Choi takes command of U.S. Women's Open

By Randall MellJuly 8, 2012, 12:52 am

KOHLER, Wis. – South Koreans could not look any more comfortable in this U.S. Women's Open if it were played in Seoul.

Na Yeon Choi blistered Blackwolf Run Saturday with a 7-under-par 65 to position herself for a runaway victory.

If she holds on, Choi will be the fourth South Korean to win the U.S. Women’s Open in the last five years, the sixth since 1998, when Se Ri Pak launched this South Korean golf phenomenon with her victory here. If Choi wins, South Koreans will have claimed both of the U.S. Women’s Opens played at Blackwolf Run.

This place is practically sacred ground for South Koreans.

“This is a very special golf course, and I’m very honored,” Choi said of leading at Blackwolf Run. “Not just me, but I think all the South Koreans feel honored to be playing here this week.”

At 8 under overall, Choi has built a six-shot lead. How formidable is that? Nobody has ever come from more than five shots back in the final round to win the U.S. Women’s Open.

Choi is six shots ahead of fellow South Korean Amy Yang and seven ahead of American Lexi Thompson, Germany’s Sandra Gal and Japan’s Mika Miyazato.

How good was Choi’s round?

Only four players have posted better rounds in the 67-year history of the U.S. Women’s Open.

Choi didn’t carve up a cupcake course, either. Blackwolf Run was set up to be considerably tougher in the third round than it was all week. Plus, there was more wind than in any other round with gusts to 25 mph.

The third-round scoring average was 76.89, the highest this week. That’s unusual as scoring averages typically plummet after the cut is made.

Choi was one of just five players to break par Saturday, and she was four shots better than Yang, who posted the day’s next best score.

Nineteen players couldn’t break 80.

“It was pretty crazy, that 65,” said Michelle Wie, who started the day one shot back but begins Sunday 10 back after posting a 78.

Suzann Pettersen, the 36-hole leader, also shot 78.

Of the last 28 players off in the third round, Choi is the only player who broke par. She made eight birdies and a bogey.

The USGA’s Ben Kimball, who is in charge of course setup, shook his head when asked if he could envision somebody shooting 65 with Saturday’s setup and conditions.

“No way,” Kimball said. “What an unbelievable round.”

Kimball didn’t think anyone would even shoot in the 60s.

“Na Yeon just played her heart out today,” Kimball said.

Fellow players couldn’t believe what they were seeing with Choi’s red number growing larger and larger all day.

“Na Yeon beat the field by about 12 shots today,” said Cristie Kerr (77). “That’s pretty remarkable.”

Choi, 24, is yet another of “Se Ri’s kids.” Choi didn’t yet play golf when she got up in the middle of the night to watch Pak win the U.S. Women’s Open on South Korean television in ’98.

“All the golfers in South Korea, we call Se Ri `The Legend,’” Choi said.

It should come as no surprise that Choi leads this U.S. Women Open. She is the best women’s player who hasn’t won a major. She’s a five-time LPGA winner with seven KLPGA titles. She was the LPGA’s leading money winner in 2010, when she also won the tour’s Vare Trophy for low scoring average. She was No. 2 in the world most of last year and ranks No. 5 now.

Choi goes by the nickname “The Big Apple,” because of her NYC initials. She’s a soft-spoken but well spoken player who takes a ton of confidence into Sunday.

“I was very surprised,” Choi said of her score. “The main thing, I wasn't nervous on the course. I'm more nervous right now. But on the course I wasn't nervous. I had a great time out there.”

South Koreans are poised to have a great time watching another one of their players win the world’s most prestigious women’s golf championship.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.