Sahalee proving to be a stiff test at Women's PGA

By Randall MellJune 11, 2016, 4:26 am

SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Mirim Lee loves the grandeur of Sahalee Country Club, but she thinks it could use a little gardening.

Lee wouldn’t mind adding a chain saw as the 14th club in her bag to do a little trimming here and there.

“I’d like to cut down some of these trees,” Lee joked.

As a formidable stage, stunning in its beauty and wicked in its circuitous routing, Sahalee is sharing top billing with the game’s biggest stars.

With a 2-under-par 69 Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Lee took a share of the second-round lead with Brooke Henderson (73). They’re one shot ahead of Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko (70), Brittany Lincicome (70) and Gerina Piller (69).

Through 36 holes, they are the only players left under par.

How tough is the ball-striking test?

Mo Martin, the straightest hitter in the game, is battling a bit of claustrophobia trying to squeeze shots into some of these narrow passageways. With Douglas Firs and Western Cedars towering more than 100 feet, fairways appear as intimidating, narrow corridors.

“There are definitely some narrow fairways,” Martin said after missing seven fairways through two rounds, which is about as many fairways as she typically misses in a month. “They’re demanding your attention every shot. This is 100 percent a major championship test, and it’s gorgeous.”

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos

The challenge is that you can hit a fairway and end up in a bad spot. With trees hanging ominously over strategic turns of the course, there are actually invisible fairways within fairways here.

“It’s a house of mirrors,” said Jason Hamilton, Ko’s caddie.

Hamilton joked how confining all the trees can make you feel.

“We’re walking single file down the fairways,” he said.

There’s no faking it around Sahalee. Players who aren’t spot on in their ball-striking this week are paying a price.

Lincicome fell in love with the look of the place, but she quickly learned those gorgeous firs and cedars don’t look as good when they’re leaning over what would be safe passageways on most courses.

“It’s very annoying, actually,” Lincicome said. “This is the only golf course where you can hit it in the fairway and still be penalized, which is crazy.”

The afternoon group saw their challenge compounded with some hard rain later in the afternoon.

“We’ve seen it almost as tough as it gets,” Ko said.

Twenty players posted scores in the 80s Friday.

“Man, this place has some teeth,” Piller said.

It isn’t just the narrow corridors that confound players. It’s the green complexes, the undulations and mounding.

“It’s the kind of course where you’re playing defense all the time,” Hamilton said.

Sahalee was host to the 1998 PGA Championship, when Vijay Singh won. And it was host to the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, when Bernhard Langer won.

“The story is Langer won just trying to hit it in the middle of every green,” Hamilton said. “That’s kind of been our philosophy. Pitch it up on front and bounce it to the middle of the green.”

Catriona Matthew put up a 67 Friday, equaling Henderson’s opening round as low score of the tournament.

“There's no hole that you think is an easy hole,” Matthew said. “Every hole is a challenge. It’s kind of like fishing. You have to stay patient and try to hit fairways to give yourself a chance.”

Or bring a chain saw.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.