Scores high as weather disrupts play

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' The PGA Championship looked a lot like the U.S. Open, with only seven players under par when darkness finally covered Oakland Hills on Thursday and put The Monster to sleep.
 
It sounded like a U.S. Open, too.
 
'Theres only one guy whos going to like this place by the end of the week, Ben Curtis said.
 
Robert Karlsson
Robert Karlsson has his sights set on a fourth consecutive top-10 finish in a major. (Getty Images)
Jeev Milkha Singh and Robert Karlsson found it agreeable enough after each shot 2-under 68 in the pleasant morning conditions, before thunderstorms stopped play for 90 minutes in the afternoon. Andres Romero of Argentina was 2 under through 16 holes, the only late starter under par and among 18 players who did not finish the first round.
 
Kenny Perry finished the round, but he wont finish the tournament. Playing in a major for the first time this year, Perry withdrew after a 79 because of an eye injury.
 
The calendar says August. It sure seemed like June, with firm fairways, thick rough, hard greens and plenty of opinions.
 
A great test of golf and patience, Singh said.
 
It was a real beast today, said Ernie Els, who overcame a double bogey after the rain delay to shoot 71.
 
It was easy to lose patience on a course that was punishing from the opening tee shot to the final putt. The rough is the thickest for a U.S. major this year, the Donald Ross greens at Oakland Hills are as frightening as Augusta National and the scoring chipped away at the PGA Championships recent reputation as being the major to make birdies.
 
The course is 7,500 yards long, the greens are firm and the pins are tucked away, Lee Westwood said after finishing with six straight pars to salvage a 77. They are sucking the fun out of the major championships when you set it up like that.
 
I sound as if Im moaning'which I am'but its a great shame, he said. Its a fantastic golf course. They are great greens and they are playable. But there is no need to play it as it is.
 
Such comments typically are reserved for a U.S. Open, and the similarities didnt stop there. The rough is so thick that players rarely reached the green after missing the fairway, and caution was required for every putt on greens that became so crispy in pleasant sunshine that tournament officials hosed down three of them throughout the day.
 
Even so, the best golf was rewarded.
 
Sergio Garcia struck the ball solid as ever, holed one long putt, limited his mistakes and joined a group at 69 that included Billy Mayfair, Ryder Cup hopeful Sean OHair and Ken Duke.
 
Phil Mickelson was in three bunkers before he reached his second green (No. 11), was 2 over for his round and somehow managed a 70. He made only eight pars, but among his five birdies was a 35-foot putt down the scary slope on the 16th, followed by a 4-iron that rolled within 18 inches for a birdie on the 238-yard 17th.
 
Im just happy to have shot even par today, he said.
 
Anthony Kim overcame five bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 second hole that carried him to a 70, joining the likes of former U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, Rod Pampling and Michael Allen, the last alternate into the field.
 
Karlsson, the only player to finish in the top 10 at all three majors this year, opened the fourth one with a shot that bounded off a cart path over the first green and led to double bogey. He answered with three straight birdies and reached 4 under for his round until missing the green for bogeys on 14 and 15 and settling for a 68.
 
How does someone start with a double bogey and not lose his cool, much less his mind?
 
Try to remember that I actually can play golf, even though it didnt look like that on the first hole, Karlsson said. My caddie said, Remember, we played with Tiger in the U.S. Open. And I think he took 6 down the first hole pretty much every day. So you can shoot a good round from here as well.
 
But such rounds were hard to find.
 
Its a U.S. Open at the moment, said Geoff Ogilvy, who won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006 without breaking par in any round and failing to do that Thursday with a 73. This is one of the clubs that prides itself on how hard it is. I dont think anyone expected it to be easy. It wouldnt be a monster if it was.
 
Ben Hogan gave Oakland Hills its nickname when he won the 1951 U.S. Open and said he was glad he brought this monster to its knees. The Monster played like it was on steroids, especially after Rees Jones lengthened it to just under 7,400 yards.
 
His redesign did not meet everyones approval.
 
If you had Rees Jones redo Scrabble, hed leave out the vowels, Paul Goydos said after a 74.
 
Players knew what they were getting into after three days of practice. The surprise came when they got on the golf course Thursday and found it firmer than ever, with balls rolling on the fairway and crusty footprints visible on the greens. Mickelson hit what he thought was a perfect tee shot on No. 10 with a hybrid, only to learn that it rolled all the way into a bunker.
 
Karlsson, however, managed to make six birdies. And the other Singh'Jeev is from India and plays the European tour'made only three bogeys on a course that was significantly harder than he had seen during practice.
 
His best birdie might have been a 3-iron to 20 feet on the 17th.
 
To stop the ball on that green when theres a lot of breeze from behind, that was good, he said.
 
Singh fits the mold of someone who would thrive in the majors this year. He came to Oakland Hills with an ankle injury he has been coping with the last two months, so severe that doctors have recommended a month of rest.
 
Trevor Immelman won the Masters four months after having a benign tumor cut out of his back. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on one good leg. Padraig Harrington wasnt sure he would be able to play'much less win'the British Open because of a wrist injury.
 
Singh said he had to be careful walking the hills on this course. The only time it really hurts during his swing is when he hits driver.
 
And you do need to hit a lot of drivers on this golf course, he said.
 
Jim Furyk is among those who like the course firm and fast, and he was satisfied with a 71 that put him in the group with Steve Stricker, who is No. 8 in the Ryder Cup standings.
 
The nightmare belonged to Hunter Mahan, who is 10th in the U.S. standings, was the runner-up at Oakland Hills in the 2002 U.S. Amateur and posted his highest score as a professional'an 81.
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''