Lang early leader at US Womens Open

By Associated PressJuly 9, 2010, 5:39 am

2010 U.S. Women

OAKMONT, Pa. – Brittany Lang knows what it is like to lead the U.S. Women’s Open after one round. What she is determined to do this time is be in front after the final round, too.

“It’s out there if you want it,” Lang said after her opening-round 69 made her the sole leader in the women’s national championship.

What Cristie Kerr likes is it is easily out there for her, too. Again.

Kerr, who trounced the LPGA Championship field by 12 strokes two weeks ago, was three shots off the lead going into Friday’s second round – the kind of margin that a cantankerous Oakmont Country Club can erase in a matter of moments.

Kerr was reminded immediately that winning one tournament guarantees nothing in the next when she bogeyed the first two holes. Welcome back to the Women’s Open. One hole later, the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer rallied with two birdies, and she finished with all pars except for one bogey.

Brittany Lang
Lang's opening-round 69 put her alone at the top of the U.S. Women's Open. (Getty Images)
A brilliant round? Hardly. An encouraging round? For sure.

“There’s not going to be a 19 under on this course,” Kerr said, referring to her LPGA score. “If somebody is under par at the end of the week, I’ll be surprised.”

Lang fashioned a surprise of sorts by being 2-under par after one round. As unpredictable as Oakmont’s pool table-fast greens were, and as confidence draining as the 94-degree heat was, many golfers wouldn’t have been surprised if even-par 71 would have produced a leader.

Lang was at 3 under until bogeying the final hole.

“You said it couldn’t be done, but on any golf course you can shoot a low number,” the 24-year-old Lang said. “If you’re hitting the ball good, you can for sure shoot a low score out here. But if you’re not on your game, you can shoot a big one.”

The proof: The 11-over 82 by Michelle Wie, who is ranked No. 10 in the world, and the 6-over 77 by returning champion Eun-Hee Ji. Both need the kind of round Oakmont almost never gives up merely to make it to the weekend.

“Everything,” Wie said when asked what she must do better.

Lang, the first-round leader as an amateur in 2005, and Kerr offer some hope that the U.S. might be restored to the U.S. Women’s Open. An American has won only once in five years – Kerr in 2007 – and only two U.S. golfers (Kerr and Wie) are in the Top 10.

Lang and fellow amateur-at-the-time Morgan Pressel tied for second in 2005, the same year that another then-amateur – yes, Wie – was tied for the lead after three rounds. Lang, who has won more than $2 million since then on the LPGA Tour, believes she is much better equipped now to win.

“Good scores will come if I control myself,” she said.

Or, by accepting pars on a course that can humble those determined to try for birdies – apparently, Wie’s mistake during a round in which she lost seven shots to par during one tournament-ruining, four-hole swing during his first nine.

“Even par is going to be sitting very nicely, you know, come the end of the week,” Lang said.

Paula Creamer said it is a must to adjust one’s play to a course where Stimpmeter readings on the greens are nearly 14, only slightly less than they were for the men at the 2007 U.S. Open.

“I’m playing pretty conservative,” said Creamer, who was among 14 golfers at 1-over 72. “I’m an aggressive player, and I have definitely changed the way that I play a golf course this week.”

Lang has already accomplished what some golfers believed might not happen on an historic course that’s set up much the same way it was in 2007, when Angel Cabrera won with a plus-5. And that’s shoot a round in the 60s.

“If I stay into each shot like I did, I’ll be at the top of the leaderboard,” Lang said,

The unexpected name atop that leaderboard much of the day was amateur Kelli Shean, a 22-year-old University of Arkansas golfer, Ernie Els enthusiast and a native of South Africa.

Shean gave up a shot with a bogey at No., 9 her finishing hole, and was joined by 2008 winner Inbee Park and two other Korean golfers, M.J. Hur and Amy Yang, at 1-under 70.

“I’m ecstatic to be here,” Shean said. “I didn’t expect to be here. I’m just really thankful.”

No doubt she and the rest of the 156-player field will be thankful if the predicted cold front comes through Friday and shaves 10 degrees off temperatures that climbed into the low 90s on Thursday, just as they did for each of the three practice rounds.

The heat browned Oakmont’s treacherous greens throughout the afternoon and slowed play to a pace that was dawdling at best. Mhairi McKay’s threesome, the first to hit the course, was warned about slow play only four holes into a round that lasted 5 1/2 hours.

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

Mmm Visuals / Lancaster Country Club

Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”