Notes Stupples Goes On Wild Birdie Streak

By Associated PressJune 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- After consecutive bogeys on the front nine, Karen Stupples told herself to be patient, the birdies would come.
 
Did they ever.
 
Stupples had birdies on six straight holes in the middle of the third round at the U.S. Women's Open on Saturday, putting herself in position to add another major title to the Women's British Open she won last year.

Stupples ended the day with a three-putt bogey on the difficult par-4 18th, but finished 1 over and was tied for the lead with teens Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel.
 
``The bogey can come very quickly out here and I had to try and maintain my patience because I was 3 over par,'' Stupples said. ``I know that I'm capable of making at least somewhere between two and five birdies a round.''
 
She did more than that.
 
It started on the uphill, par-4 ninth hole, where Stupples hit 3-wood off the tee and knocked a 7-iron to 20 feet. A five-footer at 10 followed, then she got up and down from a bunker on the par-5 11th. Stupples hit it to 8 feet on the par-3 12th, 5 feet at No. 13 and was 7 feet away on the difficult 14th.
 
And it could have been seven birdies in a row. Stupples' putt at No. 15 was on line, but came up just short.
 
``I wimped out,'' she said.
 
It was still good enough to put Stupples in the final group with Pressel for Sunday's final round. And of the eight players within two shots of the lead, she's the only one who knows how to close out a major.
 
The 32-year-old Brit proved that at last year's Women's British, when she opened eagle-double eagle and shot a record-tying 64 in the final round to hold off Rachel Teske.
 
Not bad for someone who didn't turn pro until she was 25 and toiled on the LPGA Tour in relative anonymity for five years before her breakthrough in 2004.
 
``Every year I have made little improvements in my game to try and see where I am and try to get better,'' Stupples said. ``Last year, it just happened in a big flash. All of a sudden I went 'Poof!' and got better very quickly.''
 
NERVOUS PERROT
Nicole Perrot was the surprise leader after a 1-under 70 in the second round moved her two shots ahead of Michelle Wie and Lorena Ochoa.
 
The pressure of leading the U.S. Open seemed to get to her.
 
Perrot opened the third round by missing a short putt for bogey and had four more bogeys on the front nine to turn at 6-over 41. The 2001 U.S. Junior champion from Chile gathered herself and shot 1 over on the back side, but finished the round 5 over -- four shots out of the lead.
 
``The first two days I really had two solid rounds, but today I didn't hit it as well and was more in the rough,'' Perrot said. ``I had putts that didn't make, and it was just one of those days.''
 
BAD TIMING
The final group of Michelle Wie and Nicole Perrot spent a good portion of the front nine on the clock because of slow play.
 
Tom Meeks, senior director of rules and competition, was in a cart monitoring the group from the fifth fairway when he said that Wie had 40 seconds to hit the shot. Meeks was counting the seconds over a minute when Wie backed off her 5-iron.
 
``Doesn't matter now. It's a bad time,'' Meeks said, before speeding off to tell Wie of her bad time.
 
``I didn't think I was playing that slow,'' Wie said. ``He told me I had a time of 1 minute, 37 seconds. After that, I was running around. I was out of breath.''
 
Perrot didn't handle it much better. She had four bogeys in six holes after learning they were on the clock.
 
``It was kind of tough to get focused (being timed) all those times,'' she said.
 
MALLON'S MISFORTUNE
After starting her round with a bogey, defending champion Meg Mallon used birdies on the seventh and 10th holes to get to 2 over -- just two shots off the lead.
 
Then disaster struck at the par-3 12th.
 
Mallon hit a 5-iron, thinking it would be the perfect club to put ball in the middle of the green. Instead, it hit into the bank fronting the green and hung up in the rough just beyond a pond.
 
Mallon tried to hit a pop shot with a wedge from there, but the ball hit into the hill and rolled right. Another attempt, same result.
 
Mallon finally got it on the green with her fourth shot and two-putted for a triple-bogey 6. She ended up with a third-round 75 and finished 7 over overall, six shots behind the leaders.
 
``I was going along really nicely and had a lot of momentum going and had a big momentum buster,'' she said. ``It was really disappointing because I felt like my game was in control and I was where I wanted to be in the tournament.''
 
DIVOTS
Co-leader Morgan Pressel got a scare on the 18th hole and it had nothing to do with golf. Walking next to the lake along the left side of the fairway, the 17-year-old jumped toward her caddie when a swan sitting on the shore flapped its wings. ``I wasn't paying attention and all of a sudden a saw this white thing out of the corner of my eye.'' ... Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was in the gallery watching Annika Sorenstam. ... Colin Cann, Paula Creamer's regular caddie, rode around in a cart to watch her play the third round. He's been off the bag since breaking his ankle at Kingsmill last month.
 
Related Links:
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.