Late birdie spree gives Lee lead

By Associated PressMarch 16, 2013, 1:13 am

PHOENIX – Jee Young Lee birdied three of the last four holes to take a one-stroke lead over Ai Miyazato on another hot day at the LPGA Founders Cup.

Lee, the 27-year-old South Korean player who won the LPGA Tour's 2005 South Korean event before becoming a tour member, had a bogey-free 8-under 64 on Friday to reach 15-under 129. She broke the tournament 36-hole record of 12 under set by Angela Stanford in 2011 in the inaugural event.

''I've waited so long, like seven, eight years,'' Lee said. ''I really want to win this week. But two days more, two days left, so I'm going to try to keep being more confident and patient.''

She played in the morning wave before the temperature climbed into the low 90s on Desert Ridge's cactus-lined Wildfire layout.


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''My driver was good,'' Lee said. ''My tee shots keep in the fairway, and then my irons are pretty good, better than yesterday, and my putting works a little bit more.''

Miyazato bogeyed her final hole for a 67 a day after shooting a tournament-record 63. The Japanese star is playing her first event since sustaining a whiplash injury three weeks ago in a five-vehicle crash in Thailand.

''I'm very happy with my round,'' Miyazato said. ''I made eight birdies out there. I had three bogeys, but still a lot of birdies, so it just feels good. ... I kept hitting the fairways and I kept hitting to the green, and I had 29 putts, which is like my green regulation.''

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis, coming off a victory two weeks ago in Singapore, was four strokes back in third after a 65. She holed out from 109 yards for eagle on the par-4 16th – her seventh hole of the day – and played the her back nine in 4 under with five birdies and a bogey.

''I just really didn't have any birdie putts the first few holes and then just hit a shot on 16 that was perfect,'' Lewis said. ''From there, I made about an 8-footer for par on one and I think that really kept the momentum going and I hit some good shots on the back nine and made putts.''

Lewis has a chance to take the top spot in the world from Yani Tseng with a victory.

''If I ever get to No 1, I'm going to enjoy it because I never as a kid dreamed of being in that position,'' Lewis said. ''It's definitely on my mind.''

Tseng, the defending champion, was 2 under after a 72. She entered the week with a 22-event, 50-week winless streak, while Lewis has won five times in her last 22 tournaments.

''I think Yani's put a lot of pressure on herself,'' Lewis said. ''I think she's kind of taken the expectations up another level and I definitely think the state she's at right now with her game, I think if she did lose it, I think she would start to play better.''

Lewis and Tseng played alongside Paula Creamer in the first two rounds. Creamer, also shaken up in the car accident on the way to the Bangkok airport, was 5 under after a 70.

Second-ranked Na Yeon Choi, also with a chance to move up to No. 1 with a victory, was 3 under after a 72.

Michelle Wie missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 72. She also missed the cut in Australia, finished 45th in Thailand and tied for 45th in Singapore – both no-cut events. In 12 rounds this year, Wie – using an awkward hunched-over putting stance – has broken 70 only once, closing with a 69 in Singapore after a third-round 77.

Suzann Petterssen also missed the cut, shooting 73-71. The Norwegian player, ranked No. 7 in the world, was coming off a victory Sunday in China in a Ladies European Tour event.

DIVOTS: Kim Welch had a hole-in-one of the 163-yard 14th, using a 6-iron. She missed the cut by a stroke with rounds of 71 and 72. It was the third ace of the week. On Thursday, Jennifer Gleason also had one on the 14th, and Meena Lee holed out on the sixth. Jane Rah had a rare double-eagle 2 on No. 15 in the first round, holing a 3-wood shot from 226 yards. It was the 32nd albatross in tour history. ... Jaclyn Sweeney also missed the cut, shooting 71 and 72. She earned a spot in the field last month with a victory in the Symetra Tour's season-opening VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic.


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Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

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Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.