Henley Survives Rollercoaster 1st Day

By May 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
04 Henrico County OpenRICHMOND, Va. -- 'Big Break II' winner Kip Henley will have some serious catching up to do Friday following his opening-round even-par 72 at the Henrico County Open.
Henley currently sits in a tie for 122nd, well off the pace of a trio of players tied at 8 under. Last year the cut line came in at 7 under par while the winning score eventually stood at 30 under par. (See Kip's Round Shot-By-Shot)
Kip Henley
Kip Henley watches his opening tee shot at the Henrico County Open.
Henley, who got off to a rough start with a bogey at the first, still found it in him to remain upbeat.
It was kinda ugly, wasnt it? But I did hang in there, said Henley after completing his first round with a par saving putt at the 18th. I hit a lot of loose shots but Im still in the tournament even though I know Im going to have to take it deep tomorrow.
Trying to overcome first-tee jitters, Henleys drive at the first resulted in a tough lie in a fairway bunker which led to bogey.
He quickly settled down, however, and reeled off three straight pars before coming to the par-5 fifth.
After bombing a drive just off the fairway to the left, Henley laid up then stuck his approach to within 9 feet and then ran home the birdie putt to get back to even par for the day.
Things looked to be getting even better for the 44-year-old Tennessee native after he busted a drive at the par-4 seventh and his subsequent wedge shot left him 17 feet below the hole. He then proceeded to drain his second birdie putt of the day to seemingly go to 1 under.
It was here, however, that things suddenly took a disastrous turn.
As he walked to the next hole, he noticed that the ball he picked out of the hole after his birdie putt was not the same ball with which he had started the hole. His caddie, who also is Henleys sponsor, had inadvertently tossed him a different ball after cleaning it on the green.
Despite knowing that no one in the world would be able to tell the difference, Henley had no other option than to inform his playing partners at the next tee box of the infraction. The resulting two-stroke penalty left Henley at 1 over par instead of 1 under.
We had a little bit of craziness going on out there due to us being a little out of our element, said Henley on the miscue. Maybe I can settle down a little bit and maybe play better tomorrow.
Henley regrouped in a hurry with four straight pars before reaching the 608-yard, par-5 12th. A wayward tee shot left him in a bunker on the right side of the fairway. He laid up on his second shot and then left his approach shot some 25 feet short of the pin. With putter in hand, Henley drained the long birdie effort to get back to even par for his round.
Kip Henley
A familiar sight had Henley getting up close with the gallery throughout his round.
Fear? Geez, yeah! Shooting 87 and embarrassing myself and all my Big Break buddies and all the club pros and just making myself look bad, responded Henley on the emotions of his rollercoaster first round. But Ive got a lot of good friends back in Crossville (Tenn.) that I know are pulling for me.
He closed out his round with six straight pars, the final two coming with a pair of long, clutch par-saving putts.
His subsequent adventure on the 18th was indicative of his round as a whole.
After smashing his drive down the middle of the fairway, Henleys approach found the water guarding the 18th green. After a drop, his wedge landed 12 feet short of the pin. He then dropped in his putt to save par and finish at even-par 72.
I think I can do it, said Henley on his prospects going forward. If I drive it like I did today Ill be OK.
I hit a lot of loose wedges and a couple of fat shots and you can see I have a few holes in my game. But Ive got like seven or eight weeks to dam them all up and maybe Ill be able to do something special before much longer.
For the day, Henley found 8 of 14 fairways, hit 11 greens in regulation and totaled 27 putts.
To start here in this town and the way theyve been treating me has just completely been overwhelming. Its been pretty special, said Henley. I dont think I made a complete fool of myself, but I know I didnt play as well as I wanted to either. Im going to come out with both guns blazing tomorrow and maybe do something.
Added The GolfChannel's Jerry Foltz, who followed Henley for all 18 holes, 'I think he's got a lot to be proud of. He fought back hard after some adversity - he got a horrible lie on the first hole, another horrible lie on the second hole, a two-stroke penalty on the seventh green and from that point forward played 1 under par with a few more birdie opportunities. You know, he's just something special, he really is.'
Related links:
  • Kip's Detailed Rd. 1 Shot-By-Shot
  • Kip's Photo Gallery
  • Kip's Scorecard
  • Kip's Big Break Diary
  • Big Break II Home
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Henrico County Open
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    Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

    By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

    She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

    Her confidence is high.

    “Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

    Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

    Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

    “One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

    “I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

    Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

    “I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

    That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.

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    Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 2:09 am

    PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.

    While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.

    But then . . .

    “Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”

    In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.

    She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.

    With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.

    At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).

    Park’s back with a hot putter.

    That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.

    “The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.

    Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.

    “But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.

    Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.

    Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.

    They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.

    Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.

    “I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.

    “She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”

    Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.

    “I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”

    Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.

    “When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”

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    Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:57 am

    PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.

    It came on St. Patrick’s Day.

    “This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”

    Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.

    “First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.

    Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year.  Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.

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    Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:22 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”

    She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.

    That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.

    With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.

    Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.

    Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.

    Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?

    “I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”

    Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”

    Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.

    “I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”

    About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.

    “I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.

    Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.

    While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.

    “You never know,” she said.