Ogilvy struggles late but hangs onto lead

By Associated PressJanuary 9, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 Mercedes Benz ChampionshipKAPALUA, Hawaii ' Geoff Ogilvy was in the valley of the 17th hole at Kapalua, a 561-yard hole that drops 100 feet from the tee. Thats why he hit a tee shot 415 yards. And thats why he couldnt predict what was going to happen next.
 
With only a wedge left to the green, Ogilvy knew something was wrong when his shot climbed high and was held up in the wind that only moments earlier had been at his back. It came up 85 feet short, leading to his only bogey of the Mercedes-Benz Championship.
 
Then came a three-putt par on the 18th, and his four-shot lead at the turn was down to one over D.J. Trahan.
 
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy clings to a one-shot lead with 36 holes to play at Kapalua. (Getty Images)
The wind changed sometime between the tee shot on the 17th and the second shot on the 17th, and we couldnt really feel it where we were standing, Ogilvy said after a 5-under 68 on Friday. Im pretty annoyed at the way I finished, but Im happy with where I am and how Im playing.
 
Despite the rough finish, Ogilvy was at 11-under 135 and will be in the final group Saturday with Trahan, who made a 40-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole on his way to a 66 to finish one shot behind.
 
Ernie Els missed two putts inside 3 feet and dumped a pitch shot into the bunker for a bogey on the 14th, but did enough things right for a 69 that put him two shots behind in his first trip to Kapalua in four years.
 
If I made some putts, I could have had a low one, and I knew today was the day to get a low one, Els said of the warm sunshine and mild breeze. Im there, but I feel like I could be a lot better. But its fine. Its the first week of the year, and I guess Ive just got to be patient.
 
Davis Love III birdied the last two holes for a 70 and was among five players at 7-under 139. Another stroke back was Boo Weekley, who might have been a little closer except for a four-putt double bogey from 12 feet on the final hole.
 
I pulled the first one, pulled the next one, then I done blew my top, said Weekley, who had to settle for a 70.
 
Ogilvy was frustrated, too, and a little perplexed by a sudden shift in the wind off the west coast of Maui that could make playing the Plantation course even trickier on the weekend.
 
In his two previous trips to Kapalua, Ogilvy has never experienced the wind direction he felt late in the round, which is in the forecast for the weekend.
 
Im sure it will be a bit awkward, Ogilvy said. If it goes the other way, you have to really think.
 
The 33-man field found conditions about as perfect as can be, for golf and the spectacular scenery. From the high points of the Plantation course, humpback whales were breeching and flipping their tails in the Pacific below, which is not unusual. On the golf course, the flags barely made a ripple, which is rare.
 
If theres ever a day to be disappointed with 6 under, this was it, Stewart Cink said after his 67.
 
Camilo Villegas finished his round of 67 and asked his caddie for a felt pen. Im in a better mood to sign today, he said, walking over to a group of fans wanting his autographs.
 
Despite the relative calm, theres still the matter of maneuvering around the mountain course, taking the right angles to hit slopes that lead to some 400-yard drives that already have been recorded. And of course, the greens arent easy to master in any condition.
 
He had a 12-foot birdie putt to get to 9 under when it missed badly on the low side. His 30-inch par putt caught the lip, and as Weekley scooted around the hole to tap that one in, he missed again. Four putts from 12 feet gave him a double bogey and spoiled an otherwise decent ground, giving him a second straight 70 for 6-under 140.
 
The whole back side, I was playing either too much break or not enough break, and it started wearing on me, Weekley said.
 
Adam Scott knows the feeling, even though he didnt four-putt. He figured a 67 was about as well as he played, but laments not making more chances. Of greater concern was staying within range of his fellow Aussie and good friend, Ogilvy, who was 11 under and on the back nine when Scott finished his round. Scott was asked if he could catch Ogilvy.
 
No, Scott said, laughing. Not if he keeps playing like this.
 
Ogilvy was headed that direction until a few blips that finally caught up to him, and brought him back to the rest of the field.
 
Divots: Weekley was being interviewed by Golf Channel when he was asked to analyze Els swing on the 18th hole. That right there was hammered, Weekley said. Love continued to struggle with the 13th hole. He had to take a penalty shot out of the deep grass right of the fairway on Thursday, leading to bogey, and he pulled it left into the native grass on Friday and made a double bogey. Cink and Trevor Immelman, both representing Nike, wore the same shirt Friday.
 
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    With baby on the way, Piller WDs from Zurich

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 2:45 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – With wife Gerina set to give birth to their first child, Martin Piller figured he’d need to check his phone every few holes at the Zurich Classic.

    He didn’t even make it that far.

    Piller withdrew before the start of the first round Thursday.

