak was at 3-under 141, one shot ahead of Inbee Park (70), Paula Creamer (72), Mika Miyazato (72), and Sandra Gal (71).


Mell: Locust Hill beating down the field

Video: Round 2 highlights from Locust Hill


Defending champion Yani Tseng followed her opening 76 with a 75 to finish the two rounds at 7-over 151 and barely made the cut in a tournament she dominated a year ago.

'I did my best,' Tseng said. 'I hung in there.'

It was difficult for Pak and everybody else. After reaching 4 under with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17, Pak struggled through the front nine, making bogey at the par-3 seventh when she drove the right rough in front of the green and couldn't get up and down. She did salvage par on four straight holes on the front, though, after some errant shots to stay in front of the pack.

'Right now, I'm still not 100 percent,' said Pak, who often shook her left arm as the day wore on. 'I'm slowly better every day. I know it'll take a little while. I'm just trying to not push myself out there too much. Out of an injury, you don't have high expectations.'

First-round leaders Beatriz Recari, Giulia Sergas and Ryann O'Toole, fell off the pace on a day that a swirling wind added yet another challenge on the narrow Locust Hill Country Club course. Sergas and O'Toole shot 76, and Recari had a 78.

Cristie Kerr, the runaway winner in 2010, was 2 over after a 76. Slumping Michelle Wie missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 82.

For the second straight day, nobody was able to make a charge as a swirling wind added yet another challenge on the narrow Locust Hill Country Club course, forcing players and caddies to drop blades of grass to check the direction of the breeze before nearly every shot on a sunny, warm day.

A day after only 16 players broke par, just 12 did on Friday, and again only three broke 70. Eun-Hee Ji (68) had the lowest round of the two days and was in a six-way tie at 143. Mi Jung Hur and Karin Sjodin each shot 69 as the top of the leaderboard remained a logjam with 24 players within four shots of Pak. The cut was at 7 over, five strokes more than last year when Tseng shot 19 under and won by 10 shots.

Playing in a threesome with Creamer and Stacy Lewis, Tseng birdied No. 1 and seemed ready to make a surge, avoiding the thick rough that has transformed the course into a real challenge for the entire field.

Tseng hit four of her first five fairways and reached six of the first seven greens in regulation. She easily could have made three more birdies but missed short tries at Nos. 3, 4, and 5. Her drive at the par-3 fifth hole landed a foot from the pin and rolled slightly away, and she slid her 5-foot birdie try just past the left lip of the cup after Lewis had made birdie from nearly the same distance.

'I play so good the front nine,' Tseng said. 'Didn't make any putts. It could be so much a better score today.'

The frustration showed, and Tseng's tee shot at the par-4 sixth hole prompted a yell of “Fore!' from the officials as it sailed into the left rough. Tseng salvaged a par but bogeyed No. 7, then rallied with consecutive birdies to reach 2 under at the turn.

Tseng self-destructed on the back nine with five bogeys.

'I was shocked,' Lewis said. 'It's probably the worst I've seen Yani play over two days straight. Usually, if she has a bad day, she bounces back the next day. It wasn't the usual Yani.'

Lewis struggled, too, making four birdies and four bogeys to finish at even par for the second straight day.

'Today, the wind was brutal,' Lewis said. 'Once we hit nine, from then on it was blowing pretty hard. It was really hard, a lot harder than yesterday. In the middle of the back nine, I think I was counting down the number of holes we had left.'

The trio did have a few fleeting moments. All three birdied the par-3 ninth hole, Lewis chipping in from the fringe, and the large gallery following them roared in approval.

The celebration was short-lived. Lewis and Creamer each managed just one birdie and one bogey on the back side and finished the day pretty much where they started.

At least they were in the hunt.

'People knew how hard it was. They were struggling through it with us,' said Lewis, who won two of her previous three starts. 'You miss the fairway by an inch and you have no shot. You're making bogey at best. You have to keep your focus - you're going to make a bogey, you're going to make a bad swing - and just move on. I'm hanging in there.'

When Creamer blasted out of a sand trap at No. 16, sand blew back in her face as she watched her ball roll well past the cup and made bogey. A birdie at the par-5 17th hole left her at even par for the day.

'Where I'm at right now, I feel pretty good,' said Creamer, whose last victory on tour was the 2010 U.S. Women's Open. 'I've played well, I've played solid. I've made my mistakes, but at the same time I'm right in contention. There's a lot of golf left.'

Not for Grace Park. After 13 injury-plagued years on the LPGA, the 33-year-old South Korean announced her retirement.

'This last back nine I think I gave it my all,' said Park, who made the cut and said she planned to finish the tournament. 'I started to get tears in my eyes. It was very emotional.'

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CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream


Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Phil Mickelson

* This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

* For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

* He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

* This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.


Jon Rahm

* Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

* In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

* Last year he finished T-34 in this event.


Adam Hadwin

* Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

* In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.


Brian Harman

* Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

* Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

* Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.


Brandt Snedeker

* Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

* This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

* Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.


Patrick Reed

* Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

* This is his first start of 2018.

* Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.) 

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Teenager Im wins Web.com season opener

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Web.com Tour.

Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Web.com Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Web.com Tour event at age 20.

Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Web.com Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

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Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.


1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.