Park faces uphill battle at St. Andrews

By Randall MellAugust 3, 2013, 6:42 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Inbee Park won a marathon of major-championship golf on a Sunday earlier this year.

If she’s going to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open to become the first man or woman to win four professional major championships in a single season, she may have to do it again.

With Saturday’s third round interrupted by a suspension of play because of high winds across the Old Course, Sunday looms as long, hard road to a trophy.

Na Yeon Choi, the leader halfway through the championship, was among 14 players who had not even teed off when play was suspended at 12:33 p.m. local time. At 10-under 134, Choi remains a shot ahead of Miki Saiki and two ahead of Morgan Pressel.

Back in June, Park won the Wegmans LPGA Championship playing 36 holes on Sunday following a weather suspension of Saturday’s third round. When Park won at Rochester, however, she started Sunday’s marathon finish tied for second just two shots off the lead.

Ricoh Women’s British Open: Articles, videos and photos

Park will begin Sunday seven shots off the lead, one closer to Choi than she started on Saturday. Park rolled in a 30-foot putt for birdie at the third hole to cut into Choi’s lead before play was suspended after Park made a par at the fourth hole.

The LGU suspended play shortly after Park called a rules official to the fourth green because her ball had moved an inch or so in the wind while she was stepping to a 5-foot putt for par. There was no penalty. With so much history potentially hanging in the balance for Park, the suspension of play was curious in that it came within five minutes of Park calling a rules official.

Susan Simpson, head of golf operations for the LGU, said Park’s issue was among a small flurry of issues that led to halting play.

“We got five calls within the space of a few minutes,” Simpson said. “It all happened within a short period of time. There was a gust of almost 40 mph, and with that flat, singular gust, all the balls moved on the five calls we had, and we suspended play immediately.” 

Just nine players finished their third round when the horn blew suspending play. While officials waited for conditions to improve, they never did, leading to the announcement at 6 p.m. that play was suspended for the day.

Simpson said Sunday will have its challenges.

“It’s still going to be windy tomorrow,” she said. “Hopefully, not as windy as today, but there’s no let-up in it. Tomorrow morning, it’s still going to be very breezy.”

Simpson is hoping a champion will be crowned Sunday evening, but the LGU is prepared to go beyond Sunday.

“This is a major championship, and every endeavor will be made to play 72 holes,” Simpson said. “If we have to go to Monday, we will go to Monday.”

A number of players and caddies questioned why play wasn’t suspended earlier with even the first groups playing most of their rounds through the toughest conditions.

“They definitely could have called it earlier,” said Brittany Lincicome.

Lincicome lipped out a putt at the seventh hole and was walking up to knock it in when her ball blew 6 feet away from the hole. Lincicome said balls moved on more than one green as she played with Sandra Gal.

One caddie said players had trouble keeping their balls on their tees at the 12th hole.

Cristie Kerr's ball blew about 2 feet as she approached a putt on the eighth green.

Kerr was among nine players able to complete their rounds before play was suspended. With the winds blowing hard early, she played nearly all of her round in that weather. Kerr shot 75, equaling the low score among the nine players who finished. Lydia Ko also shot 75.

While Kerr acknowledged play could probably have been suspended an hour to 90 minutes earlier, she did not expect play to be suspended at all.

“Balls were moving on the greens, but I never thought they would delay it,” Kerr said. “When the horn blew while we were on the 18th hole, I thought somebody had stolen something from the pro shop.”

Of those nine players who were able to finish, three of them didn’t break 80.

Simpson said the wind moved balls despite efforts to slow down the greens. She said the 11th green out on the edge of the course wasn’t mowed after Friday’s play. She said the green speeds measured 9.4 on Saturday, slower than the 10 measured on Friday.

While there were reports of some players and caddies wanting the third round to be wiped out and re-started, the committee decided to preserve the interrupted round.

“It was part of the discussion, but it was quickly ruled out,” Simpson said. “We don’t feel that’s fair to the players who have completed their rounds.”

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.