Notes Final-Hole Anger Mallon Contending

By Associated PressJune 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Dina Ammaccapane's first drive, though low, nearly cleared the water down the left side of Cherry Hills' 18th hole. Her second one wasn't really close.
 
Finally, on the third try -- her fifth shot -- Ammaccapane cleared the water.
 
She still wasn't done.
 
Unable to reach the green from the thick rough right of the fairway, Ammaccapane chopped a wedge out to the bottom of the hill. Her seventh shot hit the green and bounced through, then she chipped on and made the putt -- for a quintuple bogey nine on the 459-yard par-4.
 
``It's too long,'' said Ammaccapane, who shot a 12-over 83. ``The green's too small for a long iron and the long woods you're hitting up there. Either push it back and make it a par 5 or move us up and make it a good par 4.''
 
Ammaccapane wasn't the only one frustrated with No. 18 in the first round of the Women's U.S. Open on Thursday.
 
The uphill brute played almost a stroke over par at 4.727 and there were no birdies among the 132 players who came through before play was suspended. Only 57 players walked away with par and 14 had double bogey or worse, including triples by Kimberly Williams, Marisa Baena, Esther Choe and Mollie Fankhauser.
 
``A par on that hole, I'll take every day,'' said Paula Creamer, who's par on 18 helped her to a 3-over 74. ``It's a really good hole. A birdie on that hole is like getting two shots on everyone.''
 
That's for sure.
 
Not only is it the longest par-4 in the Open's 60-year history, it plays uphill and has a green designed for a par-5, which the members at Cherry Hills play it as. The fairway also slants severely from right to left, pushing drives toward the water down the right side and leaving players with hanging lies.
 
Only 18 percent of the players with morning tee times hit the green in regulation.
 
``You have to hit it perfect,'' Ammaccapane said. ``You have to hit it perfect down that left side, then you have a hook lie and you're 180 uphill. Is the green going to be receptive to a 4-iron? I don't know. It's not going to be a birdie hole, obviously.''
 
UNLIKELY LEADER:
Brittany Lang is going to turn pro later this summer. She already has a nice entry on her resume.
 
Lang, a 19-year-old amateur who just won a national championship at Duke, shot 2-under-par 69 to share the first-day lead at the U.S. Open with Angela Stanford.
 
Lang said she felt she was playing well after her practice round Wednesday, but wasn't sure how she'd handle her nerves when the galleries showed up and the shots really started counting.
 
``I just figured I'd try to go out and play golf like I'd been playing,'' she said. ``Sure, I'll still be nervous but it'll be a lot of fun.''
 
She opened with three birdies over her first seven holes to get to 3-under and was in the lead alone going into the 18th hole. But she hit her second shot off the grandstand and made bogey to finish tied.
 
``I was actually happy with a bogey there,'' she said of the hole that was playing nearly a stroke over par.
 
BACK IN TIME:
Meg Mallon waited 13 years before she won another U.S. Women's Open. That's enough to inspire Liselotte Neumann, who won her first Open in 1988.
 
Neumann, the pioneer of Swedes like Annika Sorenstam on the LPGA Tour, opened with a 1-under 70 to stand one stroke out of the lead.
 
``I think any time you see a player that won something a long time ago, or anybody that's getting up in age, it's always nice to see,'' Neumann said. ``It gives you the feeling that if you work hard and you stay in good shape, that you can win. Everybody feels that way.''
 
Mallon was 41 when she won the Open last year.
 
Neumann, 39, has won only once on tour in the last seven years.
 
MALLON IN CONTENTION:
Defending champion Meg Mallon opened with an even-par 71, putting her right in the thick of things after Thursday's first round.
 
Better yet, she seems to have worked out the season-long problems she's had with her driver.
 
Once of the straightest drivers on the LPGA tour, Mallon entered the U.S. Open ranked 79th in driving accuracy. After finding a driver she likes -- her 14th in 10 weeks -- on the range Wednesday, Mallon went out in the first round and hit 10 of 14 fairways, with two others finishing in the first cut of rough.
 
``It was just so nice and normal,'' Mallon said. ``I hit fairways and greens. I had birdie opportunities.''
 
DIVOTS:
U.S. Open media assistant Bill Crumley drowned Wednesday evening while boating on Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minn. Crumley, who was at the men's U.S. Open in Pinehurst last weekend, was 43 and is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and children, Ben and Ali. ... Leta Lindley didn't get the tournament off to a great start, hitting into the water on No. 1 and taking a triple-bogey. She rebounded nicely, though, getting a birdie on the par-3 sixth and 12 straight pars to finish 2-over. ... Ammaccapane's disaster at No. 18 wasn't her only trouble on the back nine. She had five other bogeys and made the turn at 10-over 46. ``It was a good nine,'' she said with a smirk. ... Peter Forsberg of the Colorado Avalanche was among those in the gallery following fellow Swede, Annika Sorenstam.
 
