Defending Champ Loves Low Profile

By Associated PressJune 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Annika Sorenstam is trying to win the Grand Slam, Michelle Wie is long off the tee and on potential. Natalie Gulbis gets attention for her looks and Jill McGill is the hometown favorite.
Meg Mallon? The defending champion has spent the week at Cherry Hills Country Club in relative obscurity.
Oh sure, she got a nice ovation on the first tee before her practice round Wednesday, but the rest of the morning was spent playing in front about 50 fans while huge galleries followed Wie in the group ahead and Sorenstam across the course.
Not that it mattered to Mallon.
Unlike Retief Goosen, who said he felt underappreciated as defending champion heading into last week's U.S. Open at Pinehurst, Mallon has enjoyed staying just out of the spotlight's reach.
``I don't mind being out of radar,'' she said. ``I am not someone who needs to be in the forefront of things.''
It's certainly worked in the past.
Mallon didn't play particularly well heading into last year's U.S. Women's Open at Orchards Golf Club in Massachusetts and opened the tournament with a 2-over-par 73. She jumped into contention with a 67 on Saturday, but most of the attention was still on Sorenstam and leader Jennifer Rosales.
But after being a bystander to so many moments in history -- Sorenstam's 59, Karrie Webb entering the Hall of Fame, Julie Inkster's career Grand Slam -- Mallon put together the greatest final round in the 60-year history of the U.S. Women's Open.
Trailing Rosales by three shots at the start, Mallon shot a 65 and held off Sorenstam by two strokes to win her second Open 13 years after her first -- the longest gap in history.
``I love the way I did it last year,'' Mallon said. ``I didn't have to do this (media interviews) until Sunday afternoon. It was a nice way to approach it.''
It won't be easy to do it again the way Sorenstam is playing.
The Super Swede has won six times in eight starts this year on the LPGA Tour and is halfway to becoming the first player -- male or female -- to win the Grand Slam.
She has won the Kraft Nabisco and LPGA championships. The final major is the Women's British Open next month.
Her scoring average is an awesome 68.60, she's already earned $1.5 million and she's a step away from becoming the first player to win the first three majors since Ben Hogan in 1953.
No wonder Mallon hasn't received much attention.
``It's nice to be remembered that you won last year, of course, but obviously with the way Annika's been playing people should be focusing on her,'' Webb said.
For Mallon to have a chance, she'll have to straighten out the crooked drives that have plagued her all season.
Mallon calls her driver the straightest club in her bag. But she's tied for 79th in driving accuracy this year, hitting just 70 percent of the fairways, and her scoring average has climbed to 72.87 per round -- 44th on the tour.
One advantage of hitting it crooked is that Mallon's short game has gotten better. But she knows hitting the ball straight is a must at Cherry Hills, where the fairways are tight and the rough is up to four inches deep.
Mallon found a driver she likes on the range Wednesday morning, but it was the 14th one she's tried in the past 10 weeks. If this one doesn't work out, Mallon might just go back to the smaller-headed drivers she used at the beginning of her tour career in 1987.
``There's almost too many choices out there,'' she said. ``Technology has screwed up my accuracy for some reason because I used to hit it a lot straighter before these big giant drivers came along.''
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    Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

    By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

    Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

    That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

    Watch the video below.

    The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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    Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

    ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

    The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

    Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

    Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

    Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

    Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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    Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

    By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

    According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

    “I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”

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    But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

    It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

    “They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

    DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

    “It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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    Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

    By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

    Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

    Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

    What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

    Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

    Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

    Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

    Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

    Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18