Notes Ames in Unfamiliar Territory

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Stephen Ames has played four matches in three years at the Accenture Match Play Championship, and Thursday took him into foreign territory.
 
It was the first time he reached the 13th hole.
 
'When I passed the 12th hole, I had to take a breather,' Ames said. 'I've never played so many holes.'
 
He wasn't joking.
 
Ames made his debut in 2005 and lost 7 and 6 to Mark Hensby. Then came the early exit last year at La Costa, when Woods beat him in 10 holes by a record margin of 9 and 8. And in the opening round Wednesday, Ames beat Robert Karlsson, 8 and 7.
 
Safe to say it's been a good week.
 
Even after Vijay Singh birdied the 17th hole to close within one hole, with momentum on his side, Ames didn't flinch. He turned to his caddie and said, 'We've got nothing to lose.'
 
Then he lost the 18th to a Singh birdie and headed for extra holes. Ames beat him on the 19th hole with a 4-foot birdie putt, after Singh missed his 6-foot birdie attempt.
 
'You just don't know what's going to happen,' Ames said.
 
He said he would take that attitude into the third round against Stewart Cink, and might not feel any pressure until Sunday.
 
'I've got nothing to lose there,' he said. 'It's nice to be in that position, top 64 in the world and you've got one guy to beat. And the way that one guy is playing, it will probably be him again.'
 
That one guy he referred to was Woods, and Ames can only imagine the field day the media would have with that one.
 
'I would hope it would go 18,' he said, noting that the championship match is 36 holes.
 
BRACKET BUSTER
Charles Howell III had already advanced to the third round, and it appeared he might get a quick rematch with Phil Mickelson, whom Howell beat in a playoff at Riviera on Sunday.
 
Instead, Howell will face old friend Justin Rose. They both live in Orlando, Fla., and work with swing coach David Leadbetter.
 
'It's almost like a Tavistock Cup,' Rose said, referring to the made-for-TV match each spring between tour professionals from Lake Nona and Isleworth in the Orlando area. 'We're obviously good friends.'
 
Rose had high praise for Howell, whose West Coast Swing has featured two runner-up finishes and a victory at the Nissan Open.
 
'I think Charles possibly is the best player in the world right now, other than Tiger,' Rose said. 'It's going to be a tough game. He's been in contention a lot, and it looks like he's putting well.
 
REMATCH
Arizona must feel like England to Paul Casey.
 
Five months ago at the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, Casey rallied to beat Mike Weir in the second round, built an early lead to beat Colin Montgomerie in the next round, then pulled away to whip Shaun Micheel in the championship match.
 
At the Accenture Match Play Championship, he is facing the same lineup.
 
He rallied to beat Mike Weir on Wednesday, then withstood a late rally for a 4-and-3 victory Thursday over Montgomerie.
 
Next up?
 
Micheel, of course.
 
'We're going to the stage now where whoever is left, it doesn't matter what their world ranking is,' Casey said. 'Every match is going to get tougher from this point.'
 
He set a record at Wentworth with a 10-and-8 victory over Micheel, who was the 16th seed in a 16-man field. But don't let the score fool you. The first 15 holes were tight, and Micheel was poised to square the match with Casey in jail and Micheel in the fairway. Micheel took 8-iron instead of his caddie's choice of a 9-iron, sailed the green and lost the hole on a double bogey.
 
Micheel was so furious with his caddie -- 'Don't say another (expletive) word to me the rest of the day,' he said -- and Casey pulled away for the record rout.
 
Micheel is the No. 62 seed this week and already up to his old tricks, knocking out third-seeded Adam Scott and Rod Pampling.
 
DIVOTS
Four of the 16 players remaining have won match play titles -- Tiger Woods, David Toms and Geoff Ogilvy in the Accenture Match Play Championship, and Paul Casey in the HSBC World Match Play Championship. ... The United States has six players remaining in the tournament, followed by Europe with five and Australia with three. The Americans have at least one player remaining in all four brackets, so there's still a chance of an All-American semifinal, which has happened twice in eight previous years. ... In Thursday's U.S.-Europe matches, Charles Howell III beat Sergio Garcia, and Stewart Cink beat Padraig Harrington, while Phil Mickelson fell to Justin Rose. Howell and Rose have never played in a Ryder Cup.
 
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    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.

     

     

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    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.”

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    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.

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    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.”


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    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.”