The Wait is Over as Third Round Underway

By Associated PressJune 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. WomenSOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- Angela Park shot a 69 to finish at 5-under 137 and take a two-stroke lead Saturday over three others after two rounds at the U.S. Women's Open, where Michelle Wie withdrew with a lingering wrist injury.
Park, whose opening-round 68 was best in the field at Pine Needles, saved par with a 30-foot putt on No. 18 and secured the lead over Amy Hung, Jiyai Shin and Julieta Granada heading into the third round, which officials hoped to start later in the afternoon.
'My caddie told me I spent the least amount of time reading that putt out of all the putts today,' Park said. 'I hit it and it went in, so keep it simple.'
The 18-year-old LPGA Tour rookie -- who was 3 under after the first round and didn't take a shot Friday because of weather delays and a late start time -- continued to establish herself as a legitimate contender in a tournament previously dominated by thunder, lightning and Wie's abrupt withdrawal.
Wie, who shot a first-round 82, was at 6 over through the back nine when she sent her tee shot on No. 1 into the left rough. Immediately after striking her second shot, she approached USGA personnel and walked off the course.
'I just kind of woke up, and it was really sore,' Wie said of her left wrist. 'But it was OK. It held up. ... I tweaked it. And then after that it kind of went downhill. I don't remember hurting this much again.'
Morgan Pressel was at 3 under at one point before bogeying two of her final four holes, including one that followed a poor tee shot on No. 18 to finish with a 70, four strokes behind the leader.
'I didn't really have too many opportunities to mess up out there, and I certainly had more birdie opportunities that I could have converted,' Pressel said.
The player who supplanted Pressel as the youngest qualifier in Open history -- 12-year-old Alexis Thompson -- finished the final five holes of her round, with two bogeys and a double-bogey putting her at 16 over.
'I saw what I have to be, what my game has to be like, what has to be good in my game, my short game if you miss the green,' Thompson said. 'So I'm going to work on that -- I'm going to work on everything -- but it was an awesome experience.'
It wasn't that way for a former Women's Open champion at Pine Needles.
Karrie Webb, the 2001 champion who opened with an 83 for the worst score of her career, offset consecutive birdies with a double-bogey on No. 10 to finish 12 over and well beyond the projected cut of 6 over.
'I got into a bit of a funk, then I didn't swing it well,' Webb said.
Meanwhile, 1996 winner Annika Sorenstam finished her second round at 5 over with a par on No. 9.
And, as the case has been all week, the threat of severe weather continued to loom large, with organizers mapping out contingency plans for Monday and hoping to avoid a third straight day of delays.
'This area has gone for weeks on end without any kind of weather,' said Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition. 'And bring the USGA to town, and it's amazing how we can change weather patterns.'
Just ask Janice Moodie.
She didn't bother with a caddie Saturday morning to complete her second round. The Scot was less than 3 inches from closing her round Friday when lightning threatened and the horn abruptly sounded to stop play.
So after daybreak she returned to the 18th green with only her putter, tapped in a gimme putt to finish her 76 -- then turned around and went back home.
'I think I might have squeezed it (Friday) if we had just gone ahead,' Moodie said. 'It's just one of those things, isn't it? The horn's got to be blowing sometime. It just happens to be when I'm doing my first putt.'
It's been that kind of week so far at Pine Needles, where Mother Nature has dominated the field.
With threats of thunder and lightning during the first two days, some players were left to spend more time with pool cues and pingpong paddles in the clubhouse rather than putters on the practice green.
'This tournament is just a championship of patience,' Pressel said.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.