Creamer returns for LPGA Navistar Classic

By Associated PressOctober 7, 2010, 1:16 am

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PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Paula Creamer is greeted by a comforting sight every time she walks into her kitchen: the U.S. Women’s Open trophy. It reminds her of her first major win and the biggest highlight from a tough year.

Now, Creamer and her still-healing thumb are ready to play in the $1.3 million LPGA Navistar Classic for the first time, starting Thursday at the 6,607-yard, par-72 Senator Course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill.

Creamer was sidelined four months after reconstructive surgery on her left thumb March 30 – coincidentally an hour away in Birmingham – and still sports a bandage as a constant reminder.

The trophy sitting in her home is a more pleasant reminder – of July’s four-stroke U.S. Open win at Oakmont that eased the burden of a top player seeking her first win at a major.

“I can walk into my house and see the U.S. Open trophy on my kitchen table,” Creamer, who has nine LPGA wins and has played on three winning Solheim Cup teams, said Wednesday. “It’s kind of nice, it’s different. I’ve never been a trophy person, but that one’s beautiful. I can look at it all day.”

She’s coming off a five-week break that included several weeks off the course, skipping the Northwest Arkansas Championship nearly a month ago. Her best finish since the U.S. Open was a tie for 15th at the Canadian Women’s Open.

“As long as I give myself a chance on Sunday, that’s all I can really ask for,” Creamer said. “Coming down the stretch, the last nine holes, if I’m in contention I will be happy. It’s been a difficult year. But we’ve got a couple of more events left that I can fight through and 2010 will be done with.”

It’s her first time playing in the Classic in suburban Montgomery, but one aspect of the course caught her attention quickly.

“The greens are huge, probably the biggest greens I’ve ever played besides somewhere in the British Open,” Creamer said. “It’s a good track. They don’t look as pretty right now, but they’re rolling pretty nicely, quick. It always comes down to putting the ball in the right place. You can’t have 45-footers all over.”

The Classic field includes half of the top 10-ranked players, led by No. 1 Ai Miyazato and No. 3 Cristie Kerr, who missed Wednesday’s pro-am.

Michelle Wie and No. 2 Yani Tseng are among those sitting out the first of six consecutive events. Tseng took her third win of the year in Arkansas with a one-stroke victory over Wie. She had matched the Classic’s tournament record by shooting 63 in the second round last year.

Fifteen-year-old Alexis Thompson returns after sharing the second-round lead a year ago and finishing tied for 27th. Her best LPGA finish was a second-place tie at the Evian Masters.

The Classic is her last exemption of the year.

The event is assured of a new winner because Lorena Ochoa, who retired in May, won on the last two trips to Prattville.

In-Kyung Kim comes in as one of the hottest players, with seven top 10s in the last eight tournaments, while Miyazato is seeking her sixth victory of the year.

“Right now, it’s a little bit tough to control myself as situations are constantly changing,” Miyazato said. “The top 5 players are very close and in contention all the time.”

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Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One behind overnight leader Scott Piercy to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under. Cabrera Bello will round out the final tee time with Koepka and Poulter.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.

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Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.