Bob Burns Up Disney

By Mercer BaggsOctober 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. ' After making 19 birdies in three rounds and still missing the cut in last week's Invensys Classic at Las Vegas, Bob Burns made a declaration to his caddie: 'I'm going to win next week.
The power of positive thinking.
Burns, the 1998 Buy.Com Tour Player of the Year, became the 16th first-time winner on tour this season by shooting 7-under 65 Sunday to win the Disney Golf Classic, doing so in his 173rd career tour event.
That you can win after saying you are going to win, that is kind of what happened this week, Burns said. Maybe that is what I should do every week.
The worlds 241st-ranked player finished at 25-under-par 263, one stroke clear of overnight leader Chris DiMarco (68). World No. 1 Tiger Woods (63) finished alone in third, at 23-under.
'My hat is off to him,' DiMarco said of Burns. 'He came out here and beat me today and that's what it's all about out here.'
In my mind it was so simple, Burns said. Maybe I predestined myself this week to win by saying I was going to win and I went out and that is all I thought about.
Premium Video - Subscription Required Bob Burns talks about his win.
Woods started the day six back of DiMarco, and tied his career-best final-round score on tour. He made six birdies in a seven-hole stretch starting at the fourth, and added more pressure with birdies on 13 and 14.
After a ninth birdie at 17, he pulled a six-footer for birdie at the last to come up short of his third Disney title.
Its crazy to think thats the number you have to shoot to have a chance, said Woods, who has now finished outside the top 4 only twice since The Players Championship.
Thankfully, it was only 72 holes, Burns said. Give (Woods) nine more holes and he would have had it.
Burns, who entered the week 118th on the money list, earned $666,000 to surpass the $1 million plateau for the season. He has now made more money this year than in his previous five seasons combined.
But more importantly, he secured his tour playing privilege for the next two years, and wont have to attend Q-School, like he did in 1999 and 2001.
'I played year-to-year so much in my career, trying to finish in the top 125, trying to get over an injury, trying to get over some personal problems, trying to get over something each year and just maintain my playing privileges, said Burns, who got married less than two months ago.
Were trying to start a family. We got a lot of plans for both of us. It helps, definitely helps.
DiMarco looked predestined to win this week after opening in 64-63. But he could only manage a 1-under 35 on the front side both Saturday and Sunday. His penchant for pars allowed the field to catch, and eventually surpass him.
As many as nine players reached the 20-under mark as the final pair hit the inward half, with Burns leading the way at minus 23 thanks to his third straight birdie at the par-4 11th.
He continued to climb the leaderboard with a 15-foot birdie at 13. He said he was advised by his caddie not to look at the leaderboard until he reached 24-under.
We looked at 24. Next hole I birdied to go to 25, he said.
With Burns now at 25-under, Woods needed to birdie 18 to have an outside chance of winning. He stuffed his approach shot to six feet, but ran his last-chance effort two feet past the hole. He had to settle for par, and set the clubhouse target at 23-under.
I figured I needed to make that putt to have a chance, Woods said. I dont think that Ive played a round where I fired at this many flags, not used to doing that. But you have to.
DiMarco wasnt able to match the exhausting pace he set the first two days. Instead, he was simply exasperated. DiMarco, who made only one bogey over his final 58 holes, made just eight birdies over the weekend ' after making 17 birdies and an eagle in rounds one and two.
Burns parred his final four holes, but DiMarco's chance to add to his Phoenix Open victory earlier in the season ended when he missed an eight-footer for birdie at 17. He birdied the last, but it only managed to break a second-place tie with Woods.
'I think that's the third time I've shot 24-under and lost,' DiMarco said.
Burns had a chance to win earlier in the year. After acing the par-3 11th to take a two-shot lead in the final round of the Kemper Open, he made double bogey at the par-4 16th when his approach shot ' which should have finished some 15 feet from the hole ' bounded off the dried-out greens and into a trough.
He eventually finished tied for third, but as he explained this past Thursday: 'I hit the shot I was trying to hit in the fairway (on 16) hopefully, Im right there again with three holes to play, you know, and Ill be able to pull off the shot that I want to.
This time it wasn't one shot in particular; it was 65 of them that got the job done.
It has been a long time and a lot of balls hit and a lot of putts on the practice greens and a few sleepless nights and early tee times, but here we are, he said. Thats what its all about.
Final results from the Disney Golf Classic
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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.