Park halfway to third straight major at U.S. Open

By Associated PressJune 28, 2013, 11:31 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Inbee Park couldn't see her final tee shot past about 150 yards.

Nothing fazes the world's top-ranked player these days, though. Fog had rolled in off Great Peconic Bay, and the horn sounded with Park's group on the 18th fairway. The threesome finished out the second round of the U.S. Women's Open, with Park calmly sinking a birdie putt from 12 feet to move closer to history.

She shot a 4-under 68 on Friday for a 9-under total to lead fellow South Korean I.K. Kim by two strokes. Park is seeking to win the year's first three major championships; no one has accomplished that feat in a season with at least four majors.

Of the players yet to finish the round, the closest, England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff, was five strokes back with three holes to go.

Ha-Neul Kim, the first-round leader, had a 77 to fall to 1 under.


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Players were surprised Thursday to arrive at Sebonack to find the tees moved up and the weather calm – an easy course by U.S. Women's Open standards. On Friday, the setup and the conditions were more what they expected: The wind picked up and some pins were tucked into uncomfortable spots.

Then the mist settled in late in the afternoon session.

Of the 114 players who finished, only nine were under par for the round.

''With the wind and fog, it really made me think that's what the U.S. Open is all about,'' said Park, a five-time winner this year coming off consecutive victories.

Of the other players to complete the round, Lizette Salas was third at 4 under after a 72. Fellow Americans Angela Stanford and Jessica Korda were another stroke back. Stanford had a 68, and Korda shot 71.

I.K. Kim shot a 69 in the morning session.

''Anything under par I thought was going to be a great score,'' she said.

Kim seems to thrive under the demands of this tournament, finishing in third or fourth place three straight years from 2008 to '10.

But the closest she came to a major title came last year at the Kraft Nabisco - one foot away, to be exact. Needing just a short putt to clinch the championship, Kim watched the ball lip out on the 18th hole. She went on to lose in a playoff.

''Everybody has ups and downs,'' Kim said. ''Definitely finishing top five in the U.S. Open is not a bad place. But there's times that I was disappointed. I just have a faith - if you do your best, everything is going to be OK.''

Park's putting was not quite as impeccable as usual, but she made one of her toughest birdie tries of the day on No. 13, a 20-footer from the fringe, to tie Kim at 7 under.

On the par-5 15th, she sent her third shot to the back of the green, where it bounced off the fringe and rolled down to within a foot of the hole. Park tapped in for birdie and the outright lead.

''Everything that was closer was not going in, then everything that was further away from the hole was going in today,'' she said. ''It was weird.''

Her playing partner, second-ranked Stacy Lewis, had a rough day with a 76 that left her at 3 over.

Among the players still on the course were Michelle Wie, who was at 3 over for the round through 17 holes after an 80 on Thursday, and 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko, at 3 over for the tournament through 16. The round will resume at 7 a.m. Saturday, with the third round beginning around 10:30 a.m. Players will start in groups of three from the first and 10th tees.

Salas was frustrated that she barely missed several birdie putts, but she knows her 72 was a good score in the swirling wind Friday.

''You just can't be too greedy out here,'' she said. ''Just hitting fairways, hitting greens, that was my goal. Eventually the putts will drop.''

The wind stirred up more trouble following her round. Walking off the 18th green after saving par, Salas suddenly realized she had lost the scorecard she was keeping for Stanford. She deduced it was blown away while she was signing autographs, and after a couple of minutes it turned up in the hands of a spectator.

''I think he was trying to keep it as a souvenir,'' Salas said. ''I was asking everyone and no one saw it. And apparently some dude picked it up.''

The 20-year-old Korda has been one of the most consistent players this week with rounds of 70 and 71. Meanwhile, her 14-year-old sister, Nelly, was the youngest player in the field. Their father, 1998 Australian Open tennis champ Petr Korda, caddied for Nelly, who finished at 6 over – which would make the projected cut.

Stanford matched Park with the best score of the day. A decade ago at the U.S. Women's Open, Stanford reached a playoff, in which she made a 30-foot putt on the final hole. Then she watched Hilary Lunke hole a 15-footer for the win.

Stanford is still seeking her first major title at age 35.

Upset that she shot a 73 on Thursday in favorable conditions, Stanford found some patience in the second round – not a mindset that comes easily. She credited her caddie for some recent counsel: ''You've just got to pray for acceptance.''

''And I was like, whoa. I didn't see that one coming,'' Stanford said. ''Like I just need to accept certain things, and I think I've been very upset that I haven't won a major. ... So I think there is a level of peace right now and it's different. I'm not as mad as I usually am. I have a lot of great things to be thankful for, so I'm trying to enjoy this week, and I'm trying to enjoy the scenery.''

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.