Inkster Gets Her Revenge - a Victory

By Mike RitzJuly 8, 2002, 4:00 pm
HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- Paybacks are hell.
Last week in Atlantic City, Juli Inkster started the final round with a one-stroke lead, three strokes ahead of Annika Sorenstam. Annika ended up holding the trophy. Juli finished three strokes back. Sunday at Prairie Dunes, in the final round of the most prestigious championship in womens golf, Inkster enjoyed a little payback.
For those who know Inkster well, last weeks loss was a sure sign the Hall-of-Famer would win this weeks Open. The 42-year-old hates losing when victory is close hates blowing a lead cant stand wasting potential. Juli is one of the hardest workers on tour. Few practice as much as she.
If she is anything, Juli Inkster is determined; and you could see in her this week at the Open that she was determined to win. Prairie Dunes was the perfect place for Jules to win her second U.S. Womens Open. She won her first of three consecutive Womens Amateur Championships on this very course in 1980.
Inkster opened with a 3-under-par 67 ' good enough to share the first-round lead. Sorenstam, who played with Juli the first two days, was three back.
After Round 2, Sorenstam and Inkster were tied for the lead with Laura Diaz at 1-under par. In Saturdays third round, Juli shot 71 to drop back to even par. Meanwhile, Annika posted her second consecutive 69, her third consecutive round of par or better. The worlds No. 1 player was the only player under par for 54 holes. Sorenstam held a two-stroke lead over Inkster and Jill McGill heading to the final round.
Inkster was, in her estimation, hitting the ball terribly. She said of her two worst rounds of the Open, Basically, Friday and Saturday won me the golf tournament. Saturday evening Juli said she was ecstatic to be in her position, considering how much she was struggling with her game. On Sunday, she proudly assessed her three days of grinding. Its really hard to do, in an Open, when things arent going your way, to hang in there.
Juli hung in there, and it paid off beautifully on Sunday. She got to the practice range about an hour before her tee time. Her husband Brian (a teaching pro himself) and caddy Greg Johnston watched in almost total silence for more than a half-hour as Juli pounded ball after ball.
She had talked to her swing coach, Mike McGetrick, Saturday night on the phone. He told her to make a fuller shoulder turn on her take-away. But she still hadnt found it on the range.
Then, suddenly, just 15 minutes before her Sunday tee time, it happened! Husband Brian coaxed her into that sought-after fuller turn and Juli began striping the ball.
On the course, caddy Greg continued to remind her: Turn. In response, Juli turned red-hot. Her short game remained phenomenal and now her ball-striking was almost as good. She birdied three of the first seven holes. Sorenstams lead was gone on No. 6. And Juli tasted sole possession of the lead for the first time with her birdie on 7. Sorenstam caught her momentarily, but this was Inksters day.
Juli posted a final-round 4-under 66. That tied the course record set two hours earlier by Raquel Carriedo.
Of all the rounds this Hall of Fame golfer has played of all the rounds she had played to win her previous six major championship titles how would she rank this one? As far as the pressure and the conditions and what was at stake, I would say its No. 1.
And, Juli did it while going head-to-head against No. 1. As for Annika, she was as gracious as any runner-up could be in defeat. No, I didnt lose today, Sorenstam said. Juli won.

Annika now has a first-, a second- and a third-place finish in this years three majors. She has every reason to be proud of her performance this week. Its just that Juli played really (well) today. There was nothing I could do about it.
Yes, 42-year-old Juli Inkster proved she still has plenty of her Hall-of-Fame game left in her bones and clubs. I play because I love to play, Juli said.
Most importantly, she proved on Sunday in the Open that she still has a wealth of something special in her heart. I work hard at my game so I can come out here and stay competitive with the Annikas and Karries. Im not going to win every tournament but if I can stay competitive and win my fair share and raise my family, Im ecstatic.

Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.