Teen leads LPGA Kingsmill first round

By Associated PressMay 3, 2013, 12:00 am

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Ariya Jutanugarn was in attack mode all day at the Kingsmill Championship – and it paid off.

The 17-year-old Thai player birdied six of the first seven holes Thursday and was 8 under after 14 holes thanks to a radar-like short-iron game that left her with short putt after short putt.

''Today, I made a lot of shots,'' she said.

She missed only a few, all on the par-3 17th when she pulled her tee shot to the left, chunked her downhill approach short of the green, putted from the fringe well past the hole and missed the comebacker.

The double bogey took her out of contention for tying the course record of 62, but she rebounded nicely with a birdie at the finishing hole, capping a round with nine birdies and the double bogey.

On a day when the course remained wet from rain earlier in the week, the players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls, and the scores reflected it with 56 players finishing below par.

Cristie Kerr, the only two-time winner in the LPGA's eight previous visits to the River Course, had six birdies and one bogey and was alone in second after a 66. So Yeon Ryu and Dewi Claire Schreefel shot 67, and top-ranked Inbee Park, coming off a victory last weekend, second-ranked Stacy Lewis and former winner Suzann Pettersen were among 14 at 68.

For Jutanugarn, who said she was hitting the ball so close all day that the longest putt she had to make was from about 15 feet, bouncing back seems to be fast becoming part of her golf education.

Earlier this season, Jutanugarn took a two-shot lead into the final hole at the LPGA Thailand, and her aggressive style burned her. She went for the par-5 green in two and hit her second shot into a bunker, where it was embedded and she had to take a drop. She then overshot the green and finished with a three-putt triple bogey to lose by a shot.

''Very good experience. I never forget it,'' she said. ''It make me be stronger golfer.''

The following week, she finished fourth in the HSBC Women's Championship in Singapore, and less than a month later, won for the first time on the Ladies European Tour in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.

That victory has her atop the money list on the LET, and even though she doesn't qualify for the LPGA money list, her worst finish in three events is fourth and her earnings of $328,643 would rank eighth.

The Thailand experience also took any butterflies she might have felt away.

''I don't have any nerve anymore,'' she said.

The beneficiary of that collapse, Inbee Park, used the victory to help climb to the No. 1 ranking, and Park said Thursday that Jutanagarn will have a big advantage this week because she's a big hitter.

''She's a very talented player and I'm very happy that she's playing really good, especially after that finish on No. 18,'' Park said. ''It's always good to see somebody bouncing back like that.''

Park, who has three victories already this year, including last week in Texas, skipped this event last year and has never fared well in three previous tries, missing two cuts and tying for 16th.

That was essentially a different player, she said.

''My game changed a lot,'' said Park, in her fourth week at No. 1. ''The way I'm hitting the ball, the way I'm putting is totally different than what I've been doing four, five years ago.''

Not a long hitter, she struggled in the cold, windy morning before things settled down.

''On the back nine, everything just turned around and I started to hit the ball a lot better,'' she said.

The reverse was true for Ryu, who made the turn at 4 under and finished with nine consecutive pars.

''I think (after) the 4 under on the front nine that, maybe, I can hit the low score like 8 under, 9 under,'' she said. ''Then I expect birdie, birdie, birdie and my body's getting tight and my mind wasn't there, so it's really hard to finish great front nine and then turn on the back nine.''

Schreefel's round was steady throughout and included a rarity – three 2s on her scorecard.

''I like par 3s,'' said Schreefel, who finished 13th here last year. ''Greens in regulation is one of my stronger points, so I tend to kind of attack the pins there if I think the situation is suitable.''

He birdie putts on the par 3s came from 25, 12 and 7 feet, she said, and she also really attacked the pin at the par-5 7th, chipping in from about 15 yards for a birdie.

''I seem to like that hole because last year I made two eagles there,'' Schreefel said.

Among notables who struggled, defending champion Jiyai Shin shot a 70, eight strokes behind her course-record start last year, Paula Creamer finished at 2 under and Michelle Wie had a 1-over 72.


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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.