Even after first round struggles, women having a blast at Am Tour Championships

By Mike BaileySeptember 11, 2012, 2:50 am

Kathy Provazek and Jeff Ross are both competing in the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships in Ponte Vedra Beach. 

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Many of the players here at the Golf Channel Am Tour Championships are making a week of it in the Jacksonville area, but Kathy Provazek and husband Jeff Ross are doubling their pleasure. That's because they're both competing, but in different divisions that don't play at the same time.

Ross, 59, played in last week's senior championship, tying for eighth in the Hogan Flight, while 49-year-old Provazek just completed her first round on Monday on the Ocean Course at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The Seattle couple arrived on Sept. 1 and don't leave until Friday. They've been playing in this event for the past five years.

'It's great,' said Ross, who has been married to Provazek for seven years now. 'We get to play the same courses. She'll ask me about the courses, and then I'll hear about every shot on every hole.'

Both players have similar handicap indexes. Ross is a 7.4 and Provazek is a 7.2, though she didn't have a good round on Monday, shooting 97 when 'everything and anything pretty much went wrong,' she said.

'We have so much fun doing this together,' Provazek said. 'And we're competitive with each other.'

Second marriages for both, Ross and Provazek were set up on a blind golf date at a nine-hole couples outing at their home club, Fairwood Golf & Country Club in Renton, Wash. Three holes into the date, they knew they had chemistry, and the rest has been history.

Provazek, a retired radiation therapist, gets to play about every day. Ross wishes he could, but still works as a financial advisor, which he will do remotely while his wife competes this week. In fact, he has an overnight business trip planned for Chicago on Wednesday, but will return to see how his bride fares on the final day.

Next year, the two will have a shorter stay, however, as Provazek will turn 50 in time to play in the senior division at the Golf Channel Am Tour Championships slated for PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.

16 women take on the men at Am Tour National Championships


Am Tour competitor Robyn James has colorful headcovers and names for her clubs. 

Provazek is one of just 16 women in the field this week, and for the most part, they're treated no differently than the men, though they do get to play from shorter tees. But not much shorter. The yardages, for example, in the Palmer Flight on the two courses at the TPC Sawgrass are about 6,100 yards, which can make for some long approach shots.

Robyn James found that out firsthand on the Dye Valley Course at the TPC Sawgrass on Monday. Not only did it play long, but the rough was up as well, making for a difficult day for the 2-handicap from Shelby, N.C. 

James struggled to a 93 with several bad breaks, including having the ball fall of the tee right in the middle of her downswing on one hole. She barely nicked the ball as it came off the tee, and the ball traveled just a few feet.

'I just got my putt out of the way early,' she said with a laugh.

She also does something else unusual: She names her clubs and if you look at her notes during a round, each shot is noted by their proper nouns. For example, her driver is 'Max,' and her 7-iron is 'Sally,' the latter of which has been responsible for an eagle as well as a hole-in-one. In case you're wondering, she doesn't name her golf balls.

'I find it far easier to have a relationship with my clubs,' she said. 'They're going home with me at the end of the day.'

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."