Creamer shares Lotte lead in rainy Hawaii

By Associated PressApril 13, 2017, 8:55 am

KAPOLEI, Hawaii - A funny thing happened in sunny Hawaii while waiting for someone to break away from a pack of leaders in the opening round of the LPGA Lotte Championship Wednesday.

Rain zeroed in on Ko Olina Golf Club, forcing a 45-minute delay.

Then Paula Creamer and South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee took over, bolting into first at 6-under 66. Both had seven birdies and a bogey, with Lee's coming on the final hole, in the dark.

''I couldn't see the line or anything,'' she said. ''It was too hard.''

Play was suspended with six golfers still on the course.

Lee, 24, made the cut just once in three previous starts at Ko Olina. She is ranked 51st in the world, with a win in 2014 after earning Rookie of the Year honors on the 2012 Symetra Tour.

Two of Creamer's 10 victories have come in Hawaii and she would surpass $12 million in career earnings with a win Saturday.

Her only bogey came on the 15th and she erased it with a tap-in birdie two holes later. She waited out the rain delay under the waterfall next to the 12th hole, sitting next to 2012 champion Ai Miyazato.

''I'm 30, I'm getting old out here,'' Creamer said. ''I was like, 'Oh, gosh. I got to warmup a bit.' I went out with a good two-putt (at No. 12) and then birdied the par-5 right afterwards.

''You know, I played solid. I putted really well. I switched back to conventional-style putting. I've been left-hand-low for the last three years. This is my first week back doing that and using my line, and seems to be doing pretty good so far.''

Lizette Salas, Su-Yeon Jang, Beth Allen and Eun-Hee Ji shot 67 in the morning, when the wind came and went. Canadian Alena Sharp joined them in the afternoon, playing her final two holes after rain drenched the course and left puddles on the greens and in bunkers.

Photos: Best of Paula Creamer through the years

Salas, who played for the U.S. in the last two Solheim Cups, has fond and frustrating memories of Ko Olina. She fired a career-low 62 in the final round of the 2013 Lotte, but lost a playoff with Suzann Pettersen. They still share the tournament record of 19-under 269.

Salas played the back nine in 29 that day. She was 4 under Wednesday and finished with seven birdies. A pair of bogeys on the front nine kept her out of the lead.

''This week we really just tried to be aggressive from the get-go,'' said Salas, who broke 70 just twice in her first seven tournaments this year. ''I know this course pretty well and I've had some good success here, so being comfortable and confident coming in just really gave me that start that we've been wanting.''

She was not alone. Nearly half the field broke par on a day when the tropical breeze came and went, leaving a huge dark cloud over the course that let loose just before 4 p.m.

Leaders will come at Thursday's second round from very different directions.

Salas' only win came the year after she lost the playoff with Pettersen. Jang is playing on a sponsor exemption for the second time. She finished fifth last year. Ji won the 2009 U.S. Women's Open and was third there last year, but has never been in the Top 15 at Ko Olina.

Allen, 35, has never played Ko Olina before. She was a rookie on the LPGA tour in 2005, then moved around before becoming the first American to lead the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit last year.

''It was a great year for me,'' she said on TV. ''I thought I'd go back to the States and see what happens. I've taken my experience with all those wins and being in contention more and brought it here.

''At the end of the day it's golf. It's the same in every country. I thought I'd try it again on the LPGA.''

Sharp, 35, is coming off her best season, finishing 41st on last year's money list. She has played all six Lottes, with her best finish in her first, when she tied for 25th.

Second-ranked So Yeon Ryu, who won the year's first major two weeks ago, parred her last nine holes and shot 68. She can overtake top-ranked Lydia Ko with a win here.

Hawaii's Michelle Wie, the 2014 Lotte champion, shot 71.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.