Kent Jones Suprising Leader at Pebble Beach

By Associated PressFebruary 7, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. --The celebrity watch at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am took place everywhere but the top of the leaderboard Thursday.
 
Kent Jones birdied the two most famous par 3s at Pebble Beach and kept bogeys off his card for a 6-under 66 and a one-shot lead, an encouraging start for someone who has played 270 tournaments on the PGA TOUR without finishing in the top five.
 
Nationwide Tour grad Roland Thatcher was a shot back along with Q-school grad Brad Adamonis and John Mallinger, third at Pebble Beach last year as a rookie.
 
The star gazing took place at Poppy Hills, and while it didnt always produce great golf to match the spectacular sunshine on the Monterey Peninsula, it was entertaining.
 
Defending champion Phil Mickelson was on the verge of shooting himself out of the tournament until a birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie burst enabled him to recover with a 71.
 
Greg Norman, playing on the PGA TOUR for the first time in 18 months, was holding steady until a four-putt on the 13th hole for a double bogey. He finished with a 76. His fiancee, tennis great Chris Evert, flew in from Florida and didnt make it out to the golf course until Norman was on the 16th.
 
Evert has no plans to take up golf, saying it was too time-consuming with three boys'Its like four boys with Greg, she said'and a tennis academy to run.
 
Tennis only takes one hour, she said, laughing.
 
These rounds take close to six hours with two pros and two amateurs in every group, and it was a slow, steady grind.
 
Norman struggled with that and the bumpy greens, but he had no complaints about how he hit the ball.
 
Its a long day of concentration, which Im not used to, Norman said. You get past four hours, you really have to stay locked in.
 
Jones, a 41-year-old from New Mexico who has yet to finish in the top 100 on the money list, has been around long enough to realize that one round is too early to get excited, especially in a format that uses three courses, and in a tournament where the leaderboard doesnt begin to sort itself out until Sunday.
 
I think Im just satisfied that I played well and putted well, Jones said. When everyone is playing different golf courses, being in the lead isnt every important. But its nice to be playing well, obviously.
 
J.B. Holmes, coming off a playoff victory over Mickelson last week in Phoenix, had a 68 at Spyglass Hill to join a group of 10 players that included Todd Demsey, who recently recovered from having a tumor removed from his brain.
 
The top 14 players on the leaderboard have combined for 10 career victories, and that doesnt include the California State Amateur that Demsey won in 1992.
 
Davis Love III, returning to the PGA TOUR for the first time in four months after a severe ankle injury, overcame an early gaffe on the par-5 14th at Spyglass with three birdies on his back nine for a 70. Vijay Singh also had a 70.
 
Mickelson was thrilled to even be remotely near the lead.
 
Lefty had big expectations for his week as he tries to become the first back-to-back winner at Pebble Beach since Mark OMeara in 1989-90. But he bogeyed his first two holes, had to save par from the fringe on the par-5 ninth, then clipped a tree and went into the water on the par-5 10th, taking another bogey, putting him at 4 over for the round.
 
Poppy Hills has five par 5s, and Mickelson played the first three in 2 over.
 
I was just trying to get back to even par, Mickelson said. If I shot 3 or 4 over, I would be shooting myself out of the tournament.
 
Instead, he shot himself back into it.
 
After holing a 30-foot birdie on the 11th, Mickelson hit a hybrid from 240 yards that covered the flag and settled 4 feet away for eagle. Then came a wedge that landed 10 feet beyond the flag and spun back slowly to a foot, followed by another approach to 3 feet on the 14th that put him 1 under for the tournament.
 
Standing on the 15th tee during another backup, Daniel Chopra looked at Mickelsons score and looked perplexed.
 
Werent you 4 over a minute ago? he said.
 
Chopra, who opened the season with a victory in the Mercedes-Benz Championship, had a 69 while playing with his twin. That would be comedian George Lopez, who broke out a visor-wig combination to mimic Chopras spiked, bleach-colored hair.
 
Ive seen those at Bay Hill, Chopra said, who decided his name would be Chopez the rest of the week.
 
Mickelson ended his streak with a bogey on the 15th, and he didnt make his first par until the 16th hole, when he missed a 6-footer. After another par on the 17th, caddie Jim Mackay said to no one in particular, Do we get a prize for back-to-back pars?
 
He ended with a birdie for a 71, and this was one time he could accept that at Poppy Hills.
 
Its not a great start, he said. But at least I put myself in position where if I shoot a low round tomorrow, I can get myself right back in the tournament.
 
He was only five shots behind a group of players without his pedigree, so it wasnt all that bad.
 
Divots: Natalie Gulbis was inside the ropes at Pebble Beach as a caddie for Ted Forstmann, who owns IMG. Tadd Fujikawa opened with a 72 at Spyglass Hill. The 17-year-old from Hawaii has not made the cut since he turned pro last summer. John Daly opened with a 78 while playing with actor Kevin James.
 
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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.”