No big move on a rain-shortened day at Sawgrass

By Associated PressMay 14, 2011, 11:25 pm
The Players ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Nick Watney and Graeme McDowell were atop the leaderboard after a short day of work Saturday in The Players Championship. The winner of golf’s richest prize will have to work overtime.

After storms that delayed the third round by 4 1/2 hours and softened the TPC Sawgrass, Watney and McDowell came out firing in the twilight to reach 11-under par through only five holes when play was suspended by darkness.

The biggest move all day might have been a pine that toppled by a big gust during the thunderstorms.

David Toms, the 36-hole leader who had to wait until dinner time to tee off, only made it through five holes. He made all pars, and probably was happy to stop. Toms had birdie putts inside 12 feet on every hole—two of them inside 7 feet – and missed them all to stay at 10 under. Steve Stricker also was at 10 under after two birdies.

Only 40 players managed to finish the third round.

That included Ian Poulter, who had reason to be exhausted for other reasons. Realizing that play was going to be stopped, and not wanting to return at 7:45 a.m. Sunday to finish one hole, he sprinted to the 17th green and quickly two-putted for par, then ran off toward the 18th tee and hit his tee shot as the group in front was just leaving the tee.

It’s a common move in tournament golf – once any player in a group tees off, the entire group is allowed to finish the hole. Poulter finished with a bogey for a 74, but at least he gets to sleep in. So does his playing partner, Dustin Johnson, who shot 73.

“A little 300-yard sprint is well worth four hours in bed,” Poulter said.

The third round is to resume Sunday morning, and threesomes then will be sent out in the afternoon. With some 30 holes remaining and so many top players in the hunt, rarely has a final day been this wide open.

“I could see someone going and shooting 62, 63 tomorrow,” McDowell said. “I think there’s a low score on this golf course, depending on what the wind does tomorrow. But it really has opened the field up a little bit. It’s going to be exciting.”

It already was even with the little golf that was played.

Sean O’Hair, who had missed his last five cuts, birdied his last two holes for a 67 to post the best 54-hole score Saturday at 7-under 209, but only because the leaders didn’t even reach the turn.

Peter Hanson bogeyed the last hole for a 66. Phil Mickelson barely finished, just not the way he would have liked. He made eagle on the 16th, followed with a birdie on the 17th and then ended with a bogey for a 69. He was at 5-under 211.

“I had a good finish until that bogey on 18,” Mickelson said. “That eagle on 16 and birdie on 17 got me into position where I thought you never know what might happen on Sunday. So I’ve got to go low.”

Martin Kaymer, who can return to No. 1 in the world by winning this week, might have had the most wild 12 holes of his season. He opened with four straight birdies by a combined 6 feet of length—the longest was 3 1/2 feet, two of them inside a foot. He tied for the lead by making a 10-foot birdie on the seventh, then ran off three straight bogeys to drop back.

Kaymer played 12 holes and made only three pars.

Such scoring was not evident the first two steamy days, played under sunshine. But after nearly an inch of rain fell during the long delay, they might as well have called this the TPC Cupcake.

McDowell, Watney and everyone else were firing at flags and watching their shots stay around the hole. Robert Allenby, who had a 68, said he hit a 5-wood about 6 feet short of the flag on the 16th and it only moved a few feet.

The course drained beautifully, however, so the shots from the fairway were clean. That’s why scores were low, and it could turn into quite the shootout Sunday.

McDowell started with a birdie, then wasted a good chance on the par-5 second when he used a hybrid to bump his ball up the slope from behind the green and knocked it 20 feet by the hole. But he chipped in on the third for birdie and hit another good iron to about 7 feet on the fifth to join Watney in the lead.

Watney, the winner of a World Golf Championship at Doral two months ago, could have started even better. He knocked in a 15-foot birdie putt on the first, hit a bunker shot across the second green to tap-in range, then faced the par-3 third hole into the setting sun.

He hit the shot, looked up and was blinded.

“Where did it go?” he asked.

“Right at it,” Toms replied.

The ball settled 4 feet away, and Toms followed with a shot he couldn’t see to just outside 5 feet. Both missed their putts.

Stricker birdied the first and last holes he completed, and had a 65-foot birdie putt on the sixth when play was stopped. Like everyone else, he’s bracing for a long Sunday.

“You’ve got to take it easy tomorrow,” he said. “Come out with some intensity, but knowing that you have a long day.”

Hanson might have had the toughest time when play resumed. He was 7 under for his round through 16 holes and on his way to the fearsome island-green 17th when play was suspended. Then he waited four hours before going out to the range, and the last shot he worked on was an easy pitching wedge. It’s just hard to imagine an island on the driving range.

To the front pin at 17, his wedge nearly spun back off the green and he two-putted from the edge for par. His drive on the 18th went into the trees, and Hanson wound up missing an 8-foot par putt.

“Seventeen and 18 is a tough finish,” Hanson said. “But it’s an even harder start.”

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Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

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Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

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Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

“You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

 “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”