Masson keeps lead on Day 2 in North Texas

By Associated PressApril 27, 2013, 12:13 am

IRVING, Texas – Caroline Masson was relieved to be finished with her second round at the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout. She was fortunate to still have the lead.

Masson bogeyed three of her last four holes Friday to wrap up an even-par round of 71, good enough for a one-stroke lead over Carlota Ciganda.

''After the last few holes, I'm pretty happy it's over now,'' said Masson, who opened with a bogey-free 7-under 64. ''I don't know what went wrong really. It was just a few bad shots, but I think that it's good that it's over and then I can, yeah, just relax now and tomorrow I think I'll be fine again.''


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At 7-under 135, Masson was a stroke ahead of Ciganda (70), and two ahead of top-ranked Inbee Park (70), 18-year-old LPGA rookie Moriya Jutanugarn (66) and Kathleen Ekey (67).

When Masson got to the 15th hole Friday, she was 10 under and had a four-stroke lead. Her advantage dwindled to one in a hurry.

Masson's drive at the 390-yard 15th went left, but the ball then rolled right across the sloping fairway into the water.

''It just carried down the downslope,'' she said. ''It was not a horrible shot. But that just happens.''

After missing the fairway again with her tee shot at the 405-yard 16th for another bogey, Masson managed to save par at the 178-yard 17th after coming up short of the green on her tee shot.

Then at the par-5 18th, Masson drove her tee shot behind a tree before a punch shot that rolled through the fairway and settled near another tree with no clear angle to the flag. After an approach shot short of the green, she stepped back before hitting her fourth shot, then dropped the club and looked down after she hit - way right of the pin, setting up a long two-putt for a closing bogey.

''It's a bit disappointing, but still, I played really solid, you know,'' said Masson, the 23-year-old German who made only her second cut in six LPGA tournaments this season.

After nearly ideal conditions for the opening round at Las Colinas Country Club, it was mostly cloudy with steady wind in the second round. There was even some light rain for those playing before noon, including Jutanugarn, the teenager from Thailand whose bogey-free 66 was the best round Friday, a day after she had three consecutive bogeys late in her round.

There were 80 players who made the cut, which was 3 over. That included Haley Mills (73-71) and Taylor Coleman (68-77), the two high school players who got in the field through a Monday qualifier. Two college qualifiers didn't make it to the weekend rounds. Coleman was tied for third after the opening round.

There will be a second cut Saturday to the top 50 and ties.

Stacy Lewis, the Texas native who has a chance to regain the No. 1 world ranking by finishing in the top five, has some work to do this weekend. She was tied for 36th at even par after a 70.

Ciganda, the 22-year-old Spaniard who plans to play in Europe next month after six LPGA events, overcame consecutive bogeys midway through her second round.

Those bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes were her only hiccups, though her 32 putts were six more than her opening round and about the only thing different. She only hit four of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens for the second day in a row.

''They were hitting a little closer to the pin, so I made a few shorter ones,'' Ciganda said. ''I would be happier with a few more putts if they would drop in. But I mean I'm happy with my round. ... Just those putts that didn't go in, that's the difference.''

There were two lengthy birdie putts she did make though, sinking shots from 15-16 feet on the 165-yard fourth hole, and the 405-yard 16th.

Park missed makeable putts on her last two holes. A 5-foot par putt lipped out at No. 8, then she missed a birdie chance from about the same length on her final hole.

''A couple of those putts that I just read it wrong, and especially the last two holes,'' Park said. ''Just left a couple out there today, but still very close to the lead.''

There was also the fortunate bounce for Park, when the South Korean's approach shot at No. 18 hit the rocks along the waterline, bouncing at least twice before ricocheting back into the fairway. She hit from there to set up her second birdie putt in a row before making her turn.

''I thought it was definitely in the water but everybody clapped, so I thought I got really lucky,'' said Park, who didn't see the ball bounce back into play. '' Yeah, I got a good break on the front nine, a little bad break on the back nine, so it evens out.''


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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”