Tryon This For Size

By Mercer BaggsMarch 9, 2001, 5:00 pm
Jesper Parnevik leads the Honda Classic by three shots after two rounds, but it's a guy who's closer to the cutline than the lead who's grabbing the spotlight.
Actually, guy is a bit misleading. Kid is more accurate.
Sixteen-year-old Ty Tryon followed an opening 67 with a 1-over-par 73 to become the second-youngest person ever to make a cut in PGA Tour history.
Tryon trails Parnevik by a healthy eight strokes. The 36-year-old Swede carded a 5-under-par 67 to move to 12-under for the tournament; three shots clear of John Huston (67), Mark Calcavecchia (68) and Chris Smith (68).
With hundreds of people in-tow and countless others watching on television, Tryon kept his composure throughout the roller-coaster round. The Lake Highland High School (Orlando, Fla.) sophomore climbed into a tie for second place at 9-under with three consecutive birdies on his back nine, but faltered down the stretch, playing his final five holes in 5-over.
'I'm incredibly happy right now and just - if I didn't finish so bad, I would probably be crazy right now,' said the teen, whose full name is William Augustus Tryon, IV.
At 4-under-par, Tryon made the 36-hole cut by two shots. If the first two days have been stressful, you'd never know it by his demeanor.
'I really wasn't nervous, except for the first hole Thursday,' Tryon said. 'Doing the live interview (with NBC following the second round) was the most nerve racking.'
Among those following Tyron shot for shot was his instructor, David Leadbetter.
'This is like a movie,' said Leadbetter. 'You see 16-year-olds playing like this in junior tournaments, but you don't see it in this company.'
After making the turn in 1-under-par 35, Tryon bogeyed the par-4 1st (his 10th). But he recovered quickly, sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at the second and adding two more on the third and fourth holes.
At that point, the 16-year-old was within two shots of the lead.
'I knew I was 9-under, but I didn't know I was in second place,' said the country's fifth-ranked junior amateur.
Then things began to crumble. Tryon nuked an 8-iron from 190 yards over the green at the par-3 5th. He fluffed his chip shot and carded a double-bogey 5.
Another bogey ensued at the sixth, and despite a seven-foot par save at the 7th, Tryon limped home with back-to-back bogeys over his closing two holes.
'I was just really happy the round was over,' said Tryon, who Monday qualified by shooting 70. 'I've got the hard part done, I think. I can just go and play as good as I can.'
The hard part's just beginning for Parnevik. Friday, he successfully navigated his ball through the gusty winds and over the crusty greens in just 67 strokes.
'It was a lot harder today,' said Parnevik, who held a share of the first-round lead. 'I'm more pleased with my round today than I was with my 65 yesterday, and I played a lot better today.'
This is a home event for Parnevik. He lives less than an hour from Coral Springs, where he's commuting to and from work this week.
'I don't know if it's an advantage, but it's always nice to sleep in your own bed,' he said.
Parnevik started slowly in the second round; playing his first six holes in 1-over. But then he holed a couple of 10-foot birdie putts on the 16th and 17th holes (his seventh and eighth holes on the day).
After a pair of birdies upon making the turn, Parnevik rolled in a 60-foot putt on the par-3 5th to move two shots clear of the field at 11-under-par. He added one more birdie at the par-4 7th, courtesy a chip-in, to complete his scoring.
Parnevik won't be looking over his shoulder to see where Tryon is over the weekend. But the four-time Tour winner is quite impressed by the teenager's accomplishment.
'It's unbelievable. I talked to a few guys and we could hardly remember what we did when we were 16,' joked Parnevik. 'I just remember how nervous I was at that age, probably just playing a local championship. So what he's doing here is unbelievable.'
All would agree, even the modest Tryon, himself.
'This is a lifetime experience,' he said. 'I just want to remember I've been here and just enjoy the memory. I want to go as low as I possibly can and I want to have a good time and enjoy it.'
On a normal weekend, Tryon said he'd be 'playing golf, hanging out, playing golf.' He'll be doing that this weekend; though he'll be doing so in the company to the game's best.
News, Notes and Numbers
*The youngest player to ever make a cut in a PGA Tour event is Bob Panasik at the 1957 Canadian Open. He was 15 years, eight months and 20 days old.
*John Daly posted the low round of the day, a 7-under-par 65. He's tied for fifth place at 8-under.
*Joe Durant, in search of his third straight victory, is tied for 22nd at 6-under after a second-round 71.
*Defending champion Dudley Hart is nine strokes off the 36-hole lead at 3-under. Hart has shot rounds of 70-71-141.
*First-round co-leaders Geoff Ogilvy and Ben Ferguson slipped in Round Two. Ogilvy shot 72 to fall into a tie for ninth at 7-under. Ferguson shot 75 to fall into a tie for 38th at 4-under.
*Richie Coughlan recorded the first hole-in-one since the tournament moved to the TPC at Heron Bay in 1996. Coughlan holed a 3-iron from 225 yards on No. 15. It's just the third ace in tournament history.
*79 players made the cut, which fell at 2-under-par 142. Among those who missed the cut were Aaron Baddeley and TPC at Heron Bay course designer Mark McCumber. Baddeley shot rounds of 76-69 to finish at 1-over. McCumber shot back-to-back 75s to finish at 6-over. Baddeley has now missed nine cuts in 10-career PGA Tour starts.
*Eight of the nine past champions in the field made the cut. Steve Pate, who won in 1991, was the lone exception. He withdrew prior to the second round due to a rib injury.
*In the 28-year history of the tournament, only six players have held at least a share of the 36-hole lead and gone on to win. Tim Herron was the last to do so in 1996.
Click here for full-field scores from the Honda 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.