Lewis, Lee share North Texas lead after Round 3

By Associated PressMay 3, 2014, 11:02 pm

IRVING, Texas – Stacy Lewis was holding her 3-year-old nephew after a frustrating round when someone asked the little boy what his aunt could do better.

''Make some putts,'' little Cole Wysocki said.

Aunt Stacy, who had whispered the response into his ear, wholeheartedly agreed.

Missing several makeable putts Saturday, including a birdie chance on the 18th hole, Lewis shot a 2-under 69 to grab a share of the lead with South Korea's Meena Lee after three rounds at the North Texas LPGA Shootout.

''I hit the ball so good today, especially on the back nine, gave myself a lot of good looks at birdie, and I couldn't get a putt to go in,'' Lewis said. ''I had so many that they just went right over the top edge and finished right behind the hole. ... The encouraging thing is that I'm hitting the ball great. I have a lot of control over the different shots I'm trying to hit.''

Lewis, the third-ranked player in the world, dropped her head when the final birdie chance rolled just left of the hole after getting over the green at the 518-yard, par-5 18th in two shots. The Texan matched Lee at 9-under 204.

In nearly ideal scoring conditions with little if any wind, Lee shot 70 with plenty of near-misses, too.

''It definitely is going to be the putting,'' Lee said about what she needs to do Sunday to get her first win since 2006. ''I didn't really take advantage of a lot of birdie chances today, so I want to make more birdies tomorrow and see how it goes.''

First-round leader Suzann Pettersen, Dori Carter and Julieta Granada shot 68 and were a stroke behind the leaders.

Cristie Kerr (69), Christina Kim (70) and Natalie Gulbis (71) were among seven players tied at 7 under and only two strokes off the lead. Also in that group was 22-year-old Jennifer Johnson, who had an opening bogey before shooting a 65 for the best round of the day at Las Colinas Country Club.

But Caroline Masson, who shared the second-round lead with Lee, followed consecutive 67s with a 75 to fall five strokes back.

Lewis is an eight-time LPGA Tour winner, but has had six runner-up finishes in 18 starts since winning the Women's British Open in August. She finished worse than sixth only once in the first eight events this year, including second in San Francisco last week.

After a bogey-free 64 with only 26 putts in the second round, Lewis hit all 18 greens in regulation Saturday – even while hitting only seven of 13 fairways. But she needed 34 putts.

''It's golf. As many rounds as we play, you know, you're going to hit some putts that you think are going to miss and they end up going in,'' she said. ''It's just the way it is sometimes, and the thing about it is that I hit my lines. I hit it the right speed. You know, it wasn't like they were going way by the hole or anything. They were just tap-ins coming back.''

Lee had the lead alone at 10 under after consecutive birdies. The second of those birdies came after an approach to within a few feet at the par-5 seventh hole, and was her last of the day.

On the par-3 13th hole, Lee was still 10 under when her tee shot went over the green and she pitched past the hole before a par-saving putt. Lewis then had a birdie chance slide just past to hole to remain a stroke back.

Lee's approach at the 416-yard 14th hole settled near a scoring tower by the green and a par putt came up just short of going in the hole. Lewis got even, though she looked up in frustration when a birdie chance for the outright lead rolled just right of the hole.

''I'm doing a lot of good things. The encouraging thing is that I'm tied for the lead,'' Lewis said. ''Even with all the missed shots today, I'm still tied for the lead and I have a chance for tomorrow.''

Inbee Park, the No. 1 player in the world and the defending champion, shot 68 and was only three strokes back.

When the initial cut was made at 2 over after the second round, 74 of the original 144-player field made it. There was another cut after the third round, with 51 players advancing to Sunday at even par or better.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.