Yang leads Lewis through 54 at U.S. Women's Open

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2015, 11:41 pm

LANCASTER, Pa. – Amy Yang shot a 1-under 69 Saturday and maintained a three-shot lead over Stacy Lewis through three rounds of the U.S. Women's Open.

The last twosome off, Yang answered every time Lewis tried to trim her three-shot deficit. The pair went toe-to-toe, giving the pairing a match-play feel.

The 25-year-old South Korean pushed her lead to four strokes at the 13th before Lewis capitalized on a two-stroke swing at the 14th, closing within two. But Lewis' struggles with putting carried over to the 17th, where she made a three-putt bogey en route to a 69, sending Yang's advantage back to three heading to the final round.

Yang's three-day total of 8-under 202 is the second-lowest in championship history behind Julie Inkster's 201 in 1999. Lewis was at 5-under 205.

On Moving Day, all the action was outside the top two spots.

In Gee Chun, playing in her first U.S. Open, shot a second 2-under 68. The 20-year-old from South Korea is alone in third place at 4-under 206. Japan's Shiho Oyama is fourth at 3 under after a 71.

Defending champion Michelle Wie played with nagging hip and ankle pain, firing a 68. She is in a four-way tie for fifth at 2-under 208, along with two-time winner Inbee Park (70).

History was made in the third round when South Korea's Chella Choi shot a front-nine 29, but the 24-year-old missed a three-foot putt on her final hole that would have tied the championship's single-round scoring record. She settled for a 6-under 64, shooting up the leaderboard and into the pack at 2 under.

On Sunday, Yang will be in a familiar position: playing in the last pairing on the final day. She has been in the last grouping two of the last three years, and in 2010. At Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014, she played with Wie, was overtaken by eventual runner-up Lewis and settled for fourth. In 2012, she finished second to Na Yeon Choi, and placed fifth in 2010.

Yang said she'll draw on those tournaments on Sunday.

''It was good experience, the last two - the final group experience,'' she said. ''Me and my coach, we prepared. We practiced hard. I'll go out there and I'll just do my best, like what I practice.''

Lewis, a two-time major winner, figures she needs to solve the slippery, sloping greens of Lancaster Country Club if she's to overtake Yang.

''It's just the severity of these greens,'' said Lewis, who is tied for 26th with 96 putts over three rounds. ''And the moment you do try to hit one of those down the hill, that's when you knock it five feet by. I don't think the speed of the greens is that inconsistent, I just think it's the slope within the greens.''

Chun is enjoying her run through her first U.S. Open. She was paired with two-time champion Karrie Webb on Saturday, saying she was 4 years old when the seven-time major winner turned pro. She offset three bogeys with five birdies in her round to stay in contention, albeit four strokes off the lead.

''Everything I experience here, it is new, completely new,'' she said. ''So this is an adventure to me. So tomorrow it's going to be the same thing. Everything is going to be very fun. I just want to be enjoying every bit of the time.''

The hilly course in the heart of Amish country is taking its toll on the hobbled Wie. At one point Saturday, the 25-year-old, four-time winner was kneading her hip and thigh, trying to loosen her muscles.

''I just feel like there's a knot in it sometimes and just trying to get it to go,'' she said.

''Unfortunately it does get a little bit worse. It's just a pretty hilly golf course. On flat lies, it's OK. It's just on the uphill shots,'' she said.

Wie, 57th after the opening round, finally got into red numbers with a birdie at the second, but struggled to stay below par on the front nine. She gave a stroke back at the fourth before following consecutive birdies at the sixth and seventh with back-to-back bogeys closing out the side.

She finally got on track on the back side, posting birdies on the 10th, 12th and 13th to reach 3 under. But she gave another stroke back at the 16th and limped in with pars.

Wie is refusing to let the injuries that forced her to withdraw from Kingsmill earlier this year hamper the defense of her major title.

''It was a long day today,'' Wie acknowledged. ''I'm glad to be done ... I've played with the pain for a while. I know what to expect, nothing is unexpected.

''I just feel like it's coming together. I just want to keep the good feelings going and keep improving on them, gaining confidence in my good shots and learn from the bad ones.''

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Rahm (62) takes early lead at CareerBuilder

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

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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.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."