Rose Keeps Lead Palmer Steps Aside

By Associated PressApril 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The King said goodbye. The Masters is now in the hands of a kid.
Arnold Palmer walked up the 18th fairway one last time Friday to an ovation longer and louder than any other in his 50 years at Augusta National, unable to hold back tears as he reflected on a career built on Sunday charges, green jackets and an army of fans.
'It's not fun sometimes to know it's over,' Palmer said.
For 23-year-old Justin Rose, the fun might just be starting.
Rose, the youngest professional in the field, played a steady hand under an increasing spotlight with a 1-under 71, including a superb bunker shot to save par on the final hole for a two-shot lead.
'Playing under pressure for the right reasons is fun,' said Rose, who missed his first 21 cuts after turning pro. 'Playing under pressure for the wrong reasons, that's awful. This is much, much better.'
On a wild day of charges and collapses, the Englishman rarely got into trouble and finished at 6-under 138 to lead Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain and Alex Cejka of Germany.
Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, quickly renewed his hopes with an eagle-birdie-birdie stretch on the back nine and a 3-under 69. He and Cejka (70) each bogeyed the 18th hole and were at 140. Phil Mickelson got into the mix for his first major, getting a huge break on the par-5 13th when his ball stopped short of going into Rae's Creek. He turned a bogey into a birdie and shot 69, three shots out of the lead.
And don't count out Tiger Woods just yet. Instead of throwing his clubs, he threw his fist into the air with a 40-foot birdie putt on the 16th for a 69 that left him six shots behind.
Still, the day belonged to a 74-year-old man who missed a 4-foot putt on the final hole for an 84.
Then again, no one cares what Palmer shoots, they just love to see him play.
The gallery was 10-deep before the King even arrived on the 18th tee, and it seemed as though everyone on the course -- players, caddies and dozens of Augusta National members in green jackets -- were there for the end.
'When I look out into the galleries and I see them wishing me good luck, and I think how much I owe them ...' Palmer said, his voice cracking.
He couldn't go on, bowing and wiping tears from his eyes.
'I guess it's more difficult for me because I'm sort of a sentimental slob,' he said.
The stage now shifts to a younger generation that reflects the global state of golf.
Three Europeans were at the top of the board. K.J. Choi of South Korea tied a Masters record with a 30 on the front nine, only to follow that with a 40. Still, he was at 3-under 141 with Mickelson.
Charles Howell III, who grew up five minutes from the course, had a second straight 71 and was in a large group at 142 that included Ernie Els (72), Fred Couples (69) and Davis Love III, who charged into contention with a 67, matching Steve Flesch for the best round of the week.
It all starts Saturday with Rose, who lacks major championship experience but certainly not the scrutiny.
It all starts Saturday with Rose, who lacks major championship experience but certainly not the real-life variety.
Along with missing the cut in his first 21 tournaments as a pro, Rose's father and coach, Ken Rose, died in September 2002 of leukemia just one month after watching his son play his first major in the United States.
'Not to say that leading a major is easy, but I think I am lucky in a lot of ways in terms of, at the age of 23, I feel like I can draw on a couple of things that have happened to me,' Rose said.
Rose has felt plenty of pressure before.
He finished fourth at the '98 British Open when he was 17, and he became Britain's rising star when he decided to turn professional a week later. Then, Rose went 21 consecutive tournaments before he finally cashed a check.
'Trying to make my first cut, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself,' Rose said. 'And when I finally did, it was like winning a tournament. Those sorts of experiences will be what I draw from.'
Rose said he never looked at a leaderboard in the second round, relying on the vibes from the gallery to let him know he was the guy everyone was chasing.
He might not have that luxury on the weekend.
'As you get close to the finish line, you know what's up for grabs,' Rose said. 'And I'm sure it will get tougher.'
Only 13 players were under par as Augusta National began to dry out under a steamy sun, and six of those guys have won major championships.
Twenty players were within seven shots of the lead.
'Anyone in the red has a chance on the weekend,' said Mark O'Meara, who had a 70 and was in the red at 1-under 141.
His buddy Woods might take exception to that.
Woods dragged himself back into contention with a 69 that left him at even par, only six shots out of the lead and one good round Saturday from being a legitimate threat.
'I'm still here,' Woods said, a subtle dig at those who suggested he might not extend his record cut streak to 121. 'You have to take baby steps. I got back to even, and that's viable.'
The cut was at 4-over 148.
Because anyone within 10 shots of the lead makes the cut, Rose knocked out several players with his par save from the bunker on the final hole.
Among them was Mike Weir. He made three straight bogeys in the morning to finish his rain-delayed first round at 79, the highest ever by a defending champion. The Canadian still had a chance to get to the weekend, but bogeyed the 18th when his approach sailed over the green.
John Daly also bogeyed the last hole to miss the cut by one shot.
Rose knows how they feel, but that now seems so long ago. The kid is after a green jacket this weekend.
Related links:
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  • Arnold Palmers 50th Masters
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    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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    Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

    By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

    PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

    Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

    Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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    Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

    PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

    With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

    After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

    “I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

    It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

    Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

    “It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

    Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

    “Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

    Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

    Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

    “It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

    Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

    “This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

    Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.