Wie leads again; play suspended in Arkansas

By Associated PressJune 28, 2014, 11:09 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Whether it's because of her improved play or the reason for it, Michelle Wie appears as comfortable on and off the golf course as at any time in her career.

Wie continued her season-long surge Saturday, shooting her second straight 5-under 66 to take a two-shot lead in the suspended second round of the NW Arkansas Championship.

The performance put the U.S. Women's Open champion within a round of back-to-back wins for the first time in her LPGA career, not that she showed any signs of stress after reaching 10 under overall.

In fact, shortly after surging into the lead at Pinnacle Country Club, Wie joined PGA Tour pros Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley as part of a social media challenge in dumping a bucket of ice water on herself on the driving range.

Yes, life is good at the moment for Wie.

''I think it comes hand in hand,'' Wie said about her winning and revamped attitude. ''... I played really well toward the end of the year last year ... took a lot of time off, took about a month and a half. So, I just felt really refreshed, and I think it comes hand in hand.''

All 72 players in the afternoon session were unable to finish on Saturday because of thunderstorms, with second-round play expected to finish early Sunday before the final round begins later in the morning.

Before the rain arrived, the morning pairings were once again left chasing Wie - who earned her first major victory at the U.S. Women's Open last week at Pinehurst after winning earlier in the season in her home state of Hawaii.

So Yeon Ryu, paired with Wie, was second at 8 under after her second straight 67, while Suzann Pettersen, Chella Choi and Line Vedel were three strokes back. Pettersen had a 67, Choi shot 65, and Vedel had five holes left.

Top-ranked and local favorite Stacy Lewis was four shots behind at 6 under, a week after finishing a shot behind Wie at Pinehurst. The two are training and practice partners in Florida, and Wie couldn't help but challenge her friend to the ice bucket shower after her dousing.

''Michelle's obviously playing some really good golf,'' Lewis said. ''I'm going to have to shoot a good number tomorrow. ... At least I put a good number up today, and we'll see what happens tomorrow.''

Lewis made the early charge Saturday to close within a shot of first-round leader Alena Sharp, much to the delight of the pro-Arkansas crowd - where Lewis played collegiately.

For the second straight day, however, Wie saved her best for the back.

She jumped into contention with a 4-under 31 on the back nine Friday. After teeing off on the back nine Saturday, she once again closed with a flurry - birdieing four of her final seven holes to shoot a 4-under 32 and surge into the lead.

She putted 29 times Saturday, a day after needing 28 putts in her opening round using her more hunched-over style.

''These days, Michelle's on fire,'' Ryu said. ''I played with her today and yesterday, and her putting was awesome. I think that's why she could win a major tournament.''

Wie put the finishing touch on her round - and quest for a second straight tournament victory - with a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 9 that put her within reach of back-to-back wins.

''I just want to kind of get through tomorrow,'' Wie said. ''But at the same time, it is definitely in the back of my mind ... If I can get it done, hopefully it will happen.''

Wie held off Lewis by two shots to win her first major title in the U.S. Women's Open. Playing a group behind Lewis on Saturday, Wie bogeyed her second hole, No. 11, and recovered with a birdie on the par-5 14th.

She followed that with a second straight birdie on a par 5, getting up and down off the fringe on No. 18 to reach 6 under. Her birdie spree followed on the front nine, with large galleries following both Lewis and Wie.

Lewis followed a sluggish first round in which she putted 31 times by needing only 24 putts on Saturday. She stumbled with a bogey out of the greenside bunker on the par-3 fourth hole before recovering with birdies on No. 5 and 9.

She'll need more of the same if she or anyone else is to catch Wie on Sunday.

''It's going to have to be something pretty low,'' Lewis said. ''The way Michelle and a lot of those girls play, they're not really going to come back to us.''

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.