    Piller’s partner, Joel Dahmen, who only got into the field because of Piller’s status as the team’s A player, was allowed to remain in the event.

    Piller was replaced in the field by Denny McCarthy. The new team of McCarthy-Dahmen will tee off at 2:36 p.m. ET.

    The format change at the Zurich should make things easier for the new teammates. The first round is now best ball, not alternate shot.

    The only event that Gerina, a three-time U.S. Solheim Cupper, has played this season was the Diamond Resorts Invitational in January. The couple’s baby was due May 3, and she said that she plans to take off the entire year.

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    China's Jin (64) leads by one in Beijing

    By Associated PressApril 26, 2018, 12:28 pm

    BEIJING – Daxing Jin took a one-stroke lead at the China Open after shooting an 8-under 64 Thursday in the first round.

    Jin's bogey-free round at the Topwin Golf and Country Club included six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 eighth. The 25-year-old Jin is playing in only his eighth European Tour event and has made the cut only once.

    Matt Wallace (65) had an eagle-birdie finish to move into a tie for second with Nino Bertasio, who also produced a bogey-free round. Alexander Bjork and Scott Vincent (66) were a further stroke back.

    Defending champion Alexander Levy, who won last week's Trophee Hassan II in Morocco, is in a large group five shots off the lead at 3 under.

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    Putting prepared Park's path back to No. 1

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 12:13 am

    Inbee Park brings more than her unshakably tranquil demeanor back to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week.

    She brings more than her Olympic gold medal and seven major championships to the Mediheal Championship on the outskirts of San Francisco.

    She brings a jarring combination of gentleness and ruthlessness back to the top of the rankings.

    Park may look as if she could play the role of Mother Teresa on some goodwill tour, but that isn’t what her opponents see when she’s wielding her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet.

    She’s like Mother Teresa with Lizzy Borden’s axe.

    When Park gets on one of her rolls with the putter, she scares the hell out of the rest of the tour.

    At her best, Park is the most intimidating player in women’s golf today.

    “Inbee makes more 20- and 30-footers on a regular basis than anyone I know,” seven-time major championship winner Karrie Webb said.

    All those long putts Park can hole give her an aura more formidable than any power player in the women’s game.

    “A good putter is more intimidating than someone who knocks it out there 280 yards,” Webb said “Even if Inbee misses a green, you know she can hole a putt from anywhere. It puts more pressure on your putter knowing you’re playing with someone who is probably going to make them all.”

    Park, by the way, said Webb and Ai Miyazato were huge influences on her putting. She studied them when she was coming up on tour.

    Webb, though, believes there’s something internal separating Park. It isn’t just Park’s ability to hole putts that makes her so intimidating. It’s the way she carries herself on the greens.

    “She never gets ruffled,” Webb said. “She says she gets nervous, but you never see a change in her. If you’re going toe to toe with her, that’s what is intimidating. Even if you’re rolling in putts on top of her, it doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s definitely a player you have to try not to pay attention to when you’re paired with her, because you can get caught up in that.”


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship


    Park has led the LPGA in putts per greens in regulation five of the last 10 years.

    Brad Beecher has been on Park’s bag for more than a decade, back before she won her first major, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open. He has witnessed the effect Park can have on players when she starts rolling in one long putt after another.

    “You have those times when she’ll hole a couple long putts early, and you just know, it’s going to be one of those days,” Beecher said. “Players look at me like, `Does she ever miss?’ or `How am I going to beat this?’ You see players in awe of it sometimes.”

    Park, 29, won in her second start of 2018, after taking seven months off with a back injury. In six starts this year, she has a victory, two ties for second-place and a tie for third. She ended Shanshan Feng’s 23-week run at No. 1 with a tie for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open last weekend.

    What ought to disturb fellow tour pros is that Park believes her ball striking has been carrying her this year. She’s still waiting for her putter to heat up. She is frustrated with her flat stick, even though she ranks second in putts per greens in regulation this season.

    “Inbee Park is one of the best putters ever,” said LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Haynie, a 42-time LPGA winner. “She’s dangerous on the greens.”

    Haynie said she would rank Park with Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Nancy Lopez as the best putters she ever saw.

    Hall of Famer Joanne Carner says Park is the best putter she has seen since Lopez.

    “I thought Nancy was a great putter,” Carner said. “Inbee is even better.”

    Park uses a left-hand low grip, with a mostly shoulder move and quiet hands.

    Lopez used a conventional grip, interlocking, with her right index finger down the shaft. She had a more handsy stroke than Park.

    Like Lopez, Park prefers a mallet-style putter, and she doesn’t switch putters much. She is currently playing with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. She won the gold medal with it two years ago. She used an Oddysey White Ice Sabertooth winged mallet when she won three majors in a row in 2013.

