Trio Leads Wachovia LPGA Classic

By Sports NetworkAugust 26, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Wachovia LPGA ClassicKUTZTOWN, Pa. -- Hilary Lunke, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, Jill McGill and Laura Diaz each posted rounds of 6-under-par 66 on Thursday to share the first-round lead of the Wachovia LPGA Classic.
 
Mikaela Parmlid, Soo-Yun Kang, Lorie Kane, Shi Hyun Ahn, Janice Moodie, Lorena Ochoa, Angela Stanford, Hee-Won Han and Marcy Hart are tied for fourth at minus-5 at Berkleigh Country Club.
 
Lunke, who sank a 20-footer on the 18th hole of a playoff against Angela Stanford and Kelly Robbins to win her U.S. Women's Open, started on the back nine Thursday. She drained an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-5 13th then kept up her strong play on the par-5s.
 
At 16, Lunke chipped to 20 feet and made the putt. She missed the green with her second shot at 18, but chipped her third to 2 feet and converted the birdie try to make the turn at minus-3.
 
Lunke continued her fine form on her second nine. She rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at the second, then holed a pair of 12-foot birdie putts at seven and nine to join the leaders.
 
'I didn't expect it,' said Lunke. 'I haven't been hitting the ball that great. I was really glad that last one went in.'
 
Lunke has struggled badly since her major breakthrough. She has not come close to the winner's circle and has barely been able to make cuts. But the 25-year-old thinks improvement is right around the corner.
 
'I know my game is better than it was last year,' said Lunke. 'I've gotten a little bit longer and more solid. This is a rebuilding year for myself to try and regain composure for everything that went on last year.'
 
Diaz vaulted to the top of the leaderboard with an amazing run on her first nine, the back side at Berkleigh Country Club. She birdied five in a row from the 13th, including four from inside 15 feet.
 
She parred her next eight holes before a 3-foot birdie putt at eight. Now Diaz, who had surgery on her ankle in December, is in the hunt for her first victory since the 2002 LPGA Corning Classic.
 
'It feels pretty good, but it's not 100 percent,' said Diaz. 'Mentally, as well as physically, I wasn't ready when I came back, but I think the only way to prepare is to keep playing and dig through it.'
 
McGill was not flawless in her round the way her fellow co-leaders were. Like Lunke and Diaz, McGill opened play on the back nine and birdied all of the even-numbered holes except the 10th.
 
She started her second nine with a bogey at the first when her drive went left and her approach went long. McGill rebounded with a chip-in birdie from 40 feet at the second.
 
McGill laid up short of the green with her second at the fifth, then knocked a wedge to 10 feet. She made that birdie putt, then rolled in a 14-footer for birdie at the eighth to post the first 66.
 
'Today was enjoyable,' said McGill. 'It was very mellow for me and I needed to do what I had to. I have played well here before, so it's nice to come back here.'
 
Tournament host Betsy King and Nabisco Championship winner Grace Park are part of a group tied for 13th at minus-4.
 
Defending champion Candie Kung, Se Ri Pak, Karrie Webb, Beth Daniel and Dottie Pepper, who is retiring at the end of the season, are part of a logjam tied for 29th place at 2-under-par 70.
 
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Wachovia LPGA Classic
  • Full Coverage - Wachovia LPGA Classic
  • Getty Images

    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.