Ladies Try to Get Over the Wall

By March 9, 2005, 5:00 pm
The Big Break IIIEditors note: The Golf Channels Big Break III ' Ladies Only is the third installment of this hit series. As the title suggests, however, this season is just for the ladies. The 10 contestants are vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
After the group had been cut down to seven, the ladies retreated to their condo to let off a little steam, enjoy a good, ol fashioned barbeque and get mentally ready for what twist might be thrown at them next.
Big Break III
The infamous Big Break wall had the ladies trying to take their games to new heights.
We had hotdogs flying through the air and hamburgers being flipped four feet into the air. Im surprised we actually salvaged enough to eat, recalled Danielle Amiee, on the previous evenings buffoonery, before reconvening the next morning for the Mulligan Challenge.
In what co-host Vince Cellini described as taking their game to new heights, the Mulligan Challenge had the women attempt flop shots over an imposing 10-foot high wall that had been erected just a few paces from a green. The top-5 players who hit their shots closest to the pin would move into the semi-finals, followed by the top 3 into the finals where a winner would be decided.
You couldnt see anything on the other side, so youre kinda trying to measure where the pin is going to be. I mean, you looked up and all you could see was wall, said Sarah Sasse, who got off to a rough start by blading her shot halfway up into the wall.
After two rounds of attempts, the three left standing were last weeks sudden-death Elimination Challenge winner Jan Dowling, along with Cindy Miller and Pam Crikelair.
At this point the wall had been raised several feet and the line had been moved closer to the wall.
When they added the second wall it got a little more intimidating. I just opened up my blade a little bit more, opened up my stance a little bit more and just got really aggressive with it, said Dowling, whose final attempt landed within two feet of the cup - good enough to win the mulligan.
With the short game test out of the way, it was time for the ladies to bring out the big sticks as the Skills Challenge was going to test the long ball.
A grid was painted down the fairway from the tee box and points were to be awarded on the distance each player could achieve. Bonus points were then given to those who could land their ball in the narrow middle zone for accuracy. Each player was to hit three successive tee shots, followed by a tallying of the scores, and then one final shot.
I put myself in that first tee position, Youre in a playoff for the U.S. Womens Open, this is critical. Put your drive in the fairway, said Liz Uthoff, who stepped it up with three long blasts down the pipe for a total of 13 points and put herself in good position for winning immunity from the Elimination Challenge.
Closest to Uthoff after the initial three attempts were Crikelair and Dowling, both of whom needed a big final bomb if they wanted to challenge for the immunity. Both, however, came up short and Uthoff was guaranteed to see another day.
After having so many stressful challenges, this was like, OK you get a day off, just relax, said a relieved Uthoff.
Big Break III
After hitting into a pond, Sarah Sasse was forced to take a costly drop.
It was now time for the Elimination Challenge where course management was to be key as well as trying to control the emotions of the situation.
Each player was asked to finish out a hole from two predetermined spots. One, from 190 yards away from the pin in the right fairway rough, with a pond guarding the green in front. The second from 50 yards off the green with several trees obstructing the flagstick. The contestant with the highest combined score from both positions would be eliminated.
Cindy Miller started things off and took dead aim at the green with a fairway wood, only to watch in agony as her approach was well short and heading into the drink. Then, much to her delight, the golf gods intervened and gave her a mini-Big Break as her ball skipped out of the water and safely onto dry land, just short of the green.
Luck helps. Every golfer gets some good luck, said Sasse about Millers fortunate turn.
Sasse herself, however, was not so lucky. Her approach also came out short and fell into the pond, which cost her a disastrous penalty stroke.
Her third shot found the greenside bunker and her subsequent effort barely made it out of the hazard. The resulting 7 left her a full three shots back of the nearest competitor as they headed to the second part if the challenge.
Only an opponent's complete collapse would keep Sasse in the ballgame.
I dont wish poorly on anyone, said Sasse positively of her dire situation. I dont hope somebody hits a bad shot so that Ill have another opportunity.
As it turned out, it indeed wasnt in the cards as her total of 10 strokes left her on the outside looking in and she was sent off the show, leaving just six.
Shes really, really hard on herself, remarked Miller about Sasses emotions on leaving the show. And I want to say, Sarah, you cant do that honey.
I know Im hard on myself and I think that its something that held me back in this competition, said the departing Sasse. Its disappointing but I dont deserve to go any further.
Be sure to tune in Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET when a conflict arises that causes friction amongst the ladies before the fifth contestant is ousted from the show.
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    After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

    Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

    On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

    Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

    After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

    Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

    A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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    Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

    “The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

    Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but 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 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

    Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

    “Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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    Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

    PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

    Laura Davies won the day.

    It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

    Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

    Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

    For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

    In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

    “I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

    At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

    “It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

    Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

    “It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

    With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

    “People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

    “Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

    She also relished showing certain fans something.

    “Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

    In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

    Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

    “The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

    After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

    “I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

    Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

    In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal 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 upon returning.

    “I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

    And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”