Notes Cranes lucky 17 Glovers beard has FB page

By Associated PressMay 13, 2011, 1:22 am
The Players ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Ben Crane plucked his ball out of the cup at the famed 17th, smiling the whole time, and then heaved it into the gallery.

It certainly was a lucky souvenir. A battered and scuffed one, too.

Crane got two huge breaks at the treacherous island green during the opening round of The Players Championship, taking advantage of fortuitous bounces off the surrounding wood frame to stay on the leaderboard. He shot a 4-under 68, four strokes behind leader Nick Watney.

Afterward, all anyone wanted to talk about was his woodwork at TPC Sawgrass.

“My ball has a lot of marks, but it’s not wet,” Crane said. “So I’ll take it, I’ll take it.”

No doubt.

Crane’s tee shot at the par-3 17th flew over the green, hit the wooden planks outlining the fringe, bounced about 50 feet in the air and landed on the other side of the murky lagoon. If that wasn’t crazy enough, he chipped back across the water from a poor lie, hit the wood in nearly the same spot and landed well below the hole. He two-putted from there for bogey, maybe the luckiest one of his career.

“It’s a crazy day, a crazy game, but I actually enjoyed myself,” Crane said. “It wasn’t like I hit it in one place going and then another place coming back. It was like within 6 inches. It was probably the same dimple mark both times. Anyway, an impressive way to play 17. I know you didn’t see it that way, but you can draw it up any different way and put a 4 on the scorecard, so I’ll take it.”

He believes it might be historic, too.

“I don’t think anyone in the history of the PGA Tour has played – you know what, in the history of this golf course – has played the hole that way,” Crane said.

Crane wasn’t done, either.

His approach shot on the par-4 18th hit another wooden pylon next to a water hazard, bounced high into the air and landed beyond the hole. He made another bogey, but it could have been worse.

“I definitely deserve the nickname Woody,” Crane said.



CLARK RETURNS: Tim Clark’s first round of golf in more than a month went about like he expected.

Some good, some bad. Some pain, some progress.

Clark shot 2-over 74 in the opening round, a mostly trouble-free day that came as the South African tries to return from an elbow injury so severe he went three months without playing and only teed it up at the Masters in April because he was stubborn. He had rounds of 73-73 and missed the cut.

He felt considerably better at Sawgrass.

“For the most part, it’s getting better, so I’m encouraged by that,” said Clark, the tournament’s defending champion. “It’s better than I expected it would be two weeks ago. If you asked me two weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I would be able to play. So it’s improved a lot.”

Clark was runner-up at the Sony Open in January, but upon returning home noticed a problem in his elbow. Despite pain, he played in the Masters, but only because it’s a major. He took out his clubs Saturday for the first time since Augusta and returned to defend his lone PGA Tour victory.

“You’ve got to at some point test it to see where you’re at,” he said. “You’ve got to come out and play. There’s always a possibility that by actually playing and doing stuff that it gets better. At some point I would have started to play and this just kind of fit right around the right sort of time.”

He made two birdies and four bogeys Thursday, and had one club slip out of his hands. After hitting his tee shot on the par-3 No. 13, the club soared from his grip.

“You’ve got to hit a divot and dig it in,” he said. “It wasn’t a massive amount of pain, but I’m cautious of it. I’m scared to dig it in.”

He ended up 50 feet left of the hole and made par. It was one of several awkward-feeling shots during the round.

“Every now and then, I have a good swing and it feels good,” said Clark, who hasn’t decided whether he will play in next week’s tournament in Fort Worth, Texas. “But there’s a few swings that hurt.”



CARRYING ON: Martin Kaymer and Matt Kuchar had a large gallery following them around the front nine Thursday. They had a considerably smaller contingent on the back.

Kaymer and Kuchar certainly noticed. They didn’t mind, though.

After playing partner Tiger Woods withdrew at the turn, Kaymer and Kuchar carried on without the PGA Tour star and enjoyed the twosome.

“Yeah, you can chill,” Kaymer said. “You can walk very slow, your routine, you have plenty of time and you’re still waiting. Obviously it would have been nice if we wouldn’t play in the heat; that would have been better. But it’s always nice to play in a twosome. You don’t have to wait. You just play your game. You have time to think about your shots sometimes if you need to. Nobody is rushing you.”

Kaymer shot a 5-under 67, two strokes better than Kuchar.

They will play together again Friday – without Woods, who withdrew with leg injuries after his worst nine holes at The Players Championship.

“Obviously when he’s around, it’s a little bit different and more people,” Kaymer said. “Usually when you play a threesome or a twosome on the weekends, you know how many people are following you. But with Tiger there are more cameras, more media people inside the ropes, so it would be nice for me, as well, to get used to those things more often.”



CHEER THE BEARD: Lucas Glover’s beard has received so much attention recently that it now has its own Facebook page.

Glover, who won the Wells Fargo Championship last week, was on the leaderboard again during the opening round of The Players Championship. Glover shot a 7-under 65.

Glover had a larger-than-normal gallery following him, with some even cheering for his beard.

“I don’t really care as long as they’re hooting and hollering for something,” Glover said. “I hope it was because I was making birdies.”

He also insisted that he’s not superstitious about his facial hair.

“No, the ball doesn’t know what I’ve got on my face,” Glover said. “But it’s just something to do. If I get too hot and start itching, I’ll shave it. If not, I won’t. One of those things.”

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.''

Getty Images

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.”