Cherry Hills First Hole Honors Palmer

By Associated PressJune 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- The brick monument set to the side of the tiny first tee box beckons as both an honor and a challenge. It honors Arnold Palmer, who hit the shot of his life from that elevated location at Cherry Hills Country Club. It challenges anyone who hits a shot from there ever more.
This week, the 156 players entered in the U.S. Women's Open will get their chance.
'There's no point in hitting driver because there's no chance,' Laura Davies insists.
But heading into the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open, Palmer figured it was worth attacking the green on the 313-yard, par-4 hole. So, he hitched up his pant legs, grabbed a driver and cranked the ball through the thin, mile-high air. It flew about 300 yards, bounced hard in the rough and trickled out, onto the green.
The result was the first of four straight birdies, the beginning of what still stands as the greatest comeback in U.S. Open history.
'Actually, I hit it so good, I wasn't sure it wouldn't go over the green,' Palmer said Wednesday in a telephone interview from his office in Latrobe, Pa. 'So, I was happy to see it hit in the rough and go onto the green.'
That Palmer, the gambler's gambler, would take such a chance and produce one of the best shots in the history of golf wasn't a given until a lunchtime conversation with golf writers Bob Drum of the Pittsburgh Press and Dan Jenkins of the Fort Worth Press.
Back then, the final two rounds were played Saturday, and after his third round left him seven shots out of the lead, Palmer went to lunch and asked the writers how far a 65, which would leave him at even-par 280, might go toward winning the tournament.
'Doesn't 280 always win the Open?' Palmer said.
'Two-eighty won't do you a damn bit of good,' Drum replied.
Infuriated, Palmer left his hamburger at the table and stormed off to the first tee.
His eagle putt went two feet past the hole and Palmer settled for birdie. Still, the tone had been set. Palmer's four straight birdies helped him to the 65 he had predicted. The seven-shot deficit he made up still stands as the greatest final-day comeback in U.S. Open history.
Forty-five years later, Palmer said he still believes the shot on No. 1 at Cherry Hills is the one he will always be singularly identified with.
Could someone else become a part of that history this week?
A generation ago, no woman would even think about making the shot. But the players are better and so is the equipment, and the hole, which has been lengthened by about 30 yards, is eminently reachable for the top players.
During practice rounds, fans crowded around the first hole to watch the top players hit.
Despite being egged on, Annika Sorenstam simply pulled out a 4-iron and hit a shot safely down the middle of the fairway.
Michelle Wie went for it, but came about 15 yards short, into the thick rough, and later conceded that she probably won't do it once the shots start counting.
'I don't think that's the right play there,' she said.
If there's any player who might take a chance, it would figure to be a big hitter like Davies, but even she doesn't think the risk is worth it. The rough in front of the green is four inches long, much gnarlier than it was in Palmer's day.
'If they had cut the rough down in the front edge, it might be worth it,' she said. 'But there's no point leaving it 20 yards in that stuff.'
Arnie's advice if were he on Davies' bag? Take a wild guess.
'You don't have to ask me that,' Palmer said.
He conceded, though, that 'it takes a certain personality' to try to drive a par-4.
Certainly, the King had it.
He was at his peak in 1960. The win at Cherry Hills gave him the first two legs of the grand slam and was the third of seven major championships he won in a seven-year span.
'Arnie's Army' was taking off and Palmer was bringing a game for blue bloods and the country-club set straight to the common man.
It was gambits like the one he took on No. 1 at Cherry Hills that made it happen.
Today, besides the plaque and the rough, which is a little higher, the hole looks essentially the same as it did in 1960. A small ditch runs along the right side. It was that same ditch that Palmer hit into on his first shot of the tournament, en route to a double bogey.
'I felt like I had a chance to win the Open, and starting off with that happening is rather upsetting,' he said.
A few years after his victory, Palmer was called on to help redesign the golf course and, oddly enough, he wanted to move the tee box to a spot from where the green could not be reached.
He said his friends at the course talked him out of that move.
'They said, `Arnie, you made the hole famous. Put it back where it was,'' Palmer said. 'They objected to that, and I'm happy they did.'
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    Levy wins Trophee Hassan for fifth European Tour title

    By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 6:32 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - Alexander Levy finished with a 2-under 70 Sunday to win the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco by a shot from overnight leader Alvaro Quiros.

    One off the lead overnight, Levy made two of his four birdies in his first five holes to hit the front and stayed ahead for the rest of the final day at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course.

    It was the 27-year-old Frenchman's fifth European Tour victory and he will take winning form to Beijing next week when he defends his China Open title.

    Levy ended 8-under 280 overall, one ahead of Spain's Quiros, who closed with a second straight 72.

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    With his chasers pushing hard, Levy kept his cool after dropping a shot on No. 16. He birdied the short, par-3 No. 17 and made par at the last.

    Quiros birdied his last two holes to make sure of second place outright. He needed an eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff.

    A group of four players finished in a tie for third, including Italy's Andrea Pavan, who finished with a brilliant 6-under 66. Swedish pair Joakim Lagergren (70) and Alexander Bjork (70) and Finland's Mikko Ilonen (72) also shared third.

    Levy had three other top 10 finishes in his five previous events this season and moved up to ninth on the European Tour's Race to Dubai points list.

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    (Not that) Jutanugarn shares lead with (not that) Ko

    By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 1:58 am

    LOS ANGELES - A player eager for her first win and a rookie top the leaderboard at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open. Lurking two shots back is a Hall of Famer.

