Notes Tough Day for Lehman More Sad News

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill ' Tom Lehman started his day with his head bowed, leading a prayer for Darren Clarke. He ended it in the rules trailer, confirming a double-hit with his wedge on the 15th hole that turned his 76 into a 77.
 
That likely ended any thoughts of Lehman being the first playing captain at the Ryder Cup since Arnold Palmer in 1963.

Even so, it was a day packed with emotion.
 
Clarke's wife, Heather, died Sunday of breast cancer at age 39. About an hour before the funeral in Portrush, Ireland, Lehman was asked to lead a brief memorial for her on the putting green behind the clubhouse at Medinah Country Club.
 
Lehman didn't know Heather, but he has become a spiritual leader on the PGA Tour and was asked to speak because some European players who were close to her didn't think they could get through it.
 
About 75 people attended the 10-minute memorial, including Thomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, David Howell and Jose Maria Olazabal from the European tour, Robert Allenby of Australia with his wife, Sandy, and Lucas Glover.
 
Glover said he went to support Butch Harmon, Clarke's swing coach, and because Clarke 'plays our tour a lot and he's a top-ranked player and it's a pretty big tragedy.'
 
'It was the right thing to do,' he said. 'That was a great deal Tom did and the PGA did. It was good.'
 
Lehman lost in a playoff last week at the International -- a victory would have put him in the top 10 in the U.S. standings -- but he started slowly Thursday with three bogeys on the first four holes.
 
He was in the first cut, right of the green at No. 15, when his chip scooted a few inches and the blade of the wedge popped it in the air. Lehman immediately turned to his playing partners to suggest something wasn't right, and TV replays in the rules trailer confirmed it.
 
A QUAD OPENING
Brett Wetterich is 10th in the Ryder Cup standings, and he was eager to play well in the PGA Championship to secure his spot on the team. He got off to a great start Thursday, 4 under par through 11 holes and tied for the lead.
 
But it all came undone on two holes.
 
First, Wetterich made a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 12th hole to slip back to even par. After trading a birdie and a bogey, he made another quadruple bogey on the par-3 17th and shot 76.
 
Barring a strong second round, chances of making the cut are slim.
 
His Ryder Cup chances are certainly less, too, especially after three players behind him in the standings -- Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Davis Love III -- made strong starts Thursday.
 
Still, Wetterich could make the team even without making the cut. The last time the PGA Championship was played at Medinah, Jeff Maggert was 10th in the standings and missed the cut, then narrowly made the team when Bob Estes stumbled on the closing holes.
 
MORE TRAGEDY
Ernie Els was the latest player to cope with a loss in the family this week.
 
Els learned that his father-in-law, Piet Wehmeyer, died in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday after a short illness at age 87.
 
His wife, Liezl, left Chicago for the 16-hour flight home.
 
Els shot 71 on Thursday and headed straight to the practice green. Spokesman Mark Bell kept a reporter away and said Els would speak on Friday.
 
BROTHERLY LOVE
Jerry Haas won round No. 1 of the Haas brother matchup.
 
The younger brother of tour veteran Jay Haas shot a 2-over 74 in the first round of the PGA Championship, beating his brother by a shot. The two were paired together Thursday, the first time brothers have competed together in the PGA Championship since Lanny and Bobby Wadkins in 1995.
 
Jay Haas is nearly 10 years older than Jerry and had to be the favorite in the matchup because he is playing in his 27th PGA Championship and is the reigning PGA Senior Champion. Jerry Haas is the golf coach at Wake Forest and earned a spot in the field by finishing in the top 20 in the Club Pro Championship.
 
The two putted out on the final hole and then gave each other a hug instead of the traditional handshake to end the round.
 
CLUB PROS
The PGA Championship is unique among the majors because club pros are playing, though it's rare for any of the 20 in the field to make the cut.
 
Gregory Bisconti hopes to change that. The assistant pro at The St. Andrew's Golf Club in Hastings on Hudson, N.Y., shot a 2-under 70 in the opening round to make a strong bid to play on the weekend.
 
With his 16-year-old stepson caddying for him, Bisconti overcame nerves to birdie the first hole and got it to 3-under before making a bogey on the par-4 12th hole.
 
'I saw my cousin out there and made sure that he snapped a picture of the leaderboard, because you never know if you're going to get back there,' Bisconti said.
 
Bisconti's bogey came after his group crossed paths with a group containing Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson where the 12th and 15th tee boxes converge.
 
'That whole circus left the tee box, so I was a little bit nervous on that tee,' he said.
 
Bisconti said he had high hopes for making the cut, but conceded the whole experience was unique for him.
 
'The hardest part for a guy like me is blocking out the distractions,' he said. 'The easy part for these guys is that they do it week in and week out. They feel out here like I do back home -- comfortable and it's not a big deal.
 
PROVINCIAL PGA
The PGA Championship has a tradition of grouping the three major champions of the year for the first two rounds. But it can be quite provincial when announcing them.
 
Never mind that Phil Mickelson won the Masters. He was introduced as the winner of 2005 PGA Championship.
 
Tiger Woods won the British Open, but he was recognized only as the winner of the 1999 and 2000 PGA Championships.
 
And U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy?
 
He was introduced as being from Australia.
 
Related Links:
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    Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

    IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

    Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

    Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

    Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

    Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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    Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

    By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

    Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

    Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

    And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    “The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

    Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

    Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

    Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

    “I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

    Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

    A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

    It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

    There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

    Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

    The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

    Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

    “I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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    Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

    By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

    In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

    Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

    With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    "Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

    So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

    "I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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    Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

    Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

    On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

    And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

    "I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

    "I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

    He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

    Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

    With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

    But he isn't celebrating just yet.

    "It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

    "So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."