Notes Tigers Struggles Continue

By Associated PressJune 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods was never in contention for the U.S. Open title. In fact, he needed a final-hole birdie to avoid matching his worst round ever in the event.
Woods shot a 6-over 76 at Shinnecock Hills on Sunday and finished at 10-over 290 for the tournament.
'I feel all right, not really great,' Woods said. 'I hit a lot of good shots. I also hit some bad ones. And I put myself in some really tough spots to make birdies.'
Woods has won eight majors, including two U.S. Opens, but he's on an 0-for-8 run in the game's biggest tournaments.
'It would be awfully tough to try to deal with the fact I haven't won any majors the last couple of years if I wasn't in contention,' he said. 'I had a great chance at Hazeltine (2002 PGA), great chance at Royal St. George's (2003 British Open), and that's the one I felt like I should have won. I've had my chance going to the weekend, but as long as I'm still in contention then it's bearable.'
Woods shot a 69 on Friday that left him at 141, seven strokes off the lead. On Saturday, he capped a 73 with an eagle 2 on the 18th hole, a shot that he said left him with a chance to win the tournament.
He never had an opportunity with the tough conditions at Shinnecock.
'I hung in there, grinded my tail off today, I really did,' he said. 'I did the best I could, that's what I ended up with today. That golf course was out of control.'
Woods will play one more tournament before traveling to the British Open at Troon in July, his next chance to end his streak of defeats in majors. He will defend his title at the Western Open in Chicago over the July 4 weekend.
'I didn't play well there last time,' he said, referring to the British Open. 'I had a chance going into Sunday. I shot 64, I believe it was, on Saturday to put myself right back in the ballgame.'
Spencer Levin had a 5-over 75 Sunday for a 288 total that left him as low amateur in the field. More importantly, he finished tied for 13th, and the top 15 all receive an exemption into next year's U.S. Open.
'I made that little 4-footer on the last hole. That's probably what got me in it,' he said, referring to the par putt that did just what he said. 'That will be awesome. I look forward to that. I've never played Pinehurst, and playing with these guys again would be great.'
Levin, of Elk Grove, Calif., said he will return to the University of New Mexico in the fall and continue to compete in amateur events like the California State Amateur, which starts Monday at Pebble Beach.
'We had a flight to Oakland tonight, that was the original plan, but they have the awards ceremony here and I'm going to stick around for that,' he said. 'My tee time is 1:30 so I might be able to make it. You have to play Pebble if you get the chance.'
Especially after his four rounds at Shinnecock, which included the tournament's only hole-in-one, on Thursday at the 179-yard 17th.
'It was great. It was awesome,' he said. 'This was probably the most fun I've had playing golf.'
Three other amateurs made the cut. Casey Wittenberg finished at 296, while Bill Haas was at 297 and Chez Reavie was at 304.
Jay and Bill Haas became just the second father-son combination to make the cut at the U.S. Open, joining Joe Kirkwood and Joe Kirkwood Jr. in 1948.
Jay Haas had a 1-over 71 for a 287 that left him tied for ninth. Bill Haas, one of four amateurs to make the cut, closed with an 81 and was 10 strokes behind his father, tied for 40th.
'My Father's Day gift was the whole family being here this whole week,' Jay Haas said.
When asked about his son's effort for the week he said: 'He's young and hopefully not as good as he's going to be.'
How impressive was Robert Allenby's par round of 70 on Sunday? It was good enough to draw praise usually reserved for numbers in the low 60s.
Allenby was talking to several members of the media when Spike McRoy, who had a final-round 81, walked behind him.
'What did you shoot today?' McRoy asked, already knowing the answer.
'Par,' Allenby said.
'That's unbelievable,' McRoy said, extending his hand for a congratulatory shake.
The average round at Shinnecock on Sunday was 78.72 and there were 28 rounds in the 80s.
When Allenby walked off the 18th green, his 6-over 286 had him tied for 17th place. When the remaining 19 groups were done, he was tied for seventh.
'It was pretty brutal out there. It wasn't easy,' he said. 'I hit some good shots but I had some luck.'
The 2005 U.S. Open will be held in North Carolina at Pinehurst's famed No. 2 Course.
The only other time the Open was held there was in 1999 when the late Payne Stewart finished at 1-under 279, one stroke in front of Phil Mickelson. The course played 7,175 yards, the sixth longest in Open history.
The par-3 7th hole drew the most attention this week and finished with a stroke average of 3.413.
Tim Herron was the only player to finish under par for the four rounds on the hole.
He had three pars and a birdie.
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    Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Sweet 16

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

    Here is how things played out in the Round of 16 on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The week began with 64 players taking on Austin Country Club,but the field is dwindling. Click here for Day 3 match results:

    Match 97: Bubba Watson (35) def. Brian Harman (18), 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month. Watson will advance to play Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the quarterfinals.

