Pak Pettersen Tied Creamer Just One Back

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Se Ri Pak kept her mistakes to a minimum, finished with a 35-foot birdie putt and now stands one round away from becoming the seventh woman to complete the career Grand Slam.
 
Lorena Ochoa made a whopper of a mistake that might cost her a chance to win her first major and move to No. 1 in the world.
 
The 25-year-old Mexican star whiffed a flop shot on her way to a quadruple bogey on the par-3 17th hole Saturday, leaving Pak and Suzann Pettersen atop the leaderboard at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in a major no one seems to want to win.
 
If Saturday was any indication, the tournament could come down to who doesn't lose it.
 
Pak overcame some short-game gaffes over the closing holes with a birdie putt from the back of the green that dropped on its final turn, leaving her with a 2-under 70 and a chance to capture the last leg of the Grand Slam.
 
Pettersen chipped to 18 inches for tap-in birdie on the 18th for a 71 that allowed her to join Pak at 4-under 212.
 
When a wild day in the desert finally came to a close, the Kraft Nabisco was up for grabs.
 
Paula Creamer had a wedge into the par-5 18th and walked off with a three-putt bogey for a 73 that put her one shot behind along with Meaghan Francella (69). Big-hitting Brittany Lincicome eagled the final hole for a 71 and was another shot behind.
 
But the buzz came from Ochoa, for all the wrong reasons.
 
She was 3 under and one shot behind on the 17th when her 6-iron clipped a tree and her pitch to a back left pin went long into grass so deep she could barely see the ball. Trying to hit a flop shot, the club slid under the ball without moving it. Her fourth shot ran down the ridge some 45 feet away. Three putts later she had a 7 on her card and was no longer in the top 10.
 
Ochoa wound up with a 77 and was five shots behind.
 
'I was one behind, and suddenly I'm way back,' Ochoa said in clipped answers, still seething over her bad fortune. 'I'm OK. I'm happy to be here for tomorrow. I'm glad I'll be playing behind now. I have nothing to lose. Hopefully, I'll put pressure on the leaders.'
 
There was plenty of pressure in the third round, most of that coming from a baked course at Mission Hills that put a high premium on keeping the ball in the short grass.
 
Five players had at least a share of the lead at one point on a blistering hot afternoon.
 
Pak, who has never finished higher than ninth in this major, got to 5 under with an approach that hit the flag and settled 2 feet away on the 13th to take the lead. Then came a couple of bogeys, electing to use putter from short of the green on the 15th, and flubbing a chip over a hump in the fringe on the 17th that made her work for bogey.
 
But she was all smiles leaving the 18th after her big birdie, and knows exactly what is at stake Sunday.
 
'You can't really think of that out,' Pak said. 'There's just so much trouble out there. Even par is a good score.'
 
One advantage for Pak?
 
Of the top 15 players on the leaderboard, she is the only one to have captured a major.
 
'I don't really have much pressure because I've been there a lot of times,' she said.
 
It will be a first for Pettersen, the feisty Norwegian who missed eighth months a few years ago with a back injury. She managed a relatively quiet round, picking up birdies on two par 5s, limiting her mistake to only the 13th hole when it took her four shots to reach the green during some adventures in the high grass.
 
The surprise in many cases is Francella.
 
The only time the 24-year-old rookie had been to Mission Hills was for Q-school, and she wasn't even in the tournament until beating Annika Sorenstam in a playoff in Mexico earlier this month.
 
'Anything that happens after I got in would be a bonus,' she said.
 
She will play in the final group with Pak and Pettersen.
 
Sorenstam, meanwhile, turned into another face in the crowd. After her worst 36-hole start in a major since she was an amateur, the Swede teed off on the back nine, shot 71 and was 10 shots behind.
 
'When you're teeing off on the 10th hole in a major, it doesn't feel like you're in a major anymore,' Sorenstam said. 'I didn't have a single butterfly today. It's not like I'm out there focusing on the score, what it should be and what it is now.'
 
Creamer has never held a 54-hole lead or played in the final group at a major, and it was there for the taking when she had wedge into the par-5 18th. But she went long onto the fringe, blew her putt some 6 feet by the hole and took bogey.
 
Still, she has a great chance -- along with so many others.
 
'The last five groups, there's going to be a lot of us in contention,' she said.
 
Indeed, there were 13 players separated by five shots going into the final round, and Ochoa is one of them. Her hopes are buoyed by last year, when Karrie Webb came from seven shots behind on the final day to win a playoff.
 
'I'm waiting for something special tomorrow,' Ochoa said.
 
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    Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

    By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

    Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

    Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

    He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

    "It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

    "I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

    Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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    Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

    After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

    ''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

    Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

    Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    ''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

    Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

    ''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

    Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

    Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

    Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

    ''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

    Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

    Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

    Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

    ''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

    Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

    The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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    Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

    By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

    Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

    "It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

    "So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

    "I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

    "So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

    "So I know it's right around the corner."

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    Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

    ''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

    Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

    Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

    Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).


    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


    Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

    ''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

    He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

    ''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

    Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

    ''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

    Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

    ''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

    Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

    ''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

    He said his game has long been unpredictable.

    ''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''