Palmer leads Nelson; Bradley three off pace in title defense

By Associated PressMay 18, 2012, 12:35 am

IRVING, Texas – Ryan Palmer has been thinking about redemption at the Byron Nelson Championship, and a chance at home to hold up that trophy.

The 2011 Nelson runner-up is off to a good start.

Palmer, who lives in Colleyville not far from the TPC Four Seasons, opened with a 6-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Marc Leishman and Alex Cejka.

Last year, Palmer birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff against Keegan Bradley. Palmer then hit his approach into the greenside water to hand Bradley his first tour title.

''I didn't lose it last year by any means,'' Palmer said. ''But to get back in the same setting with the same people watching, here where I live, and just to have that feeling again, this time be the guy standing with the trophy, that's been my focus.''

Palmer's bogey-free start came on a relatively calm day. With only a light breeze, 85 players were at par or better in the first round on the 7,166-yard course where Palmer and Bradley finished 72 holes last year at 3-under 277.

Coming off his victory at The Players Championship last weekend, Matt Kuchar overcome an opening bogey and was in a group of seven players at 66.

''Coming off momentum, a little tired,'' said Kuchar, No. 5 in the world ranking. ''It was a whole lot of extracurricular activities out of the norm for me, but I feel good about the round.''

Kuchar's approach shot at No. 1 went over the green. He tried to putt it up the hill, but the ball ended up rolling back to his feet, prompting someone in the gallery to say, ''I could have done that.''

When Kuchar tried again, he got the ball within 4 feet for his only bogey. He was under par to stay after birdies at Nos. 3 and 4.

Bradley, who won the PGA Championship three months after the Nelson, was among 13 players who shot 67. His up-and-down round included four bogeys, five birdies and an eagle.

The only other top 10 player this week is 10th-ranked Phil Mickelson. Back at the Nelson for the first time in five years, he had a 70 with two birdies and two bogeys.

''It's a beautiful day, it's warm, not too hot, the greens are in great shape. They're receptive, you can get the ball stopped,'' said Mickelson, the 1996 Nelson champ. ''Really good opportunity to take advantage of the course, and I just didn't.''

The forecast for Friday, and into Saturday, calls for wind steady at 15-20 mph and gusting to 30. That is similar to what happened last year, when scoring conditions quickly got tougher.

''Blow wind, blow! ... Picking up about 12:45 (p.m.) hopefully,'' said Palmer, who plays Friday morning. ''Maybe we can build on (the first round) and set myself up for a big weekend.''

It worked so well last year that Palmer is again letting caddie James Edmondson call all the shots at the Nelson. With input from instructor Randy Smith, Edmondson tells Palmer what and where to it.

They have tried that briefly at other courses without the same kind of success. But the formula works at the Nelson.

''Continuation from last year, that's what's cool,'' Palmer said. ''For some reason, I get in the frame of mind with this golf course and what me and him are doing, and it was the same exact thing. I didn't move until he put the bag down and half of the time he pulled the club out of the bag and handed it to me, I didn't know what the club was.''

Former PGA Tour rookie of the year Leishman had two eagles on the back nine, at the 323-yard 11th hole and the 546-yard 16th.

The 65 was his best of 41 rounds this season and lowest since another 65 in the first of his 84 rounds last year, when he slipped to 65th in the FedEx standings - 45 spots below his standout rookie year of 2009.

''Last year was pretty disappointing. I felt like I got off to a good start and then just about nothing for the rest of the year, really,'' Leishman said. ''It's the first time since I've been a pro that I've struggled for a decent amount of time, just not hitting the ball as well as I would like to, not holing putts. This year, I feel like I'm doing everything a lot better.''

The 28-year-old Australian hit 11 of 14 fairways and needed only 24 putts Thursday.

''It probably took longer than I would have liked to have a good round like this,'' he said.

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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

 

 

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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”