Kerr Still Americas Best Hope to Top Annika

By Associated PressJune 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- She is the best player in America, but hardly the favorite to win the U.S. Open. She gets a little better every year, but isnt quite sure what to do with her newfound success.
 
Still, when it comes to listing candidates who might possibly derail Annika Sorenstams quest for the grand slam, Cristie Kerr has to be considered right up there.
 
Kerr, the top American player, ranks second on the money list to Sorenstam, second in scoring average, and second'a very distant second'in wins this year with one to Sorenstams six.
 
To get to No. 1, it would take something huge'a start would be winning the U.S. Open'although Kerr is still figuring out what investment she wants to make to get there.
 
She was ranked 28th on the money list in 2001, crept into the teens the next two years and moved to No. 5 in 2004. After a victory last month at Kingsmill, she got close to the top spot'close to Sorenstam, that is'and decided to enter more events in hopes of catching her.
 
Since then, Sorenstam has won three times, including her second major. Kerr has finished third, 18th, 11th and 33rd. Last week in Rochester, she withdrew with a neck injury she said has improved enough for this weeks tournament.
 
I realized to beat her out to be No. 1 in the world is going to take quite a lot, Kerr said. I have to do better. I think just focusing on what I have to do and just enjoying playing professional golf and not putting so much pressure on myself ... I dont play well like that.
 
Kerr insists she is not intimidated by Sorenstam, whose power and accuracy tend to demoralize opponents and put tournaments out of reach early.
 
It just basically challenges me to take my game to the next level, and shes made me better over the years by playing with her, Kerr said.
 
To top Sorenstam at this event Kerr will need to get much better and quickly. Two weeks ago at the LPGA Championship, Sorenstam got ahead by five strokes on Saturday and coasted in the final round.
 
The demands of a U.S. Open course only seem to heighten Sorenstams advantage. Fairways at Cherry Hills are narrow. The rough has grown to almost 4 inches, so high that several players during their practice rounds Tuesday were simply hacking out sideways instead of trying to advance the ball.
 
Cherry Hills also has one of the smallest sets of greens in big-time golf. Anyone watching Sorenstam on the tiny second green Tuesday as she consecutively knocked in putts of 5, 10 and 15 feet would have gotten a very good idea of what theyre up against.
 
I think Annika is the best story in golf right now, said Denver native Jill McGill. Her game is unbelievable. She hasnt missed any shots, and you will notice in the last 10 months or so, shes starting to make a lot of putts.
 
While Sorenstam has handled the increased pressure and added commitments that come to the top player in the world, Kerr admittedly is struggling with the increased attention.
 
Its definitely an adjustment period, she said.
 
For instance, Kerr said she was thrown off by an interview request as she was preparing for a playoff hole at the season-ending ADT Championship last year. Kerr teed off short and hit her second shot into the water on the way to second place. Her opponent in the playoff: Annika Sorenstam.
 
Ive played with her enough to be comfortable playing with her and to know, ultimately, you can only control your own game, Kerr said.
 
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.