Stupples Maintains Advantage

By Sports NetworkJuly 30, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Weetabix WomenBERKSHIRE, England -- Karen Stupples posted a 2-under 70 on Friday to extend her lead at the Women's British Open. She stands at 9-under-par 135 and leads by three strokes over three players at Sunningdale Golf Club.
 
The 9-under-par 135 tied the 36-hole record for this event, when it has been contested on a par-72 layout. Karrie Webb originally set the mark in 1997, while Catriona Matthew equaled the number in 2001.
 
Beth Daniel, the 47-year-old American who became the oldest winner on the LPGA Tour last year, shot a 3-under 69 and is tied for second place. Seol-An Jeon, who also carded a 69, and Jeong Jang, who shot a 68, joined Daniel at 6-under-par 138.
 
Defending champion Annika Sorenstam was in the hunt Friday, but stumbled late. Stupples already posted her 9-under-par total so Sorenstam knew what she needed to do when she teed off.
 
She tallied three front-nine birdies to get within two, but a pair of late bogeys and zero birdies on the back nine dropped her down the leaderboard.
 
Sorenstam, who can join Mickey Wright as the only players to successfully defend all four major titles, only managed a 1-under 71 and is part of group in fifth at minus-5.
 
'I still shot under par, so I have to look on the bright side,' said Sorenstam, who captured her second consecutive LPGA Championship title last month and repeated at the U.S. Women's Open in 1995-96 and at the Nabisco Championship from 2001-02. 'I lost a little ground, but then again I'm right there. There's two more days. It's not the end of the world by any means.'
 
Sorenstam will have to catch Stupples, a feat she accomplished last week.
 
Stupples, who won the season-opening Welch's/Fry's Championship with a historic, four-round total of 258, carded seven birdies in a flawless round on Thursday. Friday's round was also mistake-free, but thanks to different conditions, offered fewer birdies.
 
At the par-5 opening hole, Stupples knocked a 7-wood to 40 feet. She two-putted for birdie to reach 8 under par for the championship.
 
After one birdie in one hole, things cooled off for the 31-year-old from Dover, England. Stupples found a greenside bunker at the seventh and had little green to use. She blasted out to 8 feet and sank the par-saving putt.
 
'It was very, very boring,' admitted Stupples. 'Fairways and greens most of the way around today. And then if I missed the green, it was just on the fringe where I could putt real easily or chip real easily.'
 
Stupples gave herself good looks for birdie at the ninth and 10th. Her birdie try at nine never grazed the hole, but her putt at No. 10 circled the cup before rimming out.
 
Stupples parred her next six holes, then broke into red figures again at the 17th. She tried to run a 5-iron back to the hole, but due to overnight rain, the ball never got to the flag. Instead, Stupples drained the 40-foot birdie putt to get to 9 under.
 
So, is a two-birdie, no-bogey round boring?
 
'It can be,' said Stupples. 'It was frustrating at times, but I had a couple of good opportunities, they just didn't go in the hole. But I think if you can come through today and still be under par, even though things don't quite go according to plan, it's a good day.'
 
Stupples is bogey-free for the tournament and for the second week in a row, owns the 36-hole lead. At last week's Evian Masters, Stupples stumbled and came in fourth and this is her first reasonable chance at one of the majors.
 
'It's worked very well the last couple days,' said Stupples, referring to her strategy. 'I'll just be patient and see how it all pans out.'
 
Laura Davies needs a victory this week to become eligible for the Hall of Fame. She posted a 3-under 69 and is tied for fifth with Sorenstam, Laura Diaz (69), Jung Yeon Lee (72), Rachel Teske (69), Natalie Gulbis (71), Heather Bowie (69) and Paula Marti (66). That group is through two rounds at 5-under-par 139.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 2-over-par 146 and among the notable players who will sit out the weekend are: Rosie Jones (148), Mi Hyun Kim (148) and reigning U.S. Open champion Meg Mallon (150).
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Weetabix Women's British Open
  • Full Coverage - Weetabix Women's British Open
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.