Notes Lunke Tears Up USGAs Age Pairing

By Associated PressJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- When Hilary Lunke sank the winning put five years ago to become the first qualifier to win a U.S. Womens Open, she immediately began thinking about Interlachen.
 
This is essentially her home course, where she often played as a teenager at Edina High School. So excuse her for showing some emotion Thursday morning after teeing it up at 7 a.m. and hitting the tournaments first ball.
 
I thought I was prepared for it, but I had tears well up in my eyes and I was wishing I had a few more moments to kind of collect myself, said Lunke, who shot a 1-over par 74 for the first round.
 
Her husband, Tylar, had tears in his eyes, too, after the couple shared a post-round hug on the side of the 18th green.
 
It was kind of overwhelming, Lunke said.
 
Now with an 8-month-old daughter, Lunke has significantly cut back on her tour schedule this season. She missed the cut in all three events she entered; since that improbable victory at Pumpkin Ridge in 2003 she has finished no higher than 22nd place in any tournament. She tied for 64th at the Open in 2004, then missed the cut in the next three.
 
But this is a special weekend, no matter what happens.
 
What a unique experience it is, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come back here as a former champion and to play the greatest event in my sport in my hometown, Lunke said. To get a reception like that on the last hole is just awesome.
 
HALL OF FAME:
Laura Davies has gone seven years since her last LPGA Tour victory, still two points shy of the required 27 to get into the Hall of Fame. She could get there with a victory at Interlachen, because majors are worth two points.
 
Until I do it, its irrelevant, she said after opening the first round with a 3-under par 70 that had her three strokes behind the leaders. When Ive got enough points, Ill be in, and not before.
 
Davies is one of the best players from her generation, bringing power long before any of her peers had it and winning her first of four majors 21 years ago at the U.S. Womens Open. The 44-year-old English star has 20 wins on the LPGA Tour, plus 48 victories overseas. She has stayed true to her roots, continuing to make several trips across the Atlantic to support the Ladies European Tour.
 
Its safe to say if I would have played full-time in America, then I would have been in (the Hall of Fame) 10 years ago, Davies said. But I didnt, and Im not. And Ive got to get on with it.
 
Thats Davies, a throwback unwilling to make excuses or complain. She balked at the suggestion she bypass the performance-based LPGA Hall of Fame criteria and try to get the 65 percent vote needed for induction through the international ballot.
 
If I dont get in on merit, I dont want to be in, she said.
 
AGE DIFFERENCE:
The USGA put 13-year-old Alexis Thompson in a group with 53-year-old Martha Nause, the youngest and oldest players in this years field' one sporting pink braces and the other gray hair.
 
Thompson barely missed a 15-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole when it hugged the lip of the cup, settling for birdie and a 2-over 75. Nause double-bogeyed the par-3 fourth hole and finished at 5 over.
 
Im a little disgusted actually, she said.
 
Nause realized she was rusty, out of professional competition for nine years and having to qualify for this event. Shes currently the mens and womens golf coach at Macalester in nearby St. Paul, but she once finished eighth at the Open in 1987 and owns three LPGA Tour victories'including one major, the 1994 du Maurier Classic.
 
DIVOTS:
Bettina Hauert of Germany wore a white cap that said CADDY on the front. Her caddie wore a white cap that said PLAYER. Hauert opened with a 79. Tied with Michelle Wie at 8-over 81 after the first round was a junior-to-be at Kansas named Emily Powers, who is believed to be the first participant in The First Tee program to qualify for a major championship. With 206 chapters around the U.S. and four other countries, the 11-year-old First Tee program is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation to promote educational and character development through the game of golf.
 
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    Watch: Strong start, rough finish for Koepka

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 4:45 pm

    U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

    Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.


    And here is the capper at the 14th

    Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.


    After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.


    A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead. That, however, sparked a wild ride to the finish line as he also bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 9, and birdied the sixth. It totaled to a second-nine, 2-over 37 and an overall score of 2-under 68.

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    Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

    Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

    ''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on jarrodlylegolf.com. ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

    ''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

    Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

    Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

    He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

    Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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    Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

    SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

    The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

    The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

    Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.


    Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship


    Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

    McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

    David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

    Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”