Lindberg leads LPGA Farr Classic

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2012, 1:27 am

SYLVANIA, Ohio – It was unofficially international day at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.

The leaderboard might not have had many household names after the first round Thursday, but the leader and her closest pursuers included players representing Sweden, France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the United States.

Pernilla Lindberg holed birdie putts of 40 and 50 feet and added three 25-footers in a round of 7-under 64 to take a two-shot lead after the opening round at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

A top early contender to make the European side at the 2013 Solheim Cup, the Swede is virtually unknown in the States, even though she played at Oklahoma State and is in her third year on the LPGA Tour.

''That is one of my goals,'' she said of making it big on this side of the Atlantic. ''If I can start showing my name on the leaderboard more often here, it's going to give me more confidence and that, of course, is what everyone wants.''

The 26-year-old Lindberg has not finished in the top 10 of an LPGA event in her 36 starts as a pro. She has missed the cut in six of her 10 starts this season, although she did tie for 12th at the Lotte Championship in April for her lowest career finish on tour.

There was no secret why Lindberg, who went off in the second group of the day, posted such a low score. She drained a 50-foot putt for birdie at No. 5, made a 40-footer for a 2 on the par-3 14th and made 25-footers at Nos. 4, 12 and 18.

''It felt like every putt I hit all day had a chance to go in,'' said Lindberg, who grew up idolizing fellow countrywoman Annika Sorenstam. ''Even the pars I made out there, they were still good birdie chances.''

Texan Angela Stanford was two strokes back along with Japan's Mika Miyazato, South Korea's Chella Choi, LSU grad Meredith Duncan, rookie Numa Gulyanamitta of Thailand and France's Karine Icher.

The 2008 champ, Paula Creamer, had a 68, as did Toledo-born Stacy Lewis, the LPGA money leader. Defending champ Na Yeon Choi shot a 71, while Yani Tseng, No. 1 in the world rankings, had a 72.

On a day in which a steady rain turned the greens into dartboards, 71 players – almost half the field of 144 – broke par. Yet Michelle Wie finished with a 75 and Morgan Pressel a 79.

Of the top seven players, the only one who has won an LPGA event is Stanford, with five wins to her credit. Several are rising players just trying to establish themselves, others have cashed big checks but just haven't won yet.

Stanford said she didn't let the rain bother her.

''We knew it was coming,'' she said. ''When you know it's in the forecast, it doesn't surprise you.''

Miyazato has earned more than $2 million in LPGA events and has 16 top-10 finishes. Just this year she has tied for second twice, including at the LPGA Championship, and also tied for seventh at the U.S. Women's Open.

Neither she nor Stanford had a bogey.

''I played more aggressive because the greens are very soft,'' Miyazato said.

Choi posted a career-best tie for second earlier this year at the Manulife in Canada. Duncan hasn't made a dollar on tour the past two years. Her best finish is a tie for fifth in 2009. Gulyanamitta, 1 over through seven holes, birdied four of her last six to close out her 66. She's a former Purdue star who tied for 21st at the U.S. Women's Open.

''I made a bogey, then a birdie, then another bogey, then another birdie,'' said Gulyanamitta, who now calls West Lafayette, Ind., home. ''Then I chipped in at 9 for birdie and I started going good.''

Icher, completing a decade on tour, travels the globe with her daughter and husband, who also is her caddie.

''It's super nice. We have to be well organized, but it's fun to be parents,'' said Icher, who has 22 top-10 finishes on tour but has never been in the winner's circle. ''It's cool to have (daughter Lola) on the tour and traveling with (us).''

More thunderstorms are predicted for Friday's second round. The field will be cut to the low 70 and ties at the completion of play.

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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.