Notes Casey Ogilvy looking to do the impossible

By Doug FergusonJune 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Geoff Ogilvy and Paul Casey are among the hottest players coming into the U.S. Open, each having won three times around the world over the last seven months.
While neither is paying close attention this early in the year, they at least are poised for a potential run at history. No one has ever won the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same year.
Ogilvy is No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings in America on the strength of victories in the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the Accenture Match Play Championship. The latter is a World Golf Championship and counts on all tours, which has gone a long way in the Australian being No. 2 in the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
Casey won for the first time on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and was runner-up to Ogilvy at Match Play, which has helped push him to No. 10 in the FedEx Cup standings. The key on the PGA Tour is to be in position going into the FedEx Cup playoffs, which feature four consecutive $7 million events.
The Englishman also won the BMW Championship at Wentworth and the Abu Dhabi Championship, which has given him a sizable lead in the Race to Dubai.
The U.S. Open will count toward both money lists, as will the final two majors and the Bridgestone Invitational.
That would be pretty cool, Ogilvy said about the prospects of leading both money lists. No one has ever done it? Im sure Tiger has done it, hasnt he?
Before waiting on an answer, Ogilvy realized that Woods has never taken up membership on the European Tour by playing a minimum 11 tournaments and being eligible for the Order of Merit.

BIG BREAK: Few players deserve a good break like J.P. Hayes, and he finally got one.
The 43-year-old Hayes earned notoriety last year for disqualifying himself at Q-school on the PGA Tour when he discovered he inadvertently used a golf ball that had not been approved yet for tournament play. He has no status on Tour, so he had to go through local and sectional qualifying to reach the U.S. Open.
Hayes signed up for local qualifying near his home in El Paso on May 12, which was a Tuesday.
But it became complicated when he received a sponsors exemption to the Texas Open, which asked that in return he play in the Monday pro-am. Getting from San Antonio to El Paso was not only a long trip, but an expensive one.
Just his luck, he played in the pro-am with a prominent businessman from El Paso who flew to San Antonio in his private jet. He offered Hayes a ride home for the qualifier, where he shot 68 to make it by one shot. In the sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tenn., he again qualified on the number.
This is my sixth U.S. Open, and I wont have many left, Hayes said. Im going to enjoy this one.

WEATHER WOES: Weather is quickly becoming a major concern at this major championship.
Tiger Woods was delayed for about half an hour on the first tee Monday morning because of rain, then eventually got nine holes in, some of which actually took place in sunshine.
But more rain pelted Bethpage Black during the afternoon, leaving plenty of muddy puddles on walkways and further softening greens that could ' assuming anyone hits them ' be downright receptive this week.
Forecasters are calling for as much as a 50 percent chance of rain on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The two remaining practice days, according to the National Weather Service, likely will be mostly dry, but temperatures will be hard-pressed to crack the 70-degree plateau.
For Kenny Perry, the talk of bad weather brought up some memories from the last time this tournament was held at Bethpage. The 10th hole has a long carry to clear some overgrown grass, and during a downpour at the 2002 Open, Perry said Nick Price simply couldnt get the ball far enough.
He had a 3-yard landing area with the walkway there that he had to land in, Perry said. That will be a situation on that hole.
Maybe not. The fairway has been brought closer to the tee by some 40 yards, requiring only a 225-yard carry. That shouldnt be a problem in any weather.

AMATEUR SUCCESS: Amateur Bronson Burgoon knows hes one of the longest shots in the 156-man field at the U.S. Open. The Texas A&M standout put a shot from the rough, 120 yards from the hole, to within 3 inches of the cup to clinch the Aggies NCAA title last month.
But hes got some hope.
Already this year, two amateurs have won on the European Tour. Shane Lowry survived a playoff to win the Irish Open last month, and New Zealands Danny Lee won the Johnnie Walker Classic in February.
Over there the golf is just as good as it is over here, Burgoon said.
The 22-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas, also is finding some inspiration from this side of the pond as well.
I just think the level of competition as amateurs now has gone way up, Burgoon said. You know, like you can tell Anthony Kim comes out and does real well. Dustin Johnson comes out and does really well. Time and time again, people are just proving that young guys can play.
Perhaps the best example of amateurs on the rise: There are 15 amateurs in the field, the most since 18 amateurs in 1981.

DIVOTS: Darren Clarke made a detour on his way to Bethpage Black, spending the weekend at Pine Valley. Clarke shot a 67 the first day and a 72 on Sunday. Its hard, he said with a grin. But its pure. Tiger Woods played his practice round with James Kamte of South Africa, whose first trip to America has been one to remember. Kamte played with Jack Nicklaus at Muirfield Village the weekend before the Memorial, where he received an exemption. He played a practice round with Ernie Els at the Memorial. And then he played with Woods at Bethpage Black.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage -2009 U.S. Open
  • First- and Second-Round Tee Times
  • Sectional Qualifying results
  • Bethpage Black Ballpark
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.