    Lopez hit the LPGA as a rookie in 1978 with a Ray Cook M1 mallet putter and used it for 20 years. It’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame today.

    “I watch Inbee, and I think, `Wow, that’s how I used to putt,’” Lopez said. “You can see she’s not mechanical at all. So many players today are mechanical. They forget if you just look at the hole and stroke it, you’re going to make more putts.”

    Notably, Park has never had a putting coach, not really. Her husband and swing coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, will look at her stroke when she asks for help.

    “When I’m putting, I’m concentrating on the read and mostly my speed,” Park said. “I don’t think mechanically about my stroke at all, unless I think there’s something wrong with it, and then I’ll have my husband take a look. But, really, I rely on my feel. I don’t think about my stroke when I’m out there playing.”

    Hall of Famer Judy Rankin says Park’s remarkably consistent speed is a key to her putting.

    “Inbee is definitely a feel putter, and her speed is so consistent, all the time,” Rankin said. “You have to assume she’s a great green reader.”

    Beecher says Park’s ability to read greens is a gift. She doesn’t rely on him for that. She reads greens herself.

    “I think what impresses me most is Inbee has a natural stroke,” Beecher said. “There’s nothing too technical. It’s more straight through and straight back, but I think the key element of the stroke is that she keeps the putter so close to the ground, all the time, on the takeaway and the follow-through. It helps with the roll and with consistency.”

    Park said that’s one of her fundamentals.

    “I keep it low, almost like I’m hitting the ground,” Park said. “When I don’t do that, I miss more putts.”

    Beecher believes the real reason Park putts so well is that the putter brought her into the game. It’s how she got started, with her father, Gun Gyu Park, putting the club in her hands as a child. She loved putting on her own.

    “That’s how she fell in love with the game,” Beecher said. “Getting started that way, it’s played a huge role in her career.”

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    Teams announced for NCAA DI women's regionals

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2018, 10:50 pm

    Seventy-two teams and an additional 24 individuals were announced Wednesday as being selected to compete in the NCAA Division I women's regionals, May 7-9.

    Each of the four regional sites will consist of 18 teams and an extra six individual players, whose teams were not selected. The low six teams and low three individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 18-23, hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

    The four regional sites include Don Veller Seminole Golf Course & Club in Tallahassee, Fla., hosted by Florida State; UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas; University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., hosted by the University of Wisconsin; TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., hosted by Stanford University.

    Arkansas, Duke, UCLA and Alabama are the top seeds in their respective regionals. Arizona State, the third seed in the Madison regional, is the women's defending champion. Here's a look at the regional breakdown, along with teams and players:

    Austin Regional Madison Regional San Francisco Regional Tallahassee Regional
    Arkansas Duke UCLA Alabama
    Texas USC Stanford Furman
    Michigan State Arizona State South Carolina Arizona
    Florida Northwestern Kent State Washington
    Auburn Illinois Oklahoma State Wake Forest
    Oklahoma Purdue North Carolina Vanderbilt
    Houston Iowa State Colorado Florida State
    Miami (Fla.) Virginia Louisville Clemson
    Baylor Wisconsin N.C. State Georgia
    Texas A&M Campbell Mississippi Tennessee
    BYU Ohio State Cal UNLV
    East Carolina Notre Dame San Diego State Kennesaw State
    Texas Tech Old Dominion Pepperdine Denver
    Virginia Tech Oregon State Oregon Coastal Carolina
    UTSA Idaho Long Beach State Missouri
    Georgetown Murray State Grand Canyon Charleston
    Houston Baptist North Dakota State Princeton Richmond
    Missouri State IUPUI Farleigh Dickinson Albany
           
    Brigitte Dunne (SMU) Connie Jaffrey (Kansas State) Alivia Brown (Washington State) Hee Ying Loy (E. Tennessee State)
    Xiaolin Tian (Maryland) Pinyada Kuvanun (Toledo) Samantha Hutchinson (Cal-Davis) Claudia De Antonio (LSU)
    Greta Bruner (TCU) Pun Chanachai (New Mexico State) Ingrid Gutierrez (New Mexico) Fernanda Lira (Central Arkansas)
    Katrina Prendergast (Colorado State) Elsa Moberly (Eastern Kentucky) Abegail Arevalo (San Jose State) Emma Svensson (Central Arkansas)
    Ellen Secor (Colorado State) Erin Harper (Indiana) Darian Zachek (New Mexico) Valentina Giraldo (Jacksonville State)
    Faith Summers (SMU) Cara Basso (Penn State) Christine Danielsson (Cal-Davis) Kaeli Jones (UCF)