Creamer Shares Top Spot in Hawaii

By Associated PressFebruary 15, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Hawaii -- Coming off a winless season, Paula Creamer wants to add a trophy to her collection as soon as possible.
 
The 20-year-old star put herself in position to do just that Thursday, shooting a 5-under 67 for a share of the first-round lead with rookie Paige Mackenzie and Sherri Steinhauer in the LPGA Tour's season-opening SBS Open.
 
'I worked really hard this offseason. I want to win,' Creamer said.
 
Natalie Gulbis
Natalie Gulbis is one shot back of the leaders. (Wire Images)
She is seeking her first win since 2005 when she won twice, finished second on the money list and earned rookie of the year honors. Last season, Creamer had 14 top-10 finishes, including a second-place tie in the LPGA Tournament of Champions.
 
'It was one of those years where my expectations were incredibly high and I kind of put pressure on myself,' said Creamer, who earned $1,076,163 last season to set an LPGA record for the most earnings in a season without a victory.
 
She was steady all day with a bogey-free round, displaying a strong iron game and making a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to reach 5 under.
 
Creamer said can't believe it's her third year on tour.
 
'Twenty years old and feeling like a veteran,' she said.
 
The surf was up but the wind stayed down, leaving several players jostling for position on the Palmer Course. Waves as high as 15 feet pounded Oahu's stunning North Shore.
 
Julieta Granada, the winner of the season-ending ADT Championship, was a stroke back at 68 along with Natalie Gulbis, Sung Ah Yim and Wendy Ward. The group at 69 included Morgan Pressel, Juli Inkster, Yu Ping Lin, Janice Moodie, Irene Cho, Alena Sharp, Hee-Won Han and Stacy Prammanasudh.
 
In addition to winning the season-ender, Granada teamed with Celeste Troche to give Paraguay its first Women's World Cup title last month in South Africa.
 
The $1 million paycheck from ADT was the biggest in tour history and pushed Granada's rookie season total to a record $1.6 million, breaking Creamer's 2005 mark of $1.5 million.
 
Granada said she saved most of the money, but treated herself to a Range Rover.
 
'We can't spend it all in a day,' said Granada, who posted seven top-10 finishes last year.
 
In her first start as an LPGA Tour member, Mackenzie opened on No. 10 and made the turn at even-par before birdieing five of her last nine holes.
 
The former University of Washington star earned her tour card by tying for 12th at Q-school. She wasn't nervous until seeing her name on top of the leaderboard while walking to the green on the last hole.
 
'My heart started beating faster,' she said. 'Then I birdied so maybe I need to scoreboard watch more often.'
 
On the 376-yard second hole, Mackenzie hit a 7-iron into the wind that left her with a 23-foot birdie putt that broke 3 feet to the right before dropping in the cup.
 
The only thing that took her out of her rhythm was a bee during her drive on No. 16. The shot sailed 30 yards right of the green and Mackenzie punched out of the rough, but failed to get up and down to save par.
 
'It was one of those big, black ones. They are kind of mean. It was scary,' said Mackenzie, who turned 24 on Feb. 8
 
Last year, she tied for 23rd in the Wendy's Championship, helped the U.S. team win the Curtis Cup and became the first player in Washington history to win the Pac-10 Championship individual title.
 
She recently moved from her hometown of Yakima, Wash., dubbed the 'Palm Springs of Washington,' to the real Palm Springs where she lives with her brother, Brock, who plays on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Steinhauer, who won the Women's British Open last year for her second career major, holed a wedge shot from 105 yards for eagle on the par-4 14th and made a 20-foot birdie put on the 18th to reach 5 under.
 
'It was a very steady first round. I'm happy with the start,' said the 44-year-old from Wisconsin.
 
Karrie Webb was at 70 and LPGA player of the year Lorena Ochoa was another stroke back in a group that included Cristie Kerr.
 
Big Island native Kimberly Kim, who last year became the youngest champion of the U.S. Women's Amateur at age 14, opened with a 73. Fellow amateur, 16-year-old Taylore Karle, was at 76.
 
Defending champion Joo Mi Kim struggled to a 5-over 77. Jennifer Rosales, the 2005 champion, was at 79 after a horrendous start that included two bogeys and two double bogeys in the first five holes.
 
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


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    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”