Inkster Holds Clubhouse Lead Wie Penalized

By Sports NetworkAugust 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Weetabix WomenLYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- Michelle Wie made one big mistake at the Women's British Open on Friday, while Juli Inkster maintained her three-shot lead by avoiding too many.
 
Inkster overcame three bogeys with a trio of birdies to shoot even-par 72, heading into the weekend at 6-under-par 138 and looking for her eighth career major victory.
 
'Sometimes in a major championship you've just got to grind it out, and today was one of those days,' said Inkster, who fired a 66 Thursday. 'I'm very happy with the way I shot.'
 
Juli Inkster
Despite managing just an even-par 72 in Rd. 2, Juli Inkster still holds a three-shot lead.
Inkster played Royal Lytham & St. Annes' par 5s at even-par on Friday after she was minus-5s on them Thursday. The biggest difference, she said, was the play of her driver.
 
'I just never hit it solid,' she admitted. 'It got me in a little bit of trouble, especially on the par fives where you need a birdie.'
 
Wie was assessed a two-stroke penalty for making contact with a piece of moss during her backswing in a greenside bunker at the par-4 14th, giving her a triple-bogey on the hole.
 
She wasn't notified until her round was over that what she thought was an even-par 72 was actually her second consecutive 74.
 
'I just could not get anything going, and it's not good after you play that you add two more shots,' said Wie, who is tied for 36th place at 4-over.
 
Wie was penalized because the rules specifically state that a player's club cannot make contact with a sand trap before the stroke. A stroke is defined only as the forward motion of the club.
 
'I knew I hit the moss, but I guess I knew the rule wrong,' Wie said. 'What I always knew from the rule ever since I started playing golf was that if you swing through it, it would be OK. It is a good learning experience.'
 
Wie drained an 8-foot birdie putt at the par-5 11th to get as low as plus-1 in her round. But she missed badly on a short birdie putt at 12 before botching the 14th.
 
Last year, of course, Wie was able to overcome an opening-round 75 with back-to-back 67s and a Sunday 69 to finish tied for third place at her first Women's British Open.
 
But at 10 stokes back heading into the weekend, Wie is in jeopardy of finishing outside the top-5 for the first time at a major this season.
 
Her infraction Friday was reminiscent of the one she made at last year's Samsung World Championship, where Wie was disqualified in her first professional start for taking a drop in the wrong place.
 
Wie, 16, joked Friday that the rule book is 'not actually great reading material.'
 
'[B]ut I am going to definitely call a rules official if something questionable happens,' she said.
 
Annika Sorenstam -- perhaps golf's biggest rule bookworm, man or woman -- is tied for seventh place at minus-1 following a 71. Sorenstam, the 2003 winner at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, opened with a 72 Thursday.
 
'A few missed shots out there makes it really tough because this golf course is so challenging,' Sorenstam said.
 
The world No. 1 finds herself missing opportunities on the same holes Inkster did Friday.
 
'I've been hitting the ball well,' Sorenstam said. 'I just haven't been capitalizing on the par 5s.'
 
Behind Inkster, Silvia Cavalleri is alone in second place at 3-under 141 after matching the leader with a 72. Cavalleri was tied with Inkster, but triple-bogeyed the 17th.
 
Lorie Kane and 2004 champion Karen Stupples both shot 69 and share third place with Candie Kung (70) and Lindsey Wright (71) at 2-under 142.
 
Tied with Sorenstam one shot further back are reigning LPGA Rookie of the Year Paula Creamer (71), leading Ladies European Tour player Gwladys Nocera (73), Il Mi Chung (71), two-time Women's British winner Sherri Steinhauer (70) and former champion Sophie Gustafson (67).
 
That's a lot of top-flight talent on Inkster's heels, but she has a milestone in her sights: the Super Career Grand Slam.
 
Only Karrie Webb has achieved what is called the Super Career Grand Slam -- winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA Championship, the U.S. Women's Open, the Women's British Open and the du Marier Classic, which was a major until it was replaced by the British in 2001.
 
If Inkster wins this weekend, she would become the second.
 
Technically, Inkster has already accomplished the Career Grand Slam by winning the first four majors she played (she completed it by claiming the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open in 1999, the same year she became a member of the Hall of Fame).
 
Only the British has eluded her, with her best finish being a tie for 15th place last year.
 
Inkster, 46, could also become the oldest woman to win a major this weekend. (Fay Crocker was 45 when she won the Titleholders Championship in 1960.)
 
'I don't think age has anything to do with it. I just like to win,' said Inkster, who became the third-oldest woman ever to win a major when she claimed the 2002 U.S. Open at age 42.
 
'I've never won the British Open...But I've got to figure that driver out before I can even think about that.'
 
Webb, meanwhile, had a double-bogey and four bogeys Friday and shot a 10-over 82 to miss the cut at plus-14.
 
The cut line fell at plus-7 with 71 players advancing. Also missing the cut were Pat Hurst, Mi Hyun Kim and Carin Koch.
 
Se Ri Pak, the 2001 Women's British Open champion and reigning LPGA Championship winner, withdrew before the second round with a neck injury.
 
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.