Notes: Weather to be major factor at Royal St. George's

By Associated PressJuly 12, 2011, 8:22 pm

SANDWICH, England – That’s more like it.

A day after practicing in sunshine and a light breeze, the British Open players got a better idea Tuesday of the conditions they’ll probably need to prep for at Royal St. George’s.

The wind gusted to more than 30 mph on a cloudy, cool day, turning par-3s into driver holes and showing the importance of patience, persistence and a grind-it-out mindset when the weather turns, as it always seems to do at these seaside courses.

 “You don’t really know what you’re going to get,” Luke Donald, the world’s top-ranked player, said after his practice round. “That’s the nature of links.”

He welcomed the chance to hit shots in harsher conditions, especially with a forecast that calls for heavy rains and more strong gusts on the weekend.

“The guy who can scrap it around and make pars from off the green, hole some long putts and kind of keep the momentum going, especially when it’s very tough like it was today, that’s the key to playing well,” Donald said.

Phil Mickelson, who’s never played particularly well at this major championship, worked on some shots he might need when he’s keeping score.

“It’s certainly helpful being able to hit a variety of shots into the greens and practice the short game around these greens, too,” he said.

CHARL THE PROGNOSTICATOR: If ever Charl Schwartzel decides to take up a new profession, he could always give fortunetelling a try.

Predicting last week’s Scottish Open would be plagued with rain, The Masters champion from South Africa decided a while ago that his British Open preparations would be better served staying in his homeland.

Good call.

The tournament in the Scottish Highlands was shortened to three rounds because of a freakish combination of torrential rain and thunderstorms that Colin Montgomerie, the former Europe Ryder Cup captain, described as “end-of-the-world stuff.”

In the Rainbow Nation, meanwhile, the weather was dry and clear, allowing Schwartzel to do “a lot of practicing.”

“I just figured that moving the Scottish Open further north, it can’t get any better,” Schwartzel said. “I’ve heard it too many times in my life, especially in Ireland, where we would arrive at a golf tournament and the locals would go, ‘You cannot believe how good the weather was last week.’ I figured it was going to be pretty much the same.”

WIN ONE FOR PHIL: Phil Mickelson didn’t play his best golf Tuesday, but he came away a winner.

He had a good partner.

Mickelson and Jeff Overton played their traditional match at a major against Dustin Johnson, who picked Rickie Fowler as a partner. Mickelson and Overton were 4 up at the turn when Johnson decided to press. Johnson immediately won the 10th hole, and his side was poised to win the par-3 11th, which at 243 yards into the wind played so long that no one could reach the green, even with a driver.

Right when it looked as though Fowler would make par to win the hole, Overton knocked in a 20-foot par putt from just off the green. Then came the big finish, when Overton made a putt close to 100 feet.

“We had a fun game, and Jeff Overton made a long putt on the last hole,” Mickelson said. “He was my partner, so I’m very appreciative of him.”

REMEMBERING SEVE: Seve Ballesteros is very much a part of this British Open.

An iconic image of the Spanish star, who won this event three times, is plastered on stands around the course, mixed in with the familiar claret jug logo.

Under the outline of Ballesteros it says, “1957-2011.” He died in May at age 54 after battling a brain tumor.

Ballesteros was only 19 when he finished second to Johnny Miller at the 1976 Open at Birkdale. He claimed his first major title three years later at Lytham, making a memorable birdie in the final round after driving his tee shot at No. 16 into a parking lot.

He went on to become the face of European golf, starring in The Ryder Cup as a player and serving as captain for a 1997 triumph in his homeland.

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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 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 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."