Cabrera-Bello thrives others struggle at US Open

By Associated PressJune 18, 2010, 3:15 am

2010 U.S. Open

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Early in the first U.S. Open round of his career, Rafael Cabrera-Bello looked up at the scoreboard, saw his name on top and had one thought flash to mind.

“I hope my dad takes a picture.”

Cabrera-Bello led the way Thursday among golfers making their U.S. Open debuts. The 26-year-old Spaniard posted a 1-under 70 after teeing off in the first group of the cool morning, then watched that score keep him near the top of the leaderboard for most of the afternoon.

The first-timers ranged in age from 42-year-old Deane Pappas to 18-year-old U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An.

Very few who played early found the success of Cabrera-Bello. He reached 2-under within his first seven holes and, with most of the field yet to tee off, found his name at the top.

“I looked up at the scoreboard and it’s hard for me to even believe I’m playing here. So when I looked up at the scoreboard I thought, ‘I hope my dad takes a picture,’ so I can remember that,” Cabrera-Bello said.

While Cabrera-Bello was making it look simple, recovering from a potentially disastrous string of three bogeys in four holes midway through his round to close strong, other newcomers were posting huge numbers.

Pappas and Travis Hampshire both shot a 10-over 81. Dan McCarthy, a Syracuse, N.Y., native, was 5 over through eight holes on his way to a 9-over 80.

“I tried to be steady. I tried not to look too much around me. I saw scores all day long off the charts, mine included. I just tried to hit the next shot. I couldn’t do anything else,” McCarthy said. “I’m still just playing golf, on a much bigger stage and in front of a lot more people than I’m used to. I tried to not let that bother me either.”

Amateurs found just as much trouble as the pros. Pepperdine golfer Andrew Putnam sent shots on Nos. 6 and 8 over the edge of Pebble Beach’s treacherous cliffs. Stanford’s Joseph Bramlett posted a triple-bogey eight on the 14th as part of a 44 on his opening nine holes. He rallied to shoot 35 on his back nine, but still sat at 8 over.

Morgan Hoffman was one amateur who appeared to figure out Pebble in the afternoon – until the 18th. Hoffman was even-par on the 18th tee, but put two shots into Stillwater Cove, posted a 9 on the final hole and finished at 4-over.

“The gallery was extremely nice today. I knew I had a lot of friends and family but I didn’t know that many were going to come out and support me like that,” Bramlett said. “Makes you feel better when you’re not playing so great.”

There weren’t any signs of Cabrera-Bello shooting a round like Thursday’s in his recent events. He missed the cut in three of his previous four European Tour events, shooting 71 or higher in 19 of his previous 20 rounds before Thursday’s effort.

The fact he even had his clubs to play with was an accomplishment itself.

As Cabrera-Bello attempted to board his flight in Madrid, a problem with his electronic visa waiver to the United States kept him from boarding his flight. He was forced to scramble, eventually staying the night with an uncle in Madrid and boarding a flight to Philadelphia on Sunday morning, but his clubs went missing in the process.

Cabrera-Bello was forced to walk the course on Monday with just a few wedges he borrowed. His clubs finally arrived on Tuesday in time to get a little feel for the golf course.

“It’s my first major and I just told myself ‘I’m finally here, so just try to enjoy and play your best and stay calm through your round,”’ Cabrera-Bello said. “It started good for me on the first hole and then I had throughout the middle of the round I made several bogeys but it was nice to get it back at the end.”

After making his par putt on the ninth hole – his last – Cabrera-Bello raced up to his family with a giant grin, then watched the rest of the field chase him.

“I could only dream about a day like this,” Cabrera-Bello said. “I maybe imagined it when I was 8 or 9 years old but never expected something like this.”

Getty Images

Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

Getty Images

Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''

Getty Images

Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

Mmm Visuals / Lancaster Country Club

Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”