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.

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.