Pak leads through two rounds of Wegmans LPGA

By Associated PressJune 8, 2012, 11:13 pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – When Se Ri Pak rolled in a par putt on her final hole of the second round at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, she smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

Playing in her first tournament since injuring her left shoulder in early April, the Hall of Famer shot a 1-under 71 on Friday to take a one-shot lead.

'I'm happy to be back in this seat,' Pak said. 'Before I teed off, I knew it was tougher because of the wind. It was very difficult. I tried not to make big mistakes. I'm very happy about the finish. I got a couple of great up and downs.'

Pak was at 3-under 141, one shot ahead of Inbee Park (70), Paula Creamer (72), Mika Miyazato (72), and Sandra Gal (71).


Mell: Locust Hill beating down the field

Video: Round 2 highlights from Locust Hill


Defending champion Yani Tseng followed her opening 76 with a 75 to finish the two rounds at 7-over 151 and barely made the cut in a tournament she dominated a year ago.

'I did my best,' Tseng said. 'I hung in there.'

It was difficult for Pak and everybody else. After reaching 4 under with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17, Pak struggled through the front nine, making bogey at the par-3 seventh when she drove the right rough in front of the green and couldn't get up and down. She did salvage par on four straight holes on the front, though, after some errant shots to stay in front of the pack.

'Right now, I'm still not 100 percent,' said Pak, who often shook her left arm as the day wore on. 'I'm slowly better every day. I know it'll take a little while. I'm just trying to not push myself out there too much. Out of an injury, you don't have high expectations.'

First-round leaders Beatriz Recari, Giulia Sergas and Ryann O'Toole, fell off the pace on a day that a swirling wind added yet another challenge on the narrow Locust Hill Country Club course. Sergas and O'Toole shot 76, and Recari had a 78.

Cristie Kerr, the runaway winner in 2010, was 2 over after a 76. Slumping Michelle Wie missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 82.

For the second straight day, nobody was able to make a charge as a swirling wind added yet another challenge on the narrow Locust Hill Country Club course, forcing players and caddies to drop blades of grass to check the direction of the breeze before nearly every shot on a sunny, warm day.

A day after only 16 players broke par, just 12 did on Friday, and again only three broke 70. Eun-Hee Ji (68) had the lowest round of the two days and was in a six-way tie at 143. Mi Jung Hur and Karin Sjodin each shot 69 as the top of the leaderboard remained a logjam with 24 players within four shots of Pak. The cut was at 7 over, five strokes more than last year when Tseng shot 19 under and won by 10 shots.

Playing in a threesome with Creamer and Stacy Lewis, Tseng birdied No. 1 and seemed ready to make a surge, avoiding the thick rough that has transformed the course into a real challenge for the entire field.

Tseng hit four of her first five fairways and reached six of the first seven greens in regulation. She easily could have made three more birdies but missed short tries at Nos. 3, 4, and 5. Her drive at the par-3 fifth hole landed a foot from the pin and rolled slightly away, and she slid her 5-foot birdie try just past the left lip of the cup after Lewis had made birdie from nearly the same distance.

'I play so good the front nine,' Tseng said. 'Didn't make any putts. It could be so much a better score today.'

The frustration showed, and Tseng's tee shot at the par-4 sixth hole prompted a yell of “Fore!' from the officials as it sailed into the left rough. Tseng salvaged a par but bogeyed No. 7, then rallied with consecutive birdies to reach 2 under at the turn.

Tseng self-destructed on the back nine with five bogeys.

'I was shocked,' Lewis said. 'It's probably the worst I've seen Yani play over two days straight. Usually, if she has a bad day, she bounces back the next day. It wasn't the usual Yani.'

Lewis struggled, too, making four birdies and four bogeys to finish at even par for the second straight day.

'Today, the wind was brutal,' Lewis said. 'Once we hit nine, from then on it was blowing pretty hard. It was really hard, a lot harder than yesterday. In the middle of the back nine, I think I was counting down the number of holes we had left.'

The trio did have a few fleeting moments. All three birdied the par-3 ninth hole, Lewis chipping in from the fringe, and the large gallery following them roared in approval.

The celebration was short-lived. Lewis and Creamer each managed just one birdie and one bogey on the back side and finished the day pretty much where they started.

At least they were in the hunt.

'People knew how hard it was. They were struggling through it with us,' said Lewis, who won two of her previous three starts. 'You miss the fairway by an inch and you have no shot. You're making bogey at best. You have to keep your focus - you're going to make a bogey, you're going to make a bad swing - and just move on. I'm hanging in there.'

When Creamer blasted out of a sand trap at No. 16, sand blew back in her face as she watched her ball roll well past the cup and made bogey. A birdie at the par-5 17th hole left her at even par for the day.

'Where I'm at right now, I feel pretty good,' said Creamer, whose last victory on tour was the 2010 U.S. Women's Open. 'I've played well, I've played solid. I've made my mistakes, but at the same time I'm right in contention. There's a lot of golf left.'

Not for Grace Park. After 13 injury-plagued years on the LPGA, the 33-year-old South Korean announced her retirement.

'This last back nine I think I gave it my all,' said Park, who made the cut and said she planned to finish the tournament. 'I started to get tears in my eyes. It was very emotional.'

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.


Getty Images

Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

Getty Images

McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

Getty Images

Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.