MJ Hur looks to defend at Safeway Classic
Just a few days later, at the Canadian Women’s Open, fans were congratulating the South Korean golfer and asking for her autograph. It simply didn’t occur to Hur that she was famous.
“Some in the gallery have my picture and say ‘Can I get an autograph?’ Already! Like after only one or two days!” she said.
It was Hur’s first win on the LPGA Tour, and only since. She beat Suzann Pettersen with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff at the tournament west of Portland. Michele Redman was eliminated on the first extra hole.
She remembers watching Pettersen and Redmen birdie the No. 17 hole, knowing the trio was headed for the playoff.
“I feel very nervous but in a different way, like very confident: `I can hit this ball straight.’ Seemed like the same as practice,” she recalled.
This year’s Safeway Classic starts Friday at the 6,546-yard, par-72 Ghost Creek Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, about a 20 minute drive from Portland. It is the tournament’s second-year on the rural course at the base of the Coastal Range after 19 years at Columbia Edgewater County Club.
Cristie Kerr won in 2008 at Columbia Edgewater, beating Helen Alfredsson and Sophie Gustafson with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole.
Kerr, who won the State Farm Classic and LPGA Championship in June, just became the top-ranked player in the world while taking time off after the Women’s British Open. She didn’t even know about it until some friends e-mailed her.
Kerr, who was also ranked No. 1 earlier this year, wants to hold on to her status this time.
“There’s a lot of people contending for No. 1 in the world this year. And to be able to stay there I’ve just got to play well and every week just be consistent,” she said. “That’s my goal for the rest of the year.”
Others in the Safeway Classic field include Yani Tseng, who won her third major championship trophy two weeks ago at Royal Birkdale, and Michelle Wie, looking for her second victory after taking last year’s the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Fan favorite Natalie Gulbis had to withdraw because of ongoing back trouble.
Hur earned followers in Portland for her graciousness in victory last year. Long after her tournament-winning birdie—after addressing reporters, posing for pictures and shaking hands with sponsors—she returned to the 18th green and signed autographs for the lingering spectators.
Her best finish this season was a tie for second at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey in June.
She says she’s more than ready to win again and has been practicing for the past couple of weeks in Florida. The issue lately is fading in the later rounds, she explained.
“My goal this year is one more win, because I think after I have one more win I can get more and more, like every year,” she said.
NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times
The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.
- Semifinals: Alabama vs. USC
- Semifinals: Arizona vs. Stanford
- Quarterfinals: Alabama def. Kent State, 4-1
- Quartefinals: USC def. Duke, 3.5-1.5
- Quarterfinals: Arizona def. UCLA, 3-2
- Quarterfinals: Stanford def. Northwestern, 3-2
- Individual stroke play
TV Times (all times ET):
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)
Davis: USGA learned from setup errors at Shinnecock
With the U.S. Open set to return to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years, USGA executive director Mike Davis insists that his organization has learned from the setup mistakes that marred the event the last time it was played on the Southampton, N.Y., layout.
Retief Goosen held off Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open back in 2004, but the lasting image from the tournament may have been tournament officials spraying down the seventh green by hand during the final round after the putting surface had become nearly unplayable. With the course pushed to the brink over the first three days, stiff winds sucked out any remaining moisture and players struggled to stay on the greens with 30-foot putts, let alone approach shots.
Speaking to repoters at U.S. Open media day, Davis offered candid reflections about the missteps that led to the course overshadowing the play during that infamous final round.
"I would just say that it was 14 years ago. It was a different time, it was different people, and we as an organzation, we learned from it," Davis said. "When you set up a U.S. Open, it is golf's ultimate test. It's probably set up closer to the edge than any other event in golf, and I think that the difference then versus now is we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands.
"And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what really happened then was just a lack of water."
Davis pointed to enhancements like firmness and moisture readings for the greens that weren't available in 2004, and he noted that meterological data has evolved in the years since. With another chance to get his hands on one of the USGA's favorite venues, he remains confident that tournament officials will be able to better navigate the thin line between demanding and impossible this time around.
"There are parts that I think we learned from, and so I think we're happy that we have a mulligan this time," Davis said. "It was certainly a bogey last time. In fact maybe even a double bogey, and equitable stroke control perhaps kicked in."
UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year
UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).
Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.
Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:
WGCA First Team All-Americans
- Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
- Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
- Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
- Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
- Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
- Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
- Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
- Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
- Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
- Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
- Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
- Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament
Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.
Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.
The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.