Seven straight birdies give Lewis lead at Evian Masters

By Associated PressJuly 26, 2012, 6:15 pm

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France – Stacy Lewis of the United States made seven consecutive birdies and tied the Evian Masters record with a 9-under 63 in the opening round on Thursday.

Her birdie flurry from holes 5-11, plus two more on 17 and 18, helped Lewis to a two-shot lead over Hee Young Park of South Korea.

''I didn't really have anything going the first few holes. I don't know what changed or clicked,'' Lewis said. ''It was just one of those days where you get into this rhythm. I was more happy to finish with the two birdies than even the seven, just to get some momentum going into tomorrow.''

Lewis, a two-time winner this year, matched three-time champion Helen Alfredsson's round of 63, set by the Swede in 2008.

''I know I've made six (birdies) in a row before, but I don't know if I've made seven ... I almost made eight,'' Lewis said. ''I definitely think this is one of the lowest rounds I've ever shot.''

It marked Lewis' career-low round. Her previous low was 64, which she shot in the second and fourth rounds of the LPGA Classic in June.

Park, who used a belly putter for the first time, made five straight birdies on the front nine.

South Korea's Ilhee Lee finished three shots behind Lewis. Colombia's Mariajo Uribe and Japan's Mika Miyazato are four behind after 67s. American Paula Creamer shot a 68.

Defending champion Ai Miyazato, who also won in 2009, had three bogeys on the back and finished with a birdie for a 71. She was joined by Inkster and Cheyenne Woods, Tigers Woods' niece, who trailed the leader by eight shots.

Michelle Wie, who tied for second place in Evian six years ago, finished at 73. Top-ranked Yani Tseng had a 76, compounded by a wild shot into the rough on the 18th.

Park, who failed to make the cut at the U.S. Women's Open three weeks ago, had a bogey on the fourth hole before her run of birdies. She added three more on the back nine. After shooting 6 under in the pro-am tournament on Wednesday, she sensed the belly putter would work for her.

''I have been playing 15 years, and I have never used the belly putter before,'' said Park, who won her only LPGA Tour title at last year's season-ending Titleholders. ''Then, like 10 days ago, I just changed (to) the belly putter.

''My people around me (were) saying 'Did you know that Ernie Els won (the British Open) last week with the belly putter? Did you see that?' Then I got more confidence.''

Wie struggled with her putting.

''I felt like I played a lot better than my score,'' Wie said. ''I hit it good, but it didn't go in, that was a bit frustrating and affected my momentum.

Tseng's shot on No. 18 landed deep in the rough at an awkward angle, just above the water. The five-time major winner saved par, but finished with five bogeys and one birdie.

Lewis, who finished 46th at the U.S. Women's Open three weeks ago, trained hard for the Evian Masters.

''Every year I've learned the greens here better and better,'' she said. ''I feel really good about my game. I just went back and worked hard these last couple of weeks, just mentally getting in a better place.''

Getty Images

Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”

Getty Images

Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:11 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.

He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.

Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.

“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”

Getty Images

McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:06 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.

McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.

“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.

Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.

“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”

Getty Images

DeChambeau comes up short: 'Hat’s off to Rory'

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 12:48 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Amid a leaderboard chock full of big names and major winners, the person that came closest to catching Rory McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational turned out to by Bryson DeChambeau.

While Henrik Stenson faltered and Justin Rose stalled out, it was DeChambeau that gave chase to McIlroy coming down the stretch at Bay Hill. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 were followed by an eagle out of the rough on No. 16, which brought him to within one shot of the lead.

But as DeChambeau surveyed his birdie putt from the fringe on the penultimate hole, McIlroy put an effective end to the proceedings with a closing birdie of his own to polish off a round of 64. DeChambeau needed a hole-out eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff, and instead made bogey.

That bogey ultimately didn’t have an effect on the final standings, as DeChambeau finished alone in second place at 15 under, three shots behind McIlroy after shooting a 4-under 68.

“I thought 15 under for sure would win today,” DeChambeau said. “Rory obviously played some incredible golf. I don’t know what he did on the last nine, but it was deep. I know that.”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

DeChambeau will collect $961,000 for his performance this week in Orlando, just $47,000 less than he got for winning the John Deere Classic in July. While he would have preferred to take McIlroy’s spot in the winner’s circle, DeChambeau was pleased with his effort in Sunday’s final pairing as he sets his sights on a return to the Masters.

“For him to shoot 64 in the final round, that’s just, hat’s off to him, literally. I can’t do anything about that,” DeChambeau said. “I played some great golf, had some great up-and-downs, made a couple key putts coming down the stretch, and there’s not really much more I can do about it. My hat’s off to Rory, and he played fantastic.”