Annikas Team In Need of Big Rally
After sweeping the opening alternate-shot session Friday at The Vines Resort and Country Club course, Asia took 3 1/2 of six points in best-ball play to take the big lead into the 11 singles matches Sunday.
'Everybody is excited,' Pak said. 'Basically, we have had a good two days and we feel great about our chances to retain the cup.'
The singles matches were reduced from 12 to 11 after Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen was forced to withdraw during the round after aggravating a back injury. Asia captain Pak, bothered by shoulder pain throughout the weekend, also will sit out Sunday, with Pak and International captain Sorenstam agreeing to halve the match.
'I had a secret meeting with Se Ri and she showed a lot of class and decided to tie that match,' Sorenstam said.
With Pak out of the lineup, Sorenstam will face Candie Kung in the opening match.
'My shoulder is hurting and this is the understanding that we came to,' Pak said. 'It's not going to be easy to not be playing with my team for the first time ever. I'm just going to be out there to support them.'
With the halved singles match leaving the score 10-3, Asia needs only two points Sunday to retain the cup and the International team needs 9 1/2 to win.
'We are going to come out firing. We have nothing to lose,' Morgan Pressel said. 'Hopefully, we can get a lot of birdies.'
Asia is trying to successfully defend its title after beating the International team 12 1/2 -11 1/2 last year at Tanah Merah in Singapore. The International team won the inaugural matches 16-8 in 2005, also at Tanah Merah.
Natalie Gulbis played the final seven holes alone after partner Pettersen withdrew. The American pulled within one of Jee Young Lee and Seon Hwa Lee with a birdie on 15 before finally falling when the South Koreans birdied the 18th for a 2-up decision.
'I was thinking, 'I've got the chance to make history here. One international player against two Team Asia players,'' Gulbis said, joking.
'No, I was worrying about Suzann. Suzann is a really, really tough player, and she had been in pain all day from yesterday's driving range session.
'I was just supporting her and encouraging her to take care of herself. But for a player like Suzann to withdraw due to pain, you know something is going wrong. I just wanted to play well for Suzann, for my team, for Annika.'
Sorenstam was amazed when told that Gulbis rallied to extend the match to 18.
'Wow! I didn't know that,' Sorenstam said.
The victory was the Lees' second straight over the International duo.
Amy Hung and Ji Yai Shin also topped their International opponents for the second consecutive round, beating Brittany Lincicome and Maria Hjorth 2 and 1.
Angela Park and Nikki Campbell gave the International team its first point, beating Jeong Jang and Shi Hyun Ahn 3 and 2 in the opening match.
'Angela played very well, so I just came along for the ride,' said Campbell, the lone Australian in the International lineup.
Cristie Kerr and Nicole Castrale also earned a full point for the International side with a 3-and-2 victory over Sarah Lee and Meena Lee.
'I didn't have my game in the best of sorts today, but that's what best ball is all about,' said Kerr, the U.S. Women's Open winner. 'Nicole carried me for a bit and I helped out on a couple of holes. She played terrifically.'
Pressel and Stacy Prammanasudh halved with Kung and Ayako Uehara.
'It was a very tough match and it was very exciting,' Uehara said.
Kung made a par putt on 18 to match Pressel and Prammanasudh.
'I was just thinking about making the putt,' Kung said. 'Ayako had been making a lot of putts today, so I thought I would do something for the girls and I did it.'
Sorenstam wasn't about to concede defeat.
'We have to play very hard, obviously,' the Swedish star said. 'It's going to be quite the comeback, but I can see it and we're going to do it.'
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OB tee shot, bunker trouble dooms Rahm to MC
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The key to surviving Carnoustie is avoiding the bunkers.
Jon Rahm found three bunkers to close out the front nine Friday, the start of a triple bogey-double-bogey run that led to a second-round 78 and missed cut at The Open.
“All of them were as bad a lie as they could have been,” he said. “Besides that, things didn’t happen. I can’t give an explanation, really. I don’t know.”
Rahm’s troubles started on the seventh hole, a par 4 with a steady left-to-right wind. Out of bounds loomed left, and Rahm, who primarily plays a cut shot, hadn’t missed left all week. This time, his ball didn’t curve, and the OB tee shot led to a triple.
“Whenever I start missing shots to the left,” he said, “it’s really hard for me to play.”
After a career-best fourth-place finish at the Masters, Rahm has now missed the cut in consecutive majors.
“Right now I’m not in any mental state to think about what happened, to be honest,” he said.
Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.
Bernhard Langer did not.
The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.
"You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."
Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.
Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.
"I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."
Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.
As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.
"I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."
Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.
Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.
Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.
“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”
Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.
“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”
Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.
Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.
Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.
Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.