Ochoa Creamer Tied at Kraft Nabisco

By Associated PressMarch 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Lorena Ochoa and Paula Creamer stared over the water to a peninsula green on the par-5 18th hole at a different point in their rounds and a different time of day in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
And while they reached different conclusions Friday, they wound up in the same position atop the leaderboard.
 
Ochoa recovered from a double bogey that could have been worse with back-to-back birdies, including one on the 18th in the middle of her round. From 192 yards away, it wasn't a question of going for the green, only which club to use.
 
She wanted a 7-wood. Her caddie suggested a 5-wood, and it's a good thing Ochoa listened to him. Her approach landed 5 feet over the water and hung on the bank, from where she chipped to 8 feet for birdie.
 
'He saved me,' Ochoa said after a 1-under 71. 'The ball would be under water right now.'
 
Creamer played splendidly, a bogey-free round of 67 in which her longest putt for par was 4 feet. She had a chance to take her first outright lead in a major when she had 210 yards to the 18th green, her final hole.
 
She also listened to her caddie, who suggested she lay up.
 
'I'm a pretty aggressive player,' she said. 'If I needed to do it, I would have done it. But it's only Friday.'
 
They wound up at 4-under 140 on a tough Mission Hills course that is so firm and fast it has refused to yield the kind of round Ochoa had last year, when she opened with a 62 to tie an LPGA major championship record.
 
'I think they wanted to not keep it soft for us so we don't shoot so many low under,' she said with a laugh. 'They're blaming it on me.'
 
Suzann Pettersen of Norway, a runner-up to Ochoa last week outside Phoenix, shot 69 and joined Shi Hyun Ahn (73) at 141.
 
Another shot behind was Se Ri Pak, who needs a victory this week to become only the seventh woman to complete the career Grand Slam. She made 14 pars on her way to a 70 that finally gave her a decent chance at a Mission Hills course that has tormented her.
 
Missing from the mix, by a mile, was Annika Sorenstam.
 
The world's No. 1 player -- but maybe not for long if Ochoa wins this week -- was coming off her worst start at a major in seven years when she opened with a 75. She added another dubious footnote to her record on Friday with only one birdie in a round of 76, making it her highest 36-hole start at a major since she went 76-75 at Oakmont in the 1992 U.S. Women's Open. She was an amateur that year.
 
'It's just not happening at all,' Sorenstam said. 'I'm very disappointed with the outcome, obviously. I'm doing the best I can.'
 
Only nine players remained under par.
 
Mission Hills played even tougher than the first round, even on another day of sunshine in the Coachella Valley with barely a breeze. The greens were firm as ever, but what cost Ochoa in the early going was the thick grass framing the fairways.
 
Her tee shot on the 15th sailed right into the rough and under the trees, and she tried to scoot a 4-iron up the fairway. But she topped it slightly, the ball never got much air under it and traveled a mere 15 yards, still in the rough, still slightly blocked by trees. Her third shot hung up on a steep, grassy lip of the bunker, and her chip ran through the green into more rough.
 
Ochoa chipped to 4 feet and holed the putt to limit the damage. And while she lost two shots, she kept her perspective.
 
'I saw myself under par,' said Ochoa, who at that point was 1 under. 'And under par is always a good score in a major.'
 
She steadied herself with a tee shot into 18 inches on the par-3 17th, a tough hole with a front pin and hard green. And her round turned on the par-5 18th, which played 485 yards to give players a chance to reach the peninsula green in two.
 
But the rest of the round wasn't smooth sailing for the 25-year-old Mexican star.
 
From the right rough on No. 1, she punched out over a cardboard trash can and just onto the green, but then knocked her 40-foot birdie attempt about 10 feet by and caught the lip for a three-putt bogey. She came up well short with a wedge on the par-5 second, and left herself a testy 6-footer for par. She made that to avoid consecutive three-putts, then spent the next two holes standing over 4-foot par putts that she made to keep momentum on her side.
 
'Those were the key,' Ochoa said. 'That really changed, just making them, giving me relief and I kept myself in good position.'
 
Creamer was in great position all day.
 
The longest of her five birdie putts was 10 feet on the 12th, and she missed four other birdies from inside 12 feet. So the 20-year-old American turned into a prophet, for even after a 73 in the opening round, she said a low score was out there at Mission Hills.
 
'I gave myself a lot of chances, and we'll take it,' she said. 'But two more days left. That's a lot of golf.'
 
Creamer spent the first two days with Sorenstam, the world's No. 1 player, and now gets Sorenstam's heir apparent.
 
The difference?
 
'Annika right now is the world's No. 1 player,' Creamer said. 'Lorena is playing unbelievable.'
 
DIVOTS
The season-ending ADT Championship will return to Trump International in West Palm Beach, Fla., for the next two years. ... Stacy Lewis, who plays college golf at Arkansas, shot a 73 and was the low amateur at even-par 144. ... In her first tournament since August because of bone spurs on her right foot, Meg Mallon birdied the last hole and made the cut by one. ... Karrie Webb, the defending champion, made four straight bogeys and shot 77.
 
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

     


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.