Next Up for Ocean Course 2012 PGA Championship

By Associated PressMay 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- The winds were fierce, the fairways treacherous and No. 17 proved as difficult for the 50-and-over set last week at the Senior PGA Championship as it did for the world's best at the Ryder Cup 16 years earlier.
About the only thing that may need to be changed at The Ocean Course before the PGA Championship in 2012 is the soft, inviting sand in dunes and bunkers that led to too many plugged balls, unplayable lies and shattered nerves.
'I'm concerned about some of the ways the ball has plugged in bunkers,' said Roger Warren, president of Kiawah Island Golf Resort. 'I do think it's important that on a shot like that, the penalty they're incurring right now, I think, doesn't reflect what Pete Dye had designed for. So we're going to look at what we can do to make sure those balls at least become playable.'
One of the most critical plugs came Sunday when leader Eduardo Romero's tee shot to the par-3 14th sank deep into the sand. Romero lifted out and made a double bogey that cost him the tournament.
'I really felt bad for Eduardo,' champion Denis Watson said. 'He hit a pretty bad shot, but I question how they had the face of the bunkers this week. I thought that was unfair.'
Hale Irwin had a similar problem on the 16th hole Thursday, leading to a triple-bogey 8.
On Saturday, Brad Bryant and Jay Haas both had to lift out a bunker on par-5 second hole. Bryant made double bogey and Haas bogey.
Warren admitted it's a problem on the to-do list in the 1,900 days or so before 2012's final major is played. Warren expects the change to make the ball hittable from where it rests, or at least the balls roll to the bottom of the trap for a shot there.
Other than that, Warren was pleased.
So was the PGA of America, according to its chief executive Joe Steranka.
'When we look at a place where we're going to site out championships, we look for a place that going to challenge the great players,' he said.
Steranka, too, had concerns about the unplayable lies in bunkers, but is satisfied the problem won't happen again in five years. 'There's not much you need to do to this golf course,' he said.
Warren said the fairways might be converted to the paspalum grass that is on the greens. Organizers used the grass on the practice range and the first fairway.
Such a conversion would close the course, which averages about 20,000 rounds a year at $320 or so each, to complete. Warren thinks it's worth it to get ready for the PGA Championship.
Crowds were as expected and certainly 'good enough for a major,' Steranka said.
He figured on about 5,000 spectators the first two rounds with about double that on the weekends.
There won't be a shortage of interest come 2012 when Steranka and Warren expect in excess of 40,000 people a day for the PGA, nearly 60 percent more than the crowd at the 1991 Ryder Cup matches here.
Steranka has met with state leaders, including Gov. Mark Sanford, about improving roadways -- possibly extending an interstate so it comes closer to Kiawah Island.
Warren said Kiawah Island could clear as much as 300 acres of land outside the gates to park about 30,000 vehicles.
A series of buses shuttled fans the five miles or so from the parking lots to the course this past week and bottlenecks and traffic jams were scarce, Warren said.
Expect more viewing towers like the one behind the 17th hole, which Steranka said provided spectacular views of the course and ocean. Also expect more grandstands.
The course's length could be another problem.
Senior PGA officials adjusted yardage based on conditions. But it seems unlikely they'd let Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson hit into No. 17 from 158 yards -- the hole's distance during Saturday's third round.
'They're going to have to be very careful as to how they set it up,' said Nick Price, who finished third at 5-under behind Watson and Romero. 'Because if you have a day where the wind blew like it did off some of those tees, I mean, there's just no bail out. That's the thing that's hard on this golf course.'
With driving distances seemingly always increasing, who knows how far PGA TOUR pros will be hitting it in 2012. Could The Ocean Course crack 8,000 yards?
'We play very long golf courses for PGA Championships,' Steranka said.
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    Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

    IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

    Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

    Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

    Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

    Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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    Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

    By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

    Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

    Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

    And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    “The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

    Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

    Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

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    Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

    Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

    “I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

    Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

    A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

    It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

    There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

    Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

    The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

    Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

    “I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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    Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

    By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

    In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

    Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

    With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    "Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

    So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

    "I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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    Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

    Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

    On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

    And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

    "I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

    "I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

    He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

    Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

    With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

    But he isn't celebrating just yet.

    "It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

    "So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."