McKay Leads Teens Close Behind

By Sports NetworkJuly 3, 2003, 4:00 pm
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. -- Mhairi McKay of Scotland fired a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the U.S. Women's Open.
 
Defending champion Juli Inkster and LPGA Tour veteran Donna Andrews share second place after opening rounds of 2-under 69.
 
The talk surrounding this week's U.S. Women's Open at the Witch Hollow Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club was the youth movement. There are 14 teenagers in the field and the top star is 13-year-old Michelle Wie. She opened with a 2-over 73 and is part of a large group in 32nd place.
 
'I guess golf is getting younger and younger,' said Wie, who will compete in events on both the Nationwide and Canadian Tours this season. 'People have good days and bad days, and some people have good weeks, and I guess it's our week right now.'
 
On Thursday, Wie was upstaged by a different pair of youngsters. Aree Song, a 17-year-old amateur from Thailand, and Morgan Pressel, a 15-year-old who was the youngest competitor in U.S. Open history when she competed at the age of 12, shot matching rounds of 1-under 70 and are tied for fourth with Angela Stanford, Giulia Sergas and Rosie Jones, widely considered the best player without a major title.
 
'I think my time will come. I'm just glad to know I qualified for this championship, really. It's such a great tournament and so much fun playing out here,' said Song, who played in the final group of the Nabisco Championship in 2000. 'So I was really excited when I qualified. I'm going to go to college in the fall. So I'll just take my time.'
 
Annika Sorenstam, the top player in the game and a two-time former winner, shot a 1-over 72 on Thursday and is tied for 22nd.
 
'There's some tough holes out there, some tough pin placements,' said Sorenstam. 'To make birdies here you've got to putt well. It's tough to hit the ball close to the pins. So I figure people are rolling in some putts.'
 
McKay opened with a 15-foot birdie putt at the first hole but dropped a stroke to par at the sixth. Two holes later, McKay knocked a 7-iron to 12 feet and sank the putt to make the turn at 1-under par.
 
McKay parred the 10th and that would be her last par of the round. At the 11th, she hit a sand-wedge to set up a 12-foot birdie putt and cashed in from three feet for birdie at No. 12.
 
She may have missed the green slightly at 13 but that didn't matter with the way she was rolling the ball. McKay converted on a 20-footer at the 13th and drained a four-footer for birdie at the next hole. She polished off five birdies in a row with a 15-footer at No. 15.
 
'I think somewhere in the back of my mind it kind of registered I made five in a row,' said McKay, who represented Europe in last year's Solheim Cup. 'But I was just thinking on making good swings, just the things that I've been working with my coach.'
 
McKay stumbled a bit on the way to the first-round lead. She missed the fairway at the 16th and walked off with bogey and missed the green at 17 and left that hole with another bogey.
 
McKay, who finished sixth at this event last year, missed the green with her second at the par-5 closing hole. She chipped short of the flag and watched her ball stop a foot from the cup for the kick-in birdie.
 
'I wanted to finish strong, so 18 left a nice taste in my mouth after a couple of bogeys,' said McKay. 'I've been working really hard on the swing. I was definitely trying to give myself par opportunities, and I just happened to hole in a few putts along the way.'
 
Inkster made the turn at even-par after starting on the second nine Thursday. She birdied Nos. 4 and 6 but gave one back at the seventh. Inkster, who also won this title in 1999, birdied the ninth to reach 2-under par.
 
'I just tried to make some birdies when I could and I tried to play to the safe side of the green,' said the Hall of Famer. 'I just kept trying to stay patient and try to hit the shots when I needed to hit them. I came out okay today.'
 
Andrews completed nine at 1-over par but played brilliantly on her second nine, the front side at the Witch Hollow Course. She tallied three birdies in a four-hole span, starting at the fourth, to match Inkster in second place.
 
'I really did not hit the ball that well and didn't feel very comfortable about the way I drove it today. But I hit every fairway, so I can't complain,' said Andrews, whose best finish in the U.S. Women's Open is a tie for second in 1993. 'That's how you play good at Opens.'
 
Another amateur, Irene Cho, shot an even-par 71 and is tied for ninth place. Joining Cho were Michele Redman, Rachel Teske, Lorena Ochoa, Ashli Bunch, Kirsty Taylor, Jamie Hullett, Stephanie Louden, Laura Diaz, Karen Stupples, Hilary Lunke, Paula Marti and Annette DeLuca.
 
Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb, a pair of former champions, struggled on Thursday. Pak shot a 6-over 77 while Webb was a shot worse at plus-7.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the U.S. Women's Open
  • U.S. Women's Open Leaderboard
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry