Lewis has 'easy day' at Pinehurst No. 2

By Doug FergusonJune 19, 2014, 11:47 pm

PINEHURST, N.C. – Stacy Lewis had at least one thing in common with U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer. She made it around Pinehurst No. 2 without a bogey Thursday in the opening round of the U.S. Women's Open, and that put her in the lead.

That was about the only worthy comparison after one day of golf's unique doubleheader.

Lewis managed to keep the stress at a minimum on a steamy morning in the North Carolina sandhills for a 3-under 67, giving her a one-shot lead over Michelle Wie when the opening round was halted because of storms in the area.

''It was such an easy day,'' Lewis said, referring to her game more than the golf course. ''I played really, really solid, other that I had to make a few par putts. But other than that, I didn't put myself in too bad of spots and made a few birdies.''

Wie made four birdies on the back nine, and a 10-foot par save on the par-3 17th hole, for a 68.


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Comparisons were inevitable for such an occasion - the first time the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open were held on the same course in back-to-back weeks. Pinehurst No. 2 was 1,064 yards shorter than it was for the first round last week.

That didn't make it any easier.

Lewis, the No. 1 player in women's golf, and Wie were among five players who broke par when play was suspended with 30 players still on the course. Kaymer led 15 players under par in the first round last week. The scoring average for the women was 75.73, about 2 1/2 shots higher than the opening round for the men.

Former Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu, Katherine Kirk and 18-year-old amateur Minjee Lee were at 69.

''I think we put on a great show,'' Wie said. ''There are a couple of red numbers out there. There are a lot of people hovering around even par. But I think it's great. I love that we are playing on the same stage as the men. I think it's really interesting. It makes it very exciting.''

The show belonged to Lucy Li, the 11-year-old from the Bay Area who became the youngest qualifier in U.S. Women's Open history. She missed only one fairway and was rarely out of position, though it cost the sixth-grader dearly when she was. Li made one triple bogey and two double bogeys, three blemishes on her card that led to a 78.

''I mean, it's 8 over,'' Li said. ''It's not bad. But I was 7 over in three holes, so that's 1 over in 15 holes. So yeah, I just need to get rid of the big numbers.''

There were plenty of those to go around.

At least 17 players failed to break 80, including Laura Davies. She had an 82, her worst score in a Women's Open since Cherry Hills in 2005. Perhaps more shocking was Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr and defending champion Inbee Park, each of them at 76.

Karrie Webb and Paula Creamer were at 70. Juli Inkster, at 53 and playing in the Women's Open for the 35th time, had a 71.

''I don't think the course is on the edge at all,'' Webb said. ''I think the USGA had to be a little bit cautious. We haven't played a tournament here with this course setup before, and it is the second week. So I think they're probably trying to see how the course is playing, just to see where they're at with the golf course. I think they were just sort of seeing how we handled it.''

Lewis and Wie both studied for Pinehurst No. 2 in their own way.

Lewis played a practice round at Pinehurst a few weeks ago. Instead of showing up on Sunday to watch the men in the final round, she paid close attention over the weekend how Kaymer played on his way to an eight-shot victory. Much like the German, her preferred shot is a fade.

''It was cool to see the plan I had laid out in my head. He was kind of doing the same thing,'' Lewis said. ''So it was nice coming into the week knowing that my plan was going to work on this golf course. I thought that somebody, like the guys, can run away with this. If you're hitting the ball well enough, you can definitely run away with it. At the same time, you have to know par is a good number and keep grinding away.''

Wie, who now lives in south Florida, had the yardage books from U.S. Open runner-up Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley. Studying as hard as she did when she was at Stanford, she took a little from each of them and could be headed for another week in contention at a major. Wie was in the last group at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

''I did a lot of homework,'' she said. ''Just took the notes from both of the books. It really helped just because they played last week in similar conditions. And they're obviously great players. I definitely learned a thing or two.''

Her putter helped. She rolled in long birdie putts at Nos. 12 and 14, made the good par save after going into a bunker on the 17th and hit her approach to 5 feet on the final hole. It was her lowest opening round in a U.S. Women's Open. She had started with an 80 or higher four of the last six years.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.