Choi leads Open; high winds suspend Round 3

By Doug FergusonAugust 3, 2013, 6:45 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Inbee Park wanted tough conditions at St. Andrews to try to make up an eight-shot deficit in her pursuit of a fourth straight major.

It turned out to be too tough for anyone.

The third round of the Women's British Open was suspended Saturday by gusts that topped 40 mph and kept golf balls from staying put on the greens. After waiting six hours for the wind to calm, players were told to return Sunday morning for a marathon finish.

Whether that becomes a huge break for the leaders - Na Yeon Choi at 10-under 134 was an hour away from teeing off - won't be known until Sunday.

''It's still going to be windy tomorrow - not, hopefully, as windy as it's been today, but there's no letup in it,'' said Susan Simpson, head of operations for the Ladies Golf Union. ''It's still going to be very breezy and equally difficult conditions.''

How difficult?

Nine players who completed the third round had an average score of 78.2. Cristie Kerr and Lydia Ko each had a 75, the best of those who finished. Rikako Morita shot 86. The cumulative nine-hole scores for the 20 players who at least made the turn was 54-over par.


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There were 508 holes played, and only 26 birdies.

Park is trying to become the first golfer, male or female, to win four straight professional majors in the same season. Her hope was for a steady round in raging wind and for the leading players to lose ground. Park was 1 under through four holes, making a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 3.

But it was her par on the fourth hole that helped make officials realize it was time to stop. The ball moved from its position from a gust, and Park called for a ruling to make sure she could replace it as long as she didn't address the ball.

Simpson said it wasn't Park's ruling alone.

''The time frame for the balls actually moving was very short,'' Simpson said. ''We got five calls, all in the space of a few minutes. ... So I can't actually say which one was the last one that made the difference because it all happened so quickly. There was a gust of almost 40 mph, and with that singular gust, all the balls started to move on the five calls that we had. And we suspended play immediately.''

The most impressive round belonged to Anna Nordqvist, who was 1 under through 15 holes. Danielle Kang was even through 11 holes.

Everyone was to return at 6:15 a.m. Sunday to resume the third round. That means the last group of Choi and Miki Saiki is expected to tee off about 7:30 a.m. The draw will not change for the final round - players will head right back out, and if everything goes according to plan, the Women's British Open should finish around 6 p.m.

Choi had a one-shot lead over Saiki. Morgan Pressel was another shot behind.

Most of the trouble was around the loop - Nos. 7-11 on the far end of the Old Course that is exposed to the elements. Simpson said the wind reached a sustained speed of 30 mph, and during the suspensions, one gust was recorded at 50 mph.

Because more than half of the 69-player field did not finish, there is an option to scrap the third round and start over. Eighteen players had not even started the third round. Simpson said starting over was considered, but not for long.

''We had five groups complete the round, and while we took that into account and it was part of the discussions, it was quite quickly ruled out,'' she said. ''Because we don't feel that's fair to the players who have also competed and already played their rounds. We want to try to continue. Tomorrow, the conditions are meant to be difficult in the morning, as well.''

She said she spoke to all the players and their response was mixed.

''Some are delighted and some are not delighted,'' she said. ''And I think that's the way it works.''

Wind is the main defense of links courses, and St. Andrews is among the toughest of the British links in these elements because the Old Course is exposed. Simpson said officials prepared for a big blow Saturday by not cutting the green on the par-3 11th hole and being mindful of hole locations, making sure they were not on ridges. The greens were 9.4 on the Stimpmeter, compared with 10 the previous two days.

They just weren't prepared for this much wind.

Simpson said the tournament could be extended to Monday, if necessary, which would lead to chaos for the Solheim Cup captains, Meg Mallon and Liselotte Neumann. This is the final qualifying event for the Cup, which starts Aug. 16 at the Colorado Golf Club. They were to announce their captain's picks two hours after the Women's British Open is over, and Mallon said her 12-player team was to fly to Denver on Monday for a practice round.

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.