A Big Kid with High Aspirations

By Associated PressJune 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Michelle Wie is only 15 and already has a keen sense of golf history, even moments that happened 30 years before she was born.
 
Standing on the first tee at Cherry Hills, a 346-yard hole that plays slightly downhill, she pulled the driver from the bag and gave it a rip. With help from the mile-high air, she came up about 15 yards short of the green and into the mangled rough. It was not a smart play, and she knows that.
 
But the opening hole provided the most enduring moment at Cherry Hills. It was the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open when Arnold Palmer, seven shots out of the lead and motivated by talk that he had no chance to win, drove the first green and made birdie on his way to a 65 that gave him a two-shot victory over 20-year-old amateur Jack Nicklaus.
 
A lot of people have told me many times before, and its great, Wie said Tuesday. I mean, its really wonderful how he hit that hole with the persimmon wood. I could have never imagined hitting with a wooded head driver.
 
Wie just finished her sophomore year at the Punahou School in Honolulu, and in some respects is motivated by being told what she cannot, or should not do. Some have questioned what she is doing on the LPGA Tour, that she would be better served learning how to dominate against players her own age.
 
Others wonder why shes playing against the men. She has missed two cuts on the PGA Tour with another opportunity coming in two weeks at the John Deere Classic.
 
I think that the one characteristic that I have is .... I dont really listen to anyone, and that I believe really strongly in what I do and that Im not really afraid of anything, she said. I dont think, What if I play bad, what if I do this. Thats one of the things that helps me to overcome a lot of things.
 
But she is no longer just a teenage phenom at the U.S. Womens Open, someone who attracts large crowds because of her age, her slender 6-foot frame and her prodigious tee shots.
 
She now is a contender.
 
Two weeks ago, Wie was the only player to break par all four rounds at Bulle Rock north of Baltimore, finishing three shots behind Annika Sorenstam in the LPGA Championship. Then she went to Pittsburgh and was co-medalist at the U.S. Amateur Links qualifier, making her the first female to qualify for an adult USGA championship for men.
 
At Cherry Hills, she might have as good a chance as anyone to stop Sorenstams quest for the Grand Slam when the U.S. Womens Open starts Thursday.
 
I think that Michelle Wie has proven herself, Jill McGill said. Shes what, 15 years old? She finished second a couple of weeks ago at the LPGA. I dont know how many top-10s shes had in our majors (three). Shes proven that she can compete with the best women golfers in the world.
 
Wie missed the cut at the Sony Open on the PGA Tour in January, but she has two runner-up finishes on the LPGA Tour and would have won $292,339 -- enough to be 16th on the LPGA money list in just four tournaments.
 
She isnt the only teenager capable of winning.
 
Paula Creamer, 18, won her first LPGA Tour event a week before going through high school graduation, then nearly won again last week until Lorena Ochoa fired off five straight birdies. Morgan Pressel is 17 and a senior-to-be in high school, and has beaten Wie in the U.S. Junior Girls Amateur.
 
Pressel qualified for the Womens Open when she was 12 in 2001, and has easily made the cut in the two LPGA Tour events she has played. Her only beef with Wie is all the attention heaped on her, leaving other teenagers with ample talent to pick up the scraps.
 
Wies hype began when PGA Tour players raved about her game at age 12, and Tom Lehman dubbed her the Big Wiesy because her swing reminded him so much of Ernie Els.
 
When Wie qualified for an LPGA event at age 12 in her native Hawaii, then won the U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links at 13 and shot 68 in the Sony Open a year later, her popularity soared. She played a practice round Tuesday afternoon by herself, and more than 1,000 fans were in tow.
 
For some reason, she is the chosen one, Cristie Kerr said. People just want to turn on the TV and watch, and thats good for the rest of us. Shes just got this aura around her that makes people want to pay attention.
 
Still, the attention is squarely on Sorenstam at this major championship.
 
She got her first look at the Cherry Hills on Tuesday and will speak to reporters on Wednesday, but the prevailing question is not whether she can win all four majors, but if anyone can stop her?
 
Sorenstam won the Kraft Nabisco Championship by eight shots, then was leading by eight shots at Bulle Rock until she made meaningless bogeys down the stretch and made the margin look smaller than it was.
 
There might be an intimidation factor, especially with Sorenstam having won six of the eight tournaments she has played this year, although that doesnt mean her peers are waving a white flag.
 
Not even the pups.
 
When I got to the airport, the lady that picked us up at the baggage claim area said, Well, it looks like Annika is going to win. And Im thinking, Its Saturday. We still have to play, Pressel said. Im going to give it a shot. Anything can happen. If somebody can get hot, you never know.
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”