Three Tied for Lead at BC Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 B.C. OpenVERONA, N.Y. -- Gabriel Hjertstedt captured the B.C. Open nine years ago to become the first Swede to win on the PGA TOUR. Now, he's positioned for a repeat performance.
 
Hjertstedt, Scott Gump, and 35-year-old rookie Daisuke Maruyama of Japan each shot a second consecutive 5-under 67 on Friday to tie for the second-round lead at 134. Murayama, the only player in the wind-swept afternoon grouping to make a run at the top, completed his round with a birdie at 18.
 
One shot back of the trio was David Branshaw (64) of nearby Oswego, N.Y. Trailing by another stroke at 136 were Esteban Toledo (67), Mathias Gronberg (68), Cameron Beckman (66), Michael Bradley (68), and Frank Lickliter II (67).
 
First-round leader Mark Brooks, who began the day at 7 under, couldn't find his putting touch and finished at even par. He was tied with Harrison Frazar (71) and six others at 137. Defending champion Jason Bohn, who began the day tied with Frazar one shot off the lead, also shot 72 and was at 138.
 
Hjertstedt certainly hasn't given an indication a breakthrough was near. He missed his last three cuts and his best showing so far this year was a tie for ninth at Tucson, only his second top 10 in the past six years, much of which has been spent on the Nationwide Tour.

'I've been getting it together the last three weeks, but I haven't had any results,' said Hjertstedt, who also won the 1999 Tucson Open. 'Last week, I was playing great and missed the cut by one. You get punched up so many times, finally you say, 'That's enough.' I think that's what's happened this week.'
 
Or maybe it's just the B.C. Open, and the fact that this is the last. It's being dropped from the PGA Tour after this year.
 
'You look at the trophy and you want another one,' Hjertstedt said. 'It was just a breakthrough for me. The last few years haven't been the easiest. I'm trying to find my game again.'
 
The morning didn't start as something special. With a low-hanging mist and heavy air, remnants of overnight thunderstorms that dropped a half inch of rain and softened Turning Stone Resort's Atunyote Golf Club course, the course was playing much longer.
 
Hjertstedt opened with six straight pars, then sank a 45-foot birdie putt at No. 16, and things quickly changed.
 
'That was a bit of a bonus,' he said. 'I wasn't playing great, just steady. All of a sudden, I started making a few birdies.'
 
Hjertstedt made four more birdies on the front side before bogeying his final hole, the par-4 ninth.
 
The softer conditions allowed players to become aggressive with their approach shots, and it didn't take Branshaw long to realize the birdies were there for the taking.
 
Starting on the back nine, he hit a pitching wedge inside a foot at No. 10 and made eagle at the par-5 12th hole after hitting 5-wood from 230 yards to 12 feet of the pin.
 
'I knew from the very first hole you could be aggressive with the iron shots,' said Branshaw, who was forced to withdraw from the Colonial in May because of an injury to his left wrist that still hasn't completely healed. 'That helps you play a little more solid instead of being a little tentative, which I am. My first little chip wedge checked up within 5 feet. Yesterday, that shot would have released 30 feet.'
 
Gump could have become a victim of the changing conditions. His distance off the tee dropped from 313 yards to 252, but his iron play more than made up for it. He hit 10 fairways and made 14 greens in regulation.
 
'I felt like I was Hercules out there yesterday and today I was back to Minnie Mouse,' said Gump, who has three seconds in 308 events since joining the tour in 1991.
 
Michael Allen, who also has never won on tour, provided the most dramatic example of the improved scoring conditions as he recovered from an opening 76. A day after carding 38 on the front nine, he made six birdies en route to a 30 and finished with a course-record 9-under 63.
 
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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


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    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


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    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''