Heat a major worry for US Womens Open

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2010, 1:23 am

OAKMONT, Pa. – Oakmont Country Club, a demanding course capable of producing scores in the 90s, is tormenting the U.S. Women’s Open golfers with a different kind of problem: temperatures in the 90s.

Jiyai Shin, the South Korean golfer who was briefly ranked No. 1 in the world following Lorena Ochoa’s retirement earlier this year, struggled badly as practice-round readings hit 94 on the suburban Pittsburgh course Tuesday.

She didn’t reply when asked by reporters if she needed intravenous fluids or any medical help, but she admittedly wasn’t prepared for weather that was steamier than that in Miami Beach.

With temperatures expected to remain only a few degrees short of 100 until Friday, Shin’s worry is how she’ll feel when she tees off that day at 1:03 p.m. EDT. She played her practice round Tuesday morning to escape the oppressive heat, but she’s scheduled to be in the middle of it for Round 2.

“I’m really surprised it’s so hot and humid,” said Shin, a six-time LPGA Tour winner. “It’s really hot and sunny all day, so green(s) and fairways are getting firm, like concrete.”

Cristie Kerr, the LPGA Championship winner by 12 shots two weeks ago, didn’t bother playing another full round in the sauna-like conditions. She played only nine holes on Tuesday and plans to play nine Wednesday before the women’s national championship begins Thursday, when the predicted high is 93.

“We teed off at 7:20 (Monday) and it took us five hours and 20 minutes to play,” Kerr said. “Mentally, I felt like I was a little fried at the end. You have to learn how to manage in this kind of weather. I think for me it’s more mentally challenging than physically, because the physical kind of leads to the mental.”

The weather is similar to that of the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont, when temperatures were in the high 90s before Ernie Els won in a three-way playoff.

Some golfers carried umbrellas throughout their practice rounds to shade themselves from the sun, while some of Oakmont’s historically fast-rolling greens were being watered between practice groups. The large practice green already is tinged with brown spots.

The heat affected attendance, too: There appeared to be fewer spectators on the course for Tuesday’s practice rounds than Monday’s. Normally, such crowds increase as the tournament draws closer.

The hazy, hot and humid conditions led the USGA to allow spectators to bring their own bottled water, although other beverages had to be purchased on the course.

“It’s really hot out there,” said defending champion Eun-Hee Ji, who cut 30 minutes off her pre-round practicing because, as she said, not much warming up is needed.

Several golfers related tales of putts rolling off Oakmont’s greens, which were running a brisk 14 on the Stimpmeter that measures such speed. That’s only one below the 15 of the 2007 U.S. Open won by Angel Cabrera.

Alexis Thompson, a 15-year-old who is playing the Women’s Open as her first pro event, already has been briefed what to do: drink a lot of water.

“I’ve just got to stay hydrated, that’s for sure,” she said. “Keeping my hands dry and just eating so I don’t get hungry or dehydrated. I think that’s the key out here.”

At least there’s this: Conditions are expected to be less fierce after a cold front arrives Friday and drops temperatures into the low to mid 80s for the final two rounds.

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Watch: Rose one-arms approach, makes birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 7:25 pm

Justin Rose appears to have taken a course in Hideki Matsuyama-ing.

Already 3 under on his round through five thanks to a birdie-birdie-birdie start, Rose played this approach from 143 yards at the par-4 sixth.

That one-armed approach set up a 6-foot birdie putt he rolled in to move to 4 on his round and 14 under for the week, five clear of the field.

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McIlroy battles back into tie for BMW PGA lead

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

Rory McIlroy got off to a rocky start on Saturday in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, including hitting a spectator and making a double bogey. But after that incident on the sixth hole, he didn't drop another shot, birdieing the final hole to shoot a 1-under 71 and tie for the lead.

McIlroy had gone into Moving Day with a three-shot lead, but Francesco Molinari had the round of the day, a 6-under 66. "It was nice keep a clean scorecard," said Molinari, who hasn't made a bogey since the 10th hole on Friday.

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy and Molinari will be paired in Sunday's final round. They are tied at 13 under par, four shots clear of Ross Fisher, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield and Alexander Noren.

The Wentworth course ends with back-to-back par-5s, and McIlroy birdied both of them. He got a break on the 18th hole as his drive hit a spectator and bounced into light rough.

"It was a struggle out there today," McIlroy said. "I think when you're working on a few things in your swing and the wind is up and you're stuck between trying to play different shots, but also try to play - you know, make good swings at it, I just hit some loose tee balls on the first few holes. But I'm proud of myself. I stayed patient. I actually - I'm feeling a bit better about myself after today than I was even walking off the course yesterday."

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Watch: McIlroy hits spectator on hand

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 2:58 pm

We never cease to wonder at how close fans crowd in to the intended line of some shots, and just how skilled Tour players are in not hitting someone.

But every once in a while, golf ball and spectator intersect, with painful results. It happened to Rory McIlroy during the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, after he had hit a wayward drive on the sixth hole. Attempting to hack out his second shot from under a bush, McIlroy struck a female spectator on her right hand. There was no official word on her condition, but she was clearly - and understandably - in pain.

McIlroy went on to make double bogey but was able to put the incident behind him, as he promptly birdied the next hole.

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Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.