Lunke Leads Annika Three Back

By Sports NetworkJuly 5, 2003, 4:00 pm
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. -- Hilary Lunke posted a 3-under 68 on Saturday to take the third-round lead of the U.S. Women's Open. She stands at 5-under-par 208 and owns a one-shot lead over Angela Stanford at the Witch Hollow Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Stanford birdied her final hole Saturday en route to a 2-under 69.
Annika Sorenstam, battling a sore throat, shot the only bogey-free round of the championship with a 4-under 67 on Saturday.
Sorenstam drained a three-foot birdie putt at the fourth and made it two in a row with a putt from the same length at five. At the eighth, Sorenstam knocked an 8-iron to 15 feet to set up birdie and tapped in a short birdie putt at 14.
Perhaps the biggest shot of the third round for Sorenstam came at 17 when she faced a long birdie putt. Her 50-footer from right to left ran six feet past the cup when it took the break. She stroked home the par save to stay near the top of the leaderboard as she finished a good hour before the leaders.
With the relative inexperience of the players ahead of her, Sorenstam likes her chances of adding her second major trophy of 2003 after winning the LPGA Championship last month.
'I know how to react under these conditions,' said Sorenstam, a two-time former champion. 'I'm happy where I'm at. I would like to be in my shoes tomorrow, and play my golf.'
She shares third place with amateur Aree Song (68), Jeong Jang (69) and overnight leader Mhairi McKay, who struggled to a 4-over 75 in the third round. The group stands at 2-under-par 211.
Michelle Wie, the 13-year-old phenom whose father B.J. caused stir on Friday by alleging that Danielle Ammaccapane pushed the younger Wie on the green Thursday, shot a 5-over 76 to finish in a tie for 39th at 9-over-par 222.
The big story to come out of the Wie camp was that B.J. retracted those allegations Saturday.
'I think it was incorrectly represented to reporters that sounds like bumping. It's not like football bumping or tackling,' said B.J. Wie, who also caddies for his daughter. 'There was no physical contact. At all.'
Lunke began the third round four shots behind playing partner McKay. Lunke birdied the first hole then drained a long birdie putt at the third. McKay bogeyed No. 2 and dropped her tee ball into the water at the fifth and suddenly McKay, Lunke and defending champion Juli Inkster were tied for the lead at 4-under par.
McKay and Lunke both bogeyed the sixth to leave Inkster alone in first but the two-time former champion fell off the pace with a bogey at seven. Lunke drained a 15-foot birdie putt at seven in the group behind to take the lead of the championship at 4-under.
Inkster and Stanford birdied eight to match Lunke in first but Lunke sank a five-foot birdie a short time later to go to 5-under. Lunke birdied the ninth to go out at 32 and reach 6-under par, which was good for a two-shot lead over Stanford.
Lunke parred the first three holes on the back side but Stanford closed the gap with a five-foot birdie putt at the 12th. McKay birdied 11 but fell way down the leaderboard with three bogeys in her next four holes.
Lunke missed a six-foot par save at the 13th to fall into a tie for the lead with Stanford. Stanford dropped a shot at the 14th when she drove into the primary cut of rough, but Lunke also bogeyed 14 from the greenside bunker and two were once again knotted at 4-under par.
At the par-3 15th, Lunke went through the green and chipped to 10 feet. She ran home the tough par save to keep pace with Stanford, who was having trouble one hole ahead. At No. 16, she shanked her second shot and bogeyed the hole to once again drop one stroke behind the lead.
Lunke got a great kick with her approach at the 16th. Her ball bounced off the fringe and stopped five feet from the hole. She converted the birdie putt to complete a two-shot swing on 16 and go to the closing holes up two.
'I felt like I hit a great shot into 15 so I was kind of mad,' said Lunke. 'I got a very friendly bounce at 16. That's definitely the key to my round.'
Stanford had a great look at birdie at 17 with an eight-footer but the putt never touched the hole. She hit a spectacular approach at 18 and kicked in the two-footer for birdie to get within one of Lunke, who played conservatively on the final two holes and made par.
For Lunke, this is the best chance at not only major victory No. 1, but her first title on the LPGA Tour. Her best finish so far this season is back-to- back ties for 21st in her last two starts and last year, she tied for 15th at the Wendy's Championship for Children.
Lunke took the 54-hole lead for the first time in her career on the LPGA Tour and that bodes well for the 24-year-old. Since the tournament was contested at Pumpkin Ridge in 1997, the 54-hole leader has gone on to win the tournament every year but 2002 when Inkster overtook Sorenstam.
'It's pretty much a surreal feeling,' said Lunke, who can become the first player to make their first win on tour a major since Se Ri Pak won the LPGA Championship in 1998. 'It is a blast at this point right now.'
Stanford is relatively untested as well. She never made the cut at the U.S. Women's Open before Friday but is certainly playing well heading into Pumpkin Ridge. Stanford earned her first LPGA Tour title last week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and hopes to use that momentum on Sunday.
'I think it would be different if I didn't win last week,' said Stanford. 'A golf tournament is a golf tournament but it is the U.S. Open. Playing in the final group and having a chance to win is a big deal. I'm going to feel more comfortable since I did what I did last week.'
Donna Andrews shot a 1-over 72 to finish alone in seventh at even-par 213. Inkster finished with a 3-over 74 and is tied for eighth place with Kelly Robbins (71), Natalie Gulbis (72) and Suzann Pettersen (69).
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the U.S. Women's Open
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.