Johnson leads Weir by four at Pebble Beach

By Associated PressFebruary 14, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ' Dustin Johnson poured in one last birdie at Poppy Hills, a quick putt from 7 feet above the hole that broke sharply into cup for a 5-under 67 and a four-stroke lead Saturday in the AT&T National Pro-Am.
 
There to celebrate his third straight round in the 60s were no more than about two dozen fans.
 
It was easy to overlook Johnson on Saturday, for the crowds typically flock to Pebble Beach to watch the celebrities and their follies. But if he can put together one more round, the 24-year-old Johnson will be difficult to ignore.
 
Dustin Johnson tees off at Pebble Beach
Dustin Johnson is in position for his second PGA Tour win. (Getty Images)
By overpowering the par-5s at Poppy Hills ' birdies on all of them, with three eagle attempts ' Johnson seized control at Pebble Beach and was poised to capture his second PGA Tour event in his last nine starts.
 
Johnson, a natural athlete with buckets of talent, didnt get as much attention as other players in their 20s last year, such as Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas. Then again, his lone victory came at Turning Stone, part of the Fall Series, when the stars stay home.
 
Another victory would put him in the conversation of rising young stars, put him into the top 50 in the world to qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship and make him eligible for the first two majors, including his first trip to the Masters.
 
I think I proved I can play with these guys, Johnson said. If I play better a few more times, Ill get all the credit I need.
 
Johnson was at 15-under 201 and will be in the final group with Mike Weir, who had a 69 at Spyglass Hill.
 
The big question is whether anyone gets to play.
 
Spots of sunshine returned to the Monterey Peninsula for the third straight day as the celebrities took over Pebble Beach, but the forecast is gloomy for the final round ' an 80 percent chance of rain, expected to be heavy at times.
 
Pebble Beach has not had a Monday finish since Tiger Woods great rally in 2000, and it was 10 years ago this week when the late Payne Stewart birdied his final hole for a one-shot lead after 54 holes, which turned into victory when rain shortened the tournament.
 
Johnson appears to be in good shape either way.
 
Weir was plodding along at Spyglass Hill until he holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fifth hole, then hit the ball as well as he ever has. The former Masters champion hit a hybrid for his second shot to 8 feet on the sixth, a 3-wood to 6 feet on the par-3 seventh, and a 5-iron to 5 feet on the eighth. Trouble is, he missed all the putts.
 
But he knocked in a 20-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 69 that put him in the last group Sunday.
 
That putt on the last hole made it a little nicer finish, Weir said.
 
Retief Goosen was not so fortunate. Even after opening the tournament with rounds of 68-64, the two-time U.S. Open champion was concerned about how poorly he was hitting the ball, especially off the tee. That caught up to him at Spyglass, where he shot a 74 to fall five shots behind.
 
There was a mixture of laughs and groans at Pebble Beach, although sometimes it was tough to tell the celebrity from the pro.
 
Bill Murray strutted to the hole after a birdie putt, wearing a feather and a heart in his cap in honor of Valentines Day. Perhaps the most fitting scene was eight-time national surfing champion Kelly Slater going down to the beach ' with a wedge, not a board ' to play back toward the green. The next shot wound up in some kelp.
 
And then there was Phil Mickelson, putting up another big number.
 
Mickelson, who took an 11 on the 14th hole last year, was quietly putting together a good round and looked as though he would break 70 for the first time this year until he hooked a 5-iron off a cart path and out-of-bounds on the par-3 12th, leading to a triple bogey. Lefty rallied, however, smoking a tee shot with the wind at his back on the 18th, leaving him a 5-iron into the green for a two-putt birdie to make the cut on the number.
 
His comrades in the top five of the world ranking were not so fortunate. Padraig Harrington broke par for the first time this week with a 71 at Spyglass, but he missed the cut. So did Vijay Singh, playing for the first time since minor knee surgery the week after Kapalua.
 
Johnsons lead is the largest at Pebble Beach since Mickelson had a seven-shot margin in 2005.
 
Its probably been in college since the last time I had a pretty big lead, Johnson said.
 
But he doesnt plan to be conservative, which is not a bad idea. Weir has seen how quickly fortunes can change at Pebble in any weather. It was three years ago when Weir was tied for the 54-hole lead with Arron Oberholser, and three holes into the final round he was five shots behind.
 
You dont really go away from your game plan at all, said Johnson, who began the tournament with a 65 at Pebble Beach. I played well here the first day, and looking forward to tomorrow. Not going to change the game plan at all.
 
Divots: David Toms, who was No. 66 in the world and hopeful of moving into the top 64 to qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship, missed the cut by four shots. Had he taken the week off, Toms likely would have moved into the top 64. Davis Love III shot a 70 at Poppy Hills and was at 5-under 211, but hell have to go it alone on Sunday. He and his amateur partner, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, did not make the pro-am cut.
 
Related Links:
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    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

     

     

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    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


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    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”