Ochoa Webb Chasing Pressel Creamer

By Associated PressFebruary 16, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Hawaii -- The last time they were this close, they were packed 10 deep in a Ford Taurus and headed to the mall.
 
Morgan Pressel moved a step closer to becoming the youngest player in LPGA Tour history to win a 54-hole event, shooting a 4-under 68 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead in the season-opening SBS Open.
 
The 18-year-old Pressel was tied with her 2002 Junior Solheim Cup captain, Sherri Steinhauer, and former teammate Paula Creamer at 7-under 137. Steinhauer and Creamer shot 70s.
 
Lorena Ochoa
Things aren't out of her hands just yet, as Lorena Ochoa is just three off the lead. (Getty Images)
Pressel, who tied for fifth last year, she knows exactly what she needs to do to earn her first win in 32 starts.
 
'It's not like I'm protecting a big lead, so I've got to go out there and make some birdies,' she said. 'I can't do anything stupid.'
 
It was mostly overcast and breezy at Turtle Bay Resort's oceanside Palmer Course, keeping players from being too aggressive and making them guess what clubs to hit. Conditions are expected to be even windier Saturday.
 
Pressel, the 2005 U.S. Women's Open runner-up, used a strong short game and made her move in the middle holes. She holed a 7-footer for birdie on No. 9, a 25-footer on 10 and tapped in on 12 to tie Steinhauer at 6 under.
 
Steinhauer, who qualified for the tour in 1985, three years before Pressel was born, birdied Nos. 13 and 14 with short putts to regain the outright lead. But she bogeyed the par-3 15th and Pressel birdied the next hole to get to 7 under.
 
The two shared stories, laughs and 'girl stuff,' as they walked the fairways.
 
'We had a great time out there. We kept it light and fun,' Steinhauer said. 'We definitely fed off each other.'
 
During the round, Pressel told Steinhauer that her grandmother turns 71 on Saturday.
 
'I said, 'Do you realize my parents are older than your grandparents?'' the 44-year-old Steinhauer said. 'Her eyes got this big. She couldn't even fathom that.'
 
Pressel, who opened the tournament with a double bogey, said she almost slipped and called her playing partner, 'Captain.'
 
Steinhauer said she'll never forget driving the youngsters to the mall.
 
'I don't know if that was legal. They will never forget that. I think that was the highlight of the Solheim Cup,' she said.
 
Steinhauer, who last year won her second career major and seventh LPGA title at the Women's British Open, had an up-and-down round with six birdies and four bogeys.
 
Creamer, who was shared the first-round lead with Steinhauer and Paige Mackenzie, is seeking her first win since 2005 when she won twice, finished second on the money list and earned rookie of the year honors. Last season, Creamer had 14 top-10 finishes, including a second-place tie.
 
'I think I've overcome that whole, 'Let's try and win and win and win.' I just need to let it happen,' she said.
 
Dressed in black instead of her usual pink attire, Creamer slapped her putter after missing a par putt on No. 11 and bogeyed the next hole when 3-wood shot found the leftside lake. But she finished strong, birdieing the Nos. 14 and 18 holes to reach 7 under.
 
Hee-Won Han, who won two events last year and finished ninth on the money list, was a stroke back at 6 under after he second 69.
 
Julieta Granada (71), who won the season-ending ADT Championship and helped give Paraguay its first Women's World Cup title last month, was 5 under along with Pat Hurst (68) and Janice Moodie (70.
 
Karrie Webb shot her second 70 and was at 4-under 140 with LPGA player of the year Lorena Ochoa (69) and LPGA rookie of the year Seon Hwa Lee (70).
 
'I actually tried to be more aggressive but the course is playing tough. There's more wind. The greens are getting harder,' said Ochoa, who won six events last year. 'Hopefully tomorrow, I can put the ball a little closer.'
 
Ochoa had 20 top-10 finishes last year and led the money list with $2,592,872.
 
Jimin Kang (70) was at 3 under along with a group that included Natalie Gulbis (73), who is seeking her first win in 136 starts.
 
Ai Miyazato was forced to take the weekend off, along with the entourage of Japanese media following her, after shooting a 76. She was at 7 over, along with 16-year-old amateur Taylore Karle (75) and 2005 SBS champion SBS Jennifer Rosales (75).
 
Big Island native Kimberly Kim, who last year became the youngest champion of the U.S. Women's Amateur at age 14, also missed the cut after three bogeys and a three double bogeys in her round of 79. Defending champion Joo Mi Kim (74) also failed to advance.
 
The winner Saturday will take home $165,000 from the $1.1 million purse. The tournament is ending Saturday to accommodate television audiences in South Korea, where it will be Sunday and aired live by sponsor Seoul Broadcasting System.
 
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    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

    According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

    Thomas’ path is the easiest. He will return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finished worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

    Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

    Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

    And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish worse than solo second.   

    Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

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    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.