Immelman back in form, leads Greenbrier Classic

By Associated PressJuly 29, 2011, 12:37 am

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Trevor Immelman’s best round of the year reinforced the former Masters champion’s belief that he can regain his top form less than two years after wrist surgery.

The South African shot a 6-under 64 Thursday to take the first-round lead by a stroke over five others at the Greenbrier Classic.

“I hope I’m close,” Immelman said. “You never know with this game. It’s been a frustrating couple of years not being able to swing the way I want to swing and practice the way I want to practice. For the most part this year, I’ve been able to get back to working on the things I used to work on back then.

“I’m definitely seeing signs of improvement. Albeit slow progress, it’s been progress.”

Shooting 65s were Gary Woodland, Billy Mayfair, Derek Lamely, Webb Simpson and Australian Steven Bowditch.

The Old White TPC course underwent a makeover since Stuart Appleby shot 59 in the final round last year to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke. The renovations included lengthened tee boxes and reseeded greens that are less receptive to approach shots.

The course surrendered 81 under-par rounds on the first day last year; 41 players broke par Thursday.

Immelman, who failed to advance to weekend play in the 2010 tournament, carded seven birdies and a bogey. Although erratic off the tee, his iron play was solid. He missed one green in regulation and five of his birdies came from less than 11 feet.

Immelman began having trouble with his left wrist at the end of 2008. He had surgery in October 2009 and underwent several months of rehabilitation. The closest he’s come to a top-10 finish in the past three seasons is a tie for 12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.

Although he’s missed the cut four times in his last six tournaments, Immelman is poised to improve on his No. 108 position in FedEx Cup points. He failed to qualify for the playoffs the last two seasons.

“For the most part this year I’ve been working on some of those old feels and trying to get some consistency back,” Immelman said. “I’ve seen signs of some good play and some good shots at the right time. I’m just trying to stay patient with it.”

The top 125 in the FedEx standings qualify for the playoff opener at The Barclays next month. Mayfair is 113th, while former Nationwide Tour players Bowditch (128th) and Lamely (195) are among others trying to move up.

Simpson, in his fifth year on the PGA Tour, is still chasing his first career win and hopes to earn a spot in next week’s Bridgestone Invitational. The top 50 in the world rankings receive exemptions. He’s 53rd.

Mayfair is still looking for his first win since 1998. He earned his PGA Tour card for 2011 after winning qualifying school in December.

Mayfair’s lone top 10 this year was a tie for eighth at the Zurich Classic. Earlier this month he was 9 under midway through the John Deere Classic but finished 7 under.

“It’s been a disappointing year,” Mayfair said. “But as we all say, one week out here can change a lot of things.”

Lamely won the Puerto Rico Open last year but has missed the cut in 25 of 39 events since.

After starting with 12 straight pars, Lamely made birdies on five of his last six holes Thursday, including a chip-in on the par-3 18th.

Woodland, whose first tour win came at the Transitions Championship in March, holed his approach shot from 101 yards for eagle at No. 4 and improved to 5 under after a birdie at No. 14. He had a chance to tie for the lead but overshot the green on the par-5 17th and made bogey. He finished with a 4-footer for birdie on No. 18.

Two strokes behind Immelman were Kyle Stanley, Chris DiMarco, Canadian David Hearn and Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe.

The crowd favorite was the group that included Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson and Appleby. It marked the first pairing together for Watson and Mickelson.

Mickelson, who can take over the FedEx Cup points lead with a win, shot a 70 that included five birdies and five bogeys. He then left to meet up with his family for a scheduled white-water rafting trip.

“That’s the game plan,” he said.

Appleby bogeyed his first two holes and shot 71 while Watson, the Greenbrier’s pro emeritus who skipped this week’s U.S. Senior Open in Toledo, Ohio, shot 75.

“Very different golf course,” Appleby said. “I was definitely the third wheel out there.”

NOTES: Sean O’Hair withdrew after winning last week’s Canadian Open, which earned him a spot at Bridgestone … Overton, the 2010 Greenbrier runner-up, shot 74. … J.B. Holmes, who tied Sam Snead’s course record of 60 last year before Appleby erased it, had a 76 Thursday that included double bogeys on both par 5s. … Only four players had bogey-free rounds: Lamely, Will Strickler (67), J.P. Hayes (68), and Spencer Levin (70).

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."