Little Woman

By Randall MellJuly 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. WomenBETHLEHEM, Pa. ' Jean Reynolds looks so tiny on her journey across this giant golf course.
At 5-feet-2 and 112 pounds, she looks like she should be overmatched by the behemoth they call Saucon Valley Country Clubs Old Course, the second longest layout in the history of the U.S. Womens Open.
Shes so small, her sorority sisters at the University of Georgia called her Peanut.
This course is a beast that seems determined to break the hearts and wills of every challenger daring to try to conquer it, but Reynolds wont be wobbled.
Jean Reynolds
Jean Reynolds is looking to win the U.S. Women's Open in her second appearance. (Getty Images)
She has strong legs, her father, David, said after the third round. They have to be strong to carry a heart the size of hers.
Golf saw what the brute can do to the most gifted champions in Saturdays third round.
Lorena Ochoa, the worlds No. 1-ranked player, angrily spiked her golf ball in the turf leaving the 14th green after making double bogey.
Morgan Pressel flung her putter against her bag in exasperation on her way home on the back nine.
Paula Creamer looked shaken after chunking a pair of chip shots from the deep rough behind the 10th green, taking triple bogey and signing for a 79.
Though Reynolds wasnt spared the courses wrath with a back-to-back bogey finish, she refused to be shaken off the leaderboard in her quest to shock womens golf.
Through three rounds, thats just what the 24-year-old from Newnan, Ga., is aiming to do.
With a 3-over-par 74 Saturday, Reynolds fought to give herself the chance.
At 2-over 215, shes tied for third, four shots behind the leader, Cristie Kerr.
Reynolds resume says shes the longest of long shots. A Duramed Futures Tour pro, she played the U.S. Womens Open for the first time last year, shooting 75 and 82 and missing the cut in the only LPGA event she has ever played. A quality junior golfer, she didnt even play college golf, giving it up in her freshman year at the University of Georgia.
Burned out, weary of the game, Reynolds never re-joined the golf team. She went a year-and-a-half without playing a competitive round during her sophomore and junior years, but she got the fire back in her belly after graduating and turned pro. She drives to Futures Tour events in a 1998 Ford Explorer with 108,000 miles on it that her father calls Seabiscuit.
I got a couple speeding tickets in it, so thats what he calls it, Reynolds said. When I leave on trips, he tells me to try to keep the wheels on the ground.
Reynolds is flying high over her chances on Sunday.
Im having a blast here, Reynolds said. I just dont feel like I have anything to lose. Ive hung in there all week, so Im just going to go out there and see what happens.
Her family and friends are having a blast, too.
Theyre out in force rooting her around Saucon Valley. Her father and mother, Eloise, are here. So is her grandfather; her older brother, Garnet; some aunts and uncles and friends from Newnan.
Julie Wynne, a sorority sister from Georgia, hopped a train in New York City Saturday morning and joined the following Saturday afternoon. She didnt tell Reynolds she was coming, but Reynolds knew she was there as she made her way to the third green. She could hear Wynne.
Way to go Peanut, Wynne shouted.
Reynolds didnt just acknowledge her. She walked to the ropes and hugged her. Elisa Powell, A.K.A. Butters, another sorority sister, was there, too.
People might be surprised Jeans in this position, but Im not surprised, said proud papa David, a real-estate agent. But I am tickled to death.
Jeans a sweetheart, but shes tough. When she sets her mind to do something, you may as well comply, because shes going to do it, its going to get done.
As he waited for his daughter to sign her scorecard, David was asked to share a story about her willfulness. He pointed back to when Jean was 7 and she wanted to play with him in the Newnan Country Clubs annual junior-senior golf tournament. David told her she couldnt, that he was already playing with her oldest brother, Garnet, and that another relative was playing with her other older brother, John. There was nobody left to pair with Jean.
Jeans about 7 at the time, but she gets on the phone and calls the club pro and tells him that hes going to play with her, David said. She didnt ask him. She told him.
Jeans willfulness is evident on the Futures Tour this year. After an uninspiring start in her first year as a pro, she has won twice this year, including her last start two weeks ago.
I love being in the hunt on Sunday, Reynolds said. I just enjoy having a chance to win, and I go out and have fun doing it. If I stumble, I try not to let it get to me.
No matter what happens Sunday, her family and friends will relish seeing their little fighter take on a giant challenge.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
  • Getty Images

    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

    Getty Images

    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

    Masters victory

    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

    Man of the people

    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

    Departure from TaylorMade

    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

    Victory at Valderrama

    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm