American LPGA Players Cold
Not only have foreign-born players won all six tournaments this year, they have won the last 16 in a row, a record on the LPGA Tour. The last American to win was Meg Mallon at the Canadian Women's Open in August.
''I get a lot of questions every week about the fact that an American hasn't won on the LPGA Tour this year,'' commissioner Ty Votaw said. ''But if you look at the top 50, no country has more people in the top 50 than the U.S. It's not a question of just who is winning, but who is having success.''
The United States did win the Solheim Cup, the only victory it can claim in women's golf over the last nine months.
Still, foreign dominance of the LPGA Tour is becoming more pronounced each year.
It has been almost five years since Americans put together three straight victories on the LPGA Tour -- Sherri Steinhauer at the British Open, Rosie Jones at the Firstar Classic and Dottie Pepper at the Oldsmobile Classic.
Americans won 15 tournaments in 1999. The victory count dipped to 12 the following year, 10 in 2001 and only five last year.
Toms Takes Up Fight for Sutton
Hal Sutton and David Toms have more in common than Louisiana roots and a PGA Championship in their trophy collections.
Both players want more variety in how the PGA Tour sets up its golf courses.
When Sutton decided to resign after five years on the PGA Tour policy board, he knew Toms would replace him. And he knew the board would have another voice to speak out in favor of more balance in course setups.
''I'm passionate about what I believe, and I believe we need to make some changes,'' Sutton said. ''The tour is awesome at 99.9 percent of the things they do. But there's always room for improvement.''
Sutton did not resign out of frustration.
He is trying to build a children's hospital in Shreveport, La., and he spent the last two days at a fund-raising tournament. He wants to spend more time with his three young daughters and work on his game. And he needs to focus on his job as Ryder Cup captain.
''I was burning the candle on both ends,'' he said. ''That was the one spot I thought I could cut out and feel some relief.''
Sutton said knowing that Toms would replace him on the board ''prompted my decision.''
Toms was elected chairman of the Players Advisory Council in February, making him next in line to join the board. He spoke decisively two months ago about too many courses that he felt favored the big hitters.
''That's one thing I'm going to harp on,'' Toms said. ''At least once a month, give everybody a chance. There should be a lot of variety. We should be able to go places where we feel like we can contend.''
Sutton did not feel as if he was talking to a wall at policy board meetings, and he remains optimistic that ''some smart people will see the light one day.''
His biggest concern is that outside business interests are influencing the tour.
''We're trying to protect the game we love, a game that has been so good to us,'' Sutton said. ''What's wrong with the game is there's not enough people in the decision-making process who can touch it, feel it, smell it and sense it.''
Laura Diaz found a unique way to work on her wedge game. She sent her husband, Kevin, out into a field and had him retrieve her shots with a baseball glove.
''I worked a lot this offseason in having my husband out in a field with a glove, and hitting to the glove without knowing how far it was,'' Diaz said. ''I was looking at that glove and hitting the target. That has been pretty effective. I feel like I'm playing a game with him standing still, get it right in the mitt.''
And how did her husband feel about this game?
''Kevin doesn't mind, just as long as it doesn't go on too long,'' she said. ''He played baseball, so he's a pretty good outfielder.''
Zhang Lian-Wei, who beat Ernie Els with a birdie on the final hole to win the Singapore Masters, could be headed to America. He has been offered a sponsor's exemption to the Memorial, which would make him the first player from mainland China to play a PGA Tour event. ... While the PGA Tour already has had four multiple winners this year, Se Ri Pak became the first player on the LPGA Tour to win at least twice this year. ... Prize money at the British Open will increase by $160,000 to $6.24 million (3.9 million pounds) this year, but the winner's check will remain at $1.12 million (700,000 pounds).
Stat of the Week
Scott Hoch (23) and Fred Couples (20) are the only active players who have gone at least 20 years between their first and most recent PGA Tour victories.
''I like to know whether I don't need to do anything stupid, or whether I need to try to do something stupid.''
-- Mark Calcavecchia, on the value of watching scoreboards in the final round.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Even with broken driver, Salinda beats Hagestad at U.S. Am
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With a trip to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals on the line, and with the Pacific Ocean staring him in the face, Isaiah Salinda piped a 330-yard drive down Pebble Beach’s 18th hole.
Not a bad poke with a replacement driver.
Salinda’s Round of 16 match against Stewart Hagestad got off to a rocky start Thursday afternoon with an awkward tee shot on the second hole.
“The ball came out weird, with no spin,” said Salinda’s caddie and former Stanford teammate, Bradley Knox. “He said, ‘Yeah, that felt weird.’”
Salinda looked at the bottom of his Callaway Epic driver and noticed a crack.
Worried that they'd have to play the rest of the round with only a 3-wood, Knox called a Callaway equipment rep, told him the issue, and was relieved to hear he'd meet them at the back of the third tee. Salinda teed off the next hole with a 3-wood – he’d taken driver there all week – and wound up in a tricky spot, on the side of a mound, leading to a bogey.
“Then they came over and cranked the driver,” Knox said. “It was like a NASCAR pit crew.”
The replacement driver was nearly identical – same head, same loft, same weighting – except for the lie angle. The new one was a degree flatter than his gamer, which led to a few more pulled shots than usual.
“It took a little while to recover the mindset that we’d had the rest of the week,” Knox said.
Salinda downplayed the equipment malfunction – “I just had to adjust, and it wasn’t really a problem” – but he didn’t play well early. After trailing for just one hole during his first two matches, he was 4 over par and 2 down through 10 holes against Hagestad, the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who’d finally made match play after eight previous failed attempts.
On 11, Salinda finally got going, stuffing a wedge shot to 10 feet and recording his first birdie. He followed with three clutch pars before another good approach on 15, leading to a conceded birdie to square the match.
On the home hole, Salinda bombed his drive about 30 yards past Hagestad and had 220 yards to the flag. It was a perfect 4-iron distance, and he sent a rocket into a blinding sunset.
“I never saw it,” Salinda said. “I told my caddie: ‘Where is that? I have no idea.’ But it felt good.”
A lone voice shrieked as the ball landed on the green. They knew the shot had to be tight. Years ago, Stanford senior Chris Meyers had made an albatross on 18 for a walkoff victory with Lee Janzen at the PGA Tour Champions’ First Tee Open. Knox thought they’d come close to duplicating the feat.
“Probably almost had a Chris Meyers,” Knox said, chuckling, as they walked up the fairway.
The shot never had a chance to drop – turns out the spectator was well-lubricated – but it still was only 35 feet away, for eagle. Salinda cozied his putt to a few feet and could only watch as Hagestad’s last-ditch 25-footer stopped a rotation short of the cup.
The Round of 16 victory continued a breakout summer for Salinda. His 15th-place showing at the NCAA Championship kick-started a three-month stretch in which he’s finally taken his game to the next level.
“He’s shown flashes of brilliance before,” Knox said, “and he’s had the game. But now he has the consistency and the confidence that it’ll come back time and time again.”
Salinda shot 62 in the third round and won the Pacific Coast Amateur, which boasts one of the strongest fields of the summer. Then he finished third in stroke play at the Western Amateur before a quarterfinal loss in match play.
Now he’s one step closer to his biggest victory yet – even with a backup driver.
Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech
INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas' waited 77 minutes to line up her 4-foot putt to take the lead Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship.
She refused to let the weather delay get to her.
When the 29-year-old California player returned to the course, she quickly rolled in the birdie putt, finished her round with another birdie at No. 18 and took a two-shot lead over Angel Yin and Nasa Hataoka with a course record-tying 10-under 62.
''I didn't even think about it the entire time,'' Salas said. ''I was hanging out with Danielle (Kang) and she was giving me her silly dad jokes. So it definitely kept my mind off of it. I was really excited to be back and to finish off with a birdie, from off the green, was the icing on the cake.''
It's the lowest score by a female player at the Brickyard Crossing.
Defending champion Lexi Thompson opened last year's inaugural tournament with a 63, one shot off of Mike McCullough's 62 in the PGA Champions Tour's 1999 Comfort Classic.
But the way the saturated 6,456-yard course played Thursday, Salas needed virtually every putt of her career-best round to reach the top of the leaderboard.
The morning starters took advantage of overnight rain by shooting right at the pins.
And nobody made a bigger early splash than Yin, the 19-year-old Californian who finished second in last year's rookie of the year race.
She opened with five straight birdies and shot 8-under 28 on the front nine. Only a par on No. 6 prevented her from becoming the sixth LPGA player to shoot 27 on nine holes. South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee did it most recently at the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup.
Yin also tied the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.
Her only bobble came with a bogey on No. 13 and she closed out her best career round with a birdie on No. 18.
''I have never done that before,'' she said. ''I had nine putts, I think, on the front nine, which is incredible. I've never had that many little putts. But it just felt good. Everything was working.''
Last year's runner-up for rookie of the year has never won an LPGA Tour title in her home country though she did win in a playoff at Dubai on the Ladies European Tour.
Everybody seemed to find their groove Thursday.
Eighty-eight of the 143 players shot under par and 54 were 3-under or better.
And with more rain in the forecast Thursday night and Friday, the scores could go even lower as a star-studded cast chases down Salas, Yin and Hataoka.
Four players, including Kang and Jane Park, are three shots behind.
Seven players, including last year's tournament runner-up Lydia Ko, are four shots back. Ko was tied with Yin for the lead - until she knocked her tee shot on the par-4, 16th into the water. She wound up with a double bogey and birdied the final hole to finish with 66.
After taking a monthlong break to recover from physical and mental exhaustion, Thompson looked relaxed and comfortable in her return to the course. She shot 68.
''It was hard for me to take the break because I didn't want to show weakness,'' she said. ''But at the same time, it takes a lot of strength to acknowledge that you need that kind of break and just take time for yourself, especially when you're in the spotlight like this.''
Salas, meanwhile, started fast with an eagle on the par-5 second and finished with a flurry.
She birdied three straight holes on the front side to get to 5-under, added birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 to get to 7-under and then birdied the final three holes - around the approaching storm - to put herself in contention for her first title since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.
''I have been just striking the ball really well this entire year, and just glad some more putts dropped today,'' she said. ''I was really refreshed. I didn't practice at all last week, and I was just really eager and excited to be back.''
Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters
GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.
Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''
The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.
Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.
Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.
Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals
After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.
Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.
But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.
Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."
The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.