    Winless Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie rookie Jin Young Ko at 9 under on Saturday at Wilshire Country Club.

    Ko shot a 66 in her bid to become the year's first two-time LPGA winner. She won the Women's Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member after a successful run on the Korean LPGA circuit.

    ''I'm ready for win or top 10, so maybe tomorrow I will really focus on shot by shot,'' said Ko, who added an exclamation point to her golf bag for each of her wins on the KLPGA. ''I won 11 times, so if I win tomorrow, maybe I change to 12. I need more, I need every time motivation.''

    Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.

    Usually when one of the Thai sisters is in the lead, the other will watch when her round is finished.

    ''If she's not too lazy, she is probably going to come out,'' Moriya said about Ariya.

    Playing in an all-Korean threesome, Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole. The group drew a large contingent of Korean fans.

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    ''I kind of started off a little bad. I was able to come back strong, so I'm really happy with that,'' Park said. ''I left a few putts out there. The greens around this golf course are just really tough. You just don't know what's going to happen.''

    Moriya Jutanugarn's round included a double bogey on the par-4 first hole and a bogey on the par-4 sixth. She eagled the par-4 14th after holing out from the fairway 93 feet away. The ball took once bounce and went in, eliciting a stunned look from Jutanugarn before she high-fived her caddie.

    ''Today was kind of a pretty rough day for me with not a very good start and like trying to come back,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I just try to play my game and be patient out there I think is the key.''

    Jutanugarn, the second-round leader, read the break perfectly on a long putt to make birdie on 18 and share the lead with Ko.

    Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th from 180 yards. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled after three bogeys and a double bogey. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.

    ''It was like one bounce and then it like trickled in,'' Inglis said.

    Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.

    Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.

    Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 under.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 70 and was in a six-way tie for 12th at 2 under.

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    Defending champs Singh, Franco take senior lead

    By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 12:15 am

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco took the third-round lead Saturday in the windy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Singh and Franco shot a 7-under 47 in wind gusting to 20 mph on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to get to 19-under 145, a stroke ahead of the teams of David Toms-Steve Flesch and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett.

    ''It was a tough day,'' Singh said. ''The wind was swirling, have to get the club right and we made some putts. Carlos played really well on the back nine and I played really well on the front nine, so we ham-and-egged it a little.''

    Toms and Flesch also shot 47, and Broadhurst and Triplett had a 33 on the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course.

    ''We just paired well together,'' Toms said. ''I don't think either one of us played great. We picked each other up out there.''

    Wind and rain is expected Sunday when the teams finish at Top of the Rock, again playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

    ''Make as many birdies as possible and see what happens,'' Singh said. ''That's all we can do.''

    Singh and Franco are trying to become the first to successfully defend a title since Jim Colbert and Andy North in 2001. Singh won the Toshiba Classic in March for his first individual senior title.

    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

    Flesch won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last week in Georgia for his first senior victory.

    Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer had a 34 at Mountain Top to join Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal at 17 under. Jimenez and Olazabal had a 33 at Mountain Top.

    ''It's great for me to be able to play with him as a team member,'' Olazabal said. ''We do have great memories from the Ryder Cup and other events, and it's always a great pleasure to play with a great player and a friend.''

    Langer took the final-round forecast in stride.

    ''We've done it hundreds of times before and we'll probably do it again,'' Langer said. ''We'll make the best of it. We both have a good attitude. We're known to play in all sorts of weather and I just look forward to playing one more day with my partner here.''

    Wisconsin neighbors Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were 16 under after a 48 at Top of the Rock.

    John Daly and Michael Allen, the second-round leaders after a 46 at Top of the Rock, had a 37 at Mountain Top to drop into a tie for seventh at 15 under.

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    Landry shares Valero lead, eyes first career win

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 11:15 pm

    After coming up just short of a breakthrough win earlier this season, Andrew Landry has another chance to earn his maiden victory at the Valero Texas Open.

    Landry came within inches of winning the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, ultimately losing to Jon Rahm in a four-hole playoff. He struggled to find form in the wake of his close call, missing the cut in each of his four starts following his runner-up finish in Palm Springs.

    But Landry took some time off to welcome his first child, Brooks, last month and he made it to the weekend in his first start back last week at the RBC Heritage, where he finished T-42. He made a move up the standings Saturday at TPC San Antonio with a bogey-free 67, and at 13 under shares the lead with Zach Johnson heading into the final round.

    "I just did everything really good," Landry told reporters. "I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat, and I had a couple bad putts that I didn't really make. I'm happy with it, it's a good 5-under round. Gets me in the final group tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

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    Landry started the day one shot off the pace and in the final group with Johnson and Ryan Moore, and at one point he took sole possession of the lead after birdies on three of his first six holes. Now he'll have another chance in the day's final tee time where he's grouped with Johnson and Trey Mullinax, who sits one shot back after firing a course-record 62 in the third round.

    For Landry, it's another opportunity to break into the winner's circle, and it's one for which he feels prepared after coming so close three months ago.

    "I mean, I don't want to go too deep into it because I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I just believe in myself. There's no other explanation for it," Landry said. "You can totally get out here and play with Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, two top players in the world, and you can go out there and fold under pressure or you can learn a lot.

    "Zach's always been a role model to me the way he plays golf, I feel like we have very similar games, and it's just going to be fun tomorrow getting to play with him again."