Ochoa Trails Webb Kane

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Longs Drugs ChallengeDANVILLE, California -- Lorena Ochoa took her putter back on the 16th green as a black cow grazing on the dry hillside behind her let out a noisy 'moo.'
 
Ochoa made the 6-footer to save par after her tee shot ended up in a bunker, then birdied No. 17 to reach 5 under Friday on the second day of the Longs Drugs Challenge, leaving her a stroke behind defending champion Karrie Webb and Canadian Lorie Kane.
 
'Everybody was laughing a lot,' Ochoa said after her 2-under 70. 'The gallery has been really fun. That save on 16 and the birdie on 17 really changed my day. ... Today was like a mental game for me because I had nothing going.'
 
Webb and Kane shot 69s to finish at 6 under.
 
Ochoa, the 25-year-old Mexican and top-ranked woman in the world, is still in great shape for the weekend rounds at Blackhawk Country Club. She is trying not only to become the first female to win $3 million in a single season but also capture a fourth title in her last five events.
 
'Tomorrow is a big day, moving day,' said Ochoa, who headed for the putting green after her round to get in some extra work. 'I'm going to try to be a little more aggressive, especially with my putting, just giving myself chances.'
 
Hall of Famer Juli Inkster (66), Se Ri Pak (71), Suzann Pettersen (65) and Charlotte Mayorkas (67) were two strokes back of the leaders heading into Saturday's third round. They all know that will make for exciting golf with so many talented players bunched together at the top.
 
'It's packed,' Inkster said. 'You've just got to keep making birdies and see how you do on the weekend. If I keep playing the way I'm playing, I should be OK.'
 
Pettersen had the best round of the day to climb the leaderboard after starting the day 3 over.
 
'Still, I'm not totally satisfied how my putting is,' she said. 'It's improved and I've adjusted a few things on my swing. It's an improvement. A nice comeback.'
 
Ochoa, wearing pink like most of the players as part of breast cancer awareness month, had plenty of supporters in the gallery despite playing in a group with Northern California native and fan favorite Natalie Gulbis.
 
A man waved a Mexican flag when Ochoa teed off early Friday afternoon, while another draped a flag over his shoulders. One man wore a Mexican soccer jersey and a flag bandanna around his head.
 
'Viva, Mexico!' someone yelled after her great approach shot on the ninth hole to complete a solid front nine.
 
'Mexicans are all over in California and this area,' Ochoa said. 'They're ready to be here on the weekend and bring their families and support me. It's great. It feels really good and gives me extra motivation.'
 
Ochoa cut the corner on her first shot with a drive to the right that cleared the trees for 290 yards for a great position on the par-5, 505-yard hole. She just missed a tough eagle putt after hitting her 4-iron from 195 yards within 15 feet.
 
Maria Hjorth (69), coming off her tour win last week in the inaugural Navistar LPGA Classic last weekend in Prattville, Ala., was 2 under, while Inbee Park -- a co-leader after the first day with Pat Hurst -- shot a second-day 75 to also sit at 2 under.
 
Kane entered the tournament ranked 91st on the money list and the top 90 after this event will receive full exemptions for 2008.
 
'I started off today with a bogey, and a couple of months ago had I done that I probably would have jumped in the river,' Kane said.
 
Kristy McPherson (69) was a surprise at 3 under after a strong second-day effort by the American.
 
'What's the worst I can do, not win? I've been doing that all year,' she said as she finished up her day on the ninth hole. 'I stayed away from mistakes, stayed away from bogies. I finished solid. I came out today and kept it simple.'
 
Paula Creamer made the cut, but not without frustration. She cursed along the way, while another in her threesome -- fellow American Morgan Pressel -- kicked her bag in frustration before pounding it with her club on No. 8. Pressel pulled her drive left into the hazard and was upset she couldn't play out of it and had to settle for a drop.
 
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    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

    It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

    Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.