Pettersen Makes Most of Mulligan

By Mercer BaggsJune 10, 2007, 4:00 pm
McDonalds LPGAA mulligan, as we as know, is a do-over. But more so than denoting a chance to hit a secondary tee shot, the word, in general, stands for a chance to right a wrong.
It is officially unknown as to mulligans origin. Most, though not all, of the stories in some way involve golf. And it is the sport with which the word is most often associated.
Suzzan Pettersen
Suzann Pettersen celebrates her first major victory. (Getty Images)
Mulligan seems to have an unfavorable connotation. It implies that you have done something negative and need another opportunity to turn it into something positive. But in many situations, whether in golf or in life, a mulligan is a good thing.
Because its not about whats happened in the past; its about having the opportunity for atonement. And what you do with it.
A few ladies had such a chance Sunday at the McDonalds LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md.
There was Karrie Webb, who lost this very tournament in a playoff to Se Ri Pak a year ago. A seven-time major champion and Hall of Fame member, she was the favorite in many eyes to win. Trailing by two to start the final round, Webb was in the shadows of the lead all day.
Still two back on the 72nd hole, she coaxed in a fantastic right-to-left curler for birdie. Alas, once again, it wasn't quite enough as she finished runner-up for the second straight year.
Thats the one thing about a mulligan: just because you have a second chance doesnt mean it wont result in the same outcome.
There was Lorena Ochoa, who lost a big lead in the final round of the Ginn Tribute and was trying to overcome a big deficit one a week later. Ochoa has done everything in golf with the major exception of winning a major championship. She started Sunday five back, but with measured confidence.
Its been done before, she said Saturday of erasing a quintet of strokes.
But not this time.
Without the pressure of playing from the front, which has hampered her at times, Ochoa managed to get within two of the lead on three separate occasions but no closer.
There was Na On Min, who was trying to follow in the footsteps of countrywoman Pak. In 1998, Pak, a then 20-year-old rookie from South Korea, captured the McDonalds LPGA on her way to a Hall-of-Fame career. Min, 18, was in position to do the same ' at least the win-the-McDonalds-as-an-unheralded-rookie thing.
Min led by one entering the final 18 holes and actually managed to extend that to two at one point during the front nine. Then she missed a short par putt at No. 6. And another at No. 7. And another at No. 8. She dropped down the leaderboard faster than Michelle Wies Q-rating.
Even four straight birdies on the back nine weren't enough to match her idol's accomplishment.
Min, a non-exempt player, likely had no reason for a mulligan at the start of the week. She leaves, however, hoping for one in the future.
And then there was Suzann Pettersen, who wasted a four-shot lead with four holes to play in losing the first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Pettersen managed to win her first-ever LPGA Tour event three starts after her Rancho Mirage meltdown but winning a regular event doesnt quite make up for blowing a major.
The Michelob Ultra Open is kind of like the tours fifth major. The McDonalds LPGA is a real major.
Pettersen grabbed sole possession of the lead after the seventh hole Sunday. This time she would lead by as many as two shots down the stretch. And this time she would not self destruct ' nor would she be caught.
Pettersen's lead coming home wasn't nearly as advantageous as it was at the Kraft Nabisco. But bouyed by that experience, and armed with her mulligan, Pettersen played the back nine in 4-under-par 32, with nary a bogey.
Ten weeks after a loss that left her in tears, Pettersen made the most of her mulligan, which shouldn't be too surprising, seeing as this is the same woman who overcame a severe back injury, one in which doctors told her she would never play golf again.
'This is amazing,' Pettersen said upon receiving the trophy. 'I'm still trying to get a grasp on this. I mean, this is a major.'
Golf, like any sport, has its winners and losers. When you're among the latter all you can do is hope that the game offers up another occasion for atonement.
'Sure I'm disappointed,' Pettersen said in the wake of her Kraft Nabisco loss. 'I mean, I guess my time will come.'
And so it has.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.