Related Links:
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    Goal for new world No. 1 Koepka: Stay healthy

    By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 1:38 pm

    Last season Brooks Koepka bagged a pair of majors en route to the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award. He started the new wraparound season with an emphatic win at the CJ Cup to reach world No. 1 for the first time.

    But amid the best form of his career, Koepka has a simple goal in mind as he gets ready to turn his attention to the new year.

    "Stay healthy," Koepka told reporters. "That's been the big thing. I need to be healthy to be able to play all these events, play all the majors."

    Koepka's breakthrough year comes despite the fact that he missed four months in the spring, including the Masters, while recovering from a wrist injury. He hit the ground running once he returned, with strong finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial preceding wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

    Now Koepka has added a third trophy after cruising to a four-shot win in South Korea on Sunday that allowed him to move past Dustin Johnson at world No. 1.

    "I'm 1-for-1 this year, which is nice," Koepka joked about his undefeated record in the new wraparound season.

    Koepka will be in the field next week in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions before putting the clubs on the shelf. With Justin Thomas paving the way by making the goal-setting process more public in recent years, Koepka explained that even after summiting the world rankings he plans to wait until 2019 to adjust his expectations for himself.

    "I keep the same goals through the calendar year," Koepka said. "On Jan. 1 I go to the beach in the morning and go write down my goals and figure them out for the calendar year, but I just need to finish this year off. I've got next week and I would like to, coming out the first week as No. 1, I'd like to play well."

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    Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup

    By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 12:52 pm

    Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.

    Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.

    But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished alone in second, four shots behind Koepka who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.

    "Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."

    It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.

    "I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."

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    Kang (69) wins Buick LPGA Shanghai by two

    By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:11 am

    SHANGHAI - Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.

    Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day's lowest score of 66.

    ''I hope I win more,'' Kang said. ''I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.''

    Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).


    Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


    Carlota Ciganda, who also held a share of the lead after the third round, shot a 73 to fall into a tie for ninth with Bronte Law and local favorite Lu Liu.

    Paula Creamer carded three birdies against a pair of bogeys for a 71 to finish in sole possession of 12th place.

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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    New world No. 1 Koepka already wants more

    By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 8:48 am

    If there is a knock on Brooks Koepka, it’s that he’s a little too cool.

    Gary Woodland, who threw 11 birdies at Koepka on Sunday and still finished four shots back, inadvertently captured that exact sentiment after Saturday's third round.

    “You know," he said, "Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much."

    In context, Woodland meant that there was little anyone in the field could do to rattle the 54-hole leader. (He proved himself right, by the way.)

    And out of context, the comment speaks to the general narrative surrounding Koepka. That he’s just detached enough for fans to have trouble attaching themselves to him. That he’s just a jock here to cash checks and collect trophies, to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

    But for a few moments Sunday in South Korea, it became clear that Brooks Koepka does care. Crouched on the 72nd green with some time to stop and think as Ian Poulter lagged a bit behind, Koepka finally let a moment get to him. Cameras caught the three-time major champion appearing unusually emotional.

    Of course, less than a minute later, those same cameras caught him yawning. The contrast was almost too perfect. It was as if he knew he had just been found out and needed to snap back into character – which he did.

    He promptly poured in an eagle putt to cap off a final-round 64, to win the CJ Cup by four, and to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

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    “To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said on the 18th green, moments after closing out his fifth PGA Tour victory and third this year. “I don't think this one's going to sink in.”

    What is beginning to sink in is that Koepka now unequivocally belongs in the conversation, the one golf fans and analysts have been having over and over since Tiger Woods fell from golf's greatest heights.

    Who’s the best at their best?

    In the two years between his first PGA Tour win and his first U.S. Open victory, Koepka was touted as having the kind of talent to compete with the game's elites. It took a little while for him to get here, but Koepka has taken over as the latest player to look like he’ll never lose again. Just as it was for Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas before him, this is Koepka's moment. This is his run of dominance.

    It’s a run that will have to end at some point. Every one of the guys just mentioned did cool off eventually. Koepka will, too. Maybe it will be fatigue, maybe it will be injury, and maybe it’ll just be golf. This talent pool is simply too deep for anyone to remain on top for too long.

    But what Koepka has done this year – in defending his U.S. Open title, in staring down Tiger at the PGA, in claiming the Player of the Year Award, in ascending to the top of the world rankings – is put his name at the forefront of the conversation. If he was unappreciated at times before, those days are behind him. He's already accomplished too much, proven himself too good to be overlooked any longer.

    And he’s far from done.

    “For me, I just need to keep winning,” the new world No. 1 said Sunday. “I feel like to win a few more regular Tour events and then keep adding majors. I feel like my game's set up for that. I've gotten so much confidence off winning those majors where, it's incredible, every time I tee it up, I feel like I really have a good chance to win whether I have my A-game or not. It's something I'm so excited [about] right now, you have no idea. I just can't wait to go play again.”