Maruyama leads Ogilvy remains hot

By Associated PressJanuary 15, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 Sony OpenHONOLULU ' Shigeki Maruyama took a step back from obscurity on the PGA Tour with a 5-under 65 in the wind and occasional rain Thursday afternoon for a one-shot lead in the Sony Open.
 
Maruyama, who failed to keep his tour card last year for the first time this decade, showed signs of improving in Japan late last year and kept it up on a challenging afternoon at Waialae.
 
He dropped only one shot, and took the outright lead with a 5-foot birdie on the par-3 17th.
 
That knocked Geoff Ogilvy off the top of the leaderboard for the first time this year. The Sony Open is only the second tournament, but Ogilvy is coming off a wire-to-wire victory in the Mercedes-Benz Championship last week, and opened with a 66.
 
Boo Weekley, Brian Gay and PGA Tour rookie Webb Simpson also were at 66.
 
The first full-field event of the 2009 season was filled with all kinds of weather ' hot blasts of sunshine would be interrupted by pounding rain that would last 10 minutes, and then the skies would clear.
 
But the wind never left, blowing 20 mph at sunrise and still causing the palm trees to sway late in the afternoon. Tour officials moved up several tees by at least 30 yards, and Waialae played 166 yards shorter than the scorecard.
 
The forecast Friday was for gusts up to 50 mph, and the Honolulu public schools already have been closed.
 
I knew the weather report was for a lot of wind today, so I was mentally prepared when I got to the golf course, Maruyama said. Then I snap-hooked one on the first hole, but all I was trying to do really all day was just keep my rhythm, keep my tempo.
 
Ogilvy was simply trying to keep going, and he did that well.
 
One week after his six-shot victory at Kapalua, the 31-year-old Australian kept the ball in the tiny fairways of Waialae and made six birdies to take the lead among the morning starters.
 
I just think everyone who played last week is at an advantage coming here, because they have all got a week of tournament golf under their belt, a week in the wind under their belt, same sort of grass, Ogilvy said.
 
That would explain Weekley and Gay, who also played last week in the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship.
 
But Simpson?
 
The rookie from Wake Forest has not played since earning his card at Q-school last month, and weather at home in North Carolina hasnt been conducive to practice. Waialae proved to be a tough place to start, especially with the wind.
 
I was pretty nervous, Simpson said. I said a quick prayer before I teed off, and I was fine.
 
The group at 67 included Luke Donald, Charles Howell III and Brendon de Jonge, who won the Nationwide Tour money title last year.
 
The teenagers held their own.
 
Tadd Fujikawa, an 18-year-old senior in high school playing the Sony Open for the third straight year, took double bogey on the tough opening hole and settled down the rest of the way for a 71, leaving him a good chance to make his first PGA Tour cut as a pro. He tied for 20th two years ago as an amateur.
 
Lorens Chan, the 14-year-old who earned the amateur exemption, had two birdies in his round of 72.
 
Maruyama struggled with shoulder and knee injuries last year, and went home to Japan the final five months of the season to recharge. He had a pair of top threes late in the year, and his confidence is slowly coming around.
 
It was a number of things last year ' physically, mentally, emotionally, he said. Thats why I went to Japan.
 
He is playing this week on a sponsors exemption and would like to play more on the PGA Tour. It would sure make things easier if I could win, Maruyama said.
 
Defending champion K.J. Choi bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 68, and he spoke for a majority of the field when he described the difficulties of such a strong wind.
 
First time in the Kona wind, he said Today is more difficult than the last time, especially short putts. The grain is going left-to-right, the wind is blowing left-to-right. Very confusing.
 
As for the rain?
 
Six times with the umbrella, he said.
 
Only 39 players in the 144-man field managed to break par. That included Jeff Klauk, one of 26 rookies at Waialae, who was tied for the lead at 5 under with his third straight birdie on the 11th hole. He was 4 over the rest of the way.
 
Its windy out there, aint no doubt about that, Weekley said. I like the conditions thats out here right now. I dont think anybody can run away from you in these conditions.
 
He played with Ogilvy, who did just that last week at Kapalua when he won by six shots. The wind never blew quite this hard at Kapalua, but it was manageable this week because Waialae is at sea level.
 
It was a fair bit easier, Ogilvy said. Theres so much guesswork last week when youre 230 yards away and between an 8-iron and a 9-iron. When its flat, its just the wind you have to deal with.
 

Related Links:
  • Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage ' Sony Open
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

     

     

    Getty Images

    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

    Getty Images

    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

    Getty Images

    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”