    Match 98: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Charles Howell III (59), 1 up. Aphibarnrat won in a late comeback, winning the final two holes. He holed a 9-foot putt for birdie at the 17th to square the match and won with an 8-foot birdie at the last. He had not led all day, not until that last birdie putt dropped. The 28-year-old Thai improved to 4-0 on this world stage after sweeping his group in the round-robin play. A four-time European Tour winner, Aphibarnrat is looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He will meet Bubba Watson in the quarterfinals.

    Match 99: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Sergio Garcia (7), 3 and 1. Stanley birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes to go 3 up, and then he held off Garcia’s run at him, eliminating the world No. 10 with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes. With the victory, Stanley has a chance at a nice Texas two-step, a chance to eliminate the two highest ranked players left in the field, the only players left among the top 10 in the world ranking. But, there’s hard work to do in the quarterfinals, where Stanley will meet world No. 2 Justin Thomas.

    Match 100: Justin Thomas (2) def. Si Woo Kim (50), 6 and 5. Thomas remains on fire in this format, steamrolling Kim a day after completing a round-robin sweep of his group by blowing away Francesco Molinari, 7 and 5. The Kim match felt like it was over shortly after it started, with Thomas making the turn 5 up. Thomas will advance to play Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals.

    Match 101: Cameron Smith (46) def. Tyrell Hatton (12), 2 and 1. Smith found himself behind early, falling 2 down after Hatton opened with back-to-back birdies, but Smith quickly rallied to win one of the best matches of the day. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 1 up. Hatton lost despite making seven birdies on the round. He lost despite making birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to the red-hot Smith, who made eight birdies. Smith will meet Alex Noren in the quarterfinals.

    Match 102: Alex Noren (13) def. Patrick Reed (19), 5 and 3. In this Fire vs. Ice match, Ice won, with Noren making easy work of Reed. Really, though, Reed never got a flame going, and Noren wasn’t going to help him the way Jordan Spieth did a day before. Reed was 2-over on his card before finally making his first and only birdie of the day at the 13th. Somewhere, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn must have been smiling, watching Noren easily take down the formidable American match-play dynamo. Noren will meet Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

    Match 103: Ian Poulter (58) def. Louis Oosthuizen (25), 2 and 1. Poulter’s match-play mojo is going strong again, with the Englishman summoning the intensity that has made him so formidable in the Ryder Cup over the years. He was on fire Saturday, making eight birdies over the first 15 holes, if you count the concession he received hitting a wedge to 18 inches at the 13th hole. Poulter put a special putter in the bag this week, using the same flat stick that helped him lead the Euros to their historic comeback victory against the Americans at Medinah in 2012. Though Oosthuizen made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, he still couldn’t make it close. Poulter will meet Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals.

    Match 104: Kevin Kisner (32) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 1 up. Kuchar applied all kinds of pressure on Kisner on the back nine, but he couldn’t get Kisner to fold in the best match of the day. Kuchar was 2 down with four to go but managed to pull all square going to the last. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win. Kisner will meet Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.

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    JT advances to quarters, closing in on No. 1 ranking

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Justin Thomas continued his impressive run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and finds himself another step closer to overtaking Dustin Johnson in the World Golf Ranking.

    Thomas rolled past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the first knockout stage and will face Kyle Stanley in the Elite Eight. He must advance to Sunday’s championship match to overtake Johnson as the new world No. 1.

    “It wasn't anything crazy or special. Just played solid golf tee to green. And it was forcing him to make a lot of putts,” said Thomas, who has played 61 holes this week, won 24, lost six and hasn’t trailed in four matches.

    Stanley, who needed a playoff victory over Paul Casey on Friday to advance to the weekend, defeated Sergio Garcia, 3 and 1.

    Bubba Watson also continued his solid play, rallying from an early deficit to beat Brian Harman, 2 and 1. He will play Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who defeated Charles Howell III, closing with back-to-back birdies for a 1-up victory.

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    But as impressive as Thomas has been, Sweden’s Alex Noren has quietly continued to impress, going undefeated in pool play and closing out Patrick Reed on the 15th hole for a 5-and-3 victory.

    “He's such a tough competitor,” said Noren, who will face Australian Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals. “I managed to hole a few birdie putts. When we both had good chances, he just missed and I managed to make those.”

    Former Match Play champion Ian Poulter also advanced with a 2-and-1 victory over Louis Oosthuizen. He will play Kevin Kisner, who converted a 10-foot putt at the 18th hole to defeat Matt Kuchar, 1 up.

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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.