Gretzky Wahlberg struggle at US Open Challenge

By Associated PressJune 10, 2010, 4:29 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Peggy Ference hit a perfect drive down the middle of the first fairway at Pebble Beach, the only player in her star-studded foursome to find the short grass.

She didn’t find much after that.

The 51-year-old amateur struggled to reach many of the fairways from the championship , shooting 118 in the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge on a windy Wednesday afternoon.

Actor Mark Wahlberg was the only player in the foursome to break 100, making a par on the last hole to shoot 97. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky made a triple-bogey on the final hole to shoot 100, and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees finished at 102.

“I just had to try to get it in the short stuff as quickly as possible,” Ference said. “Just to learn how to hit the shot to get it out of the rough was very challenging.”

The challenge is a made-for-TV event that will air on June 20, before the final round of the U.S. Open. It was born from a quote by Tiger Woods during the 2007 U.S. Open, when he said a 10-handicap couldn’t break 100 on such a tough setup.

The 7,040-yard layout was deemed a par 78 for Ference, who lives in Skillman, N.J., and plays to a 4.9 handicap. She won an essay contest with 24,860 entries to earn the dream round.

But with drives of only about 200 yards, she failed to reach the red tees on some of the holes, and shot a 62 on the front nine. She closed with a 57 on the back nine, making her only par on No. 12—an up-and-down save after failing to hit a green in regulation all day.

It was a calm day for most of the front nine until the foursome turned inland, when gusts of 25 mph blew in the players’ face.

“It felt like a hurricane,” Wahlberg said. “I’m glad it’s over. It was tough out there.”

Ference had Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin caddie for her, as all four players in the group were paired up with PGA Tour golfers. Rickie Fowler was on the bag for Wahlberg, Ricky Barnes carried for Gretzky, and Bubba Watson was with Brees.

Wahlberg, who entered the round with the highest handicap in the group at 14, shot 50-47 to break 100. He blasted a drive down the middle on the 18th hole, laid up in the fairway, and hit the green to set up a two-putt par.

“Those three shots I hit on No. 18 were probably the highlight of the day,” Wahlberg said.

Gretzky holed out a bunker shot on the tiny 109-yard seventh hole for a birdie, but he had an inconsistent day, promptly topping his tee shot on the next hole.

Brees’ opening tee shot hit the roof of the nearby spa bordering the first hole, and he started out 8 over through three holes. The 3-handicap battled back to shoot 47 on the front, before he went 12-over during a four-hole stretch on the back nine to shoot 55. Brees was rusty, having flown in Tuesday after visiting the oil spill cleanup effort in the Gulf Coast.

While Ference didn’t meet her goal of breaking 100, she celebrated small victories during her round, such as when she cleared the 150-yard chasm on the eighth hole to stay dry. After the shot, she raised her arms, turned to her caddie Pavin and gave him a hug.

“This was really about the game of golf and how anybody can play it from any set of tees in any conditions,” Ference said. “I have so much appreciation for what the PGA Tour players encounter, not just in the U.S. Open, but regular tournaments too.”

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”