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Park, Lindberg share lead after 36 holes at ANA

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2018, 1:29 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Michelle Wie fought through vertigo, Lexi Thompson battled a balky putter - and Pernilla Lindberg and Sung Hyun Park quietly broke away Friday at the ANA Inspiration.

Park and Lindberg shared the lead at a tournament-record 12-under 132, three strokes ahead of Jessica Korda after two rounds in hot and mostly calm conditions at Mission Hills.

Thompson was 4 under after an even-par 72, undone by a series of short missed putts a year after a rules violation cost her four strokes in regulation in an eventual playoff loss.

''I hit it really well today,'' Thompson said. ''I just struggled on the greens.''

Fighting dizziness caused by a virus, Wie followed her opening 75 with a bogey-free 67 to get to 2 under.

''Saw one golf ball today, which was good,'' Wie said.

With little fanfare five groups in front of the Thompson-Wie morning pairing, the fourth-ranked Park shot a 64 for the best round of the week. The U.S. Women's Open champion played a nine-hole stretch in 7 under. She holed out for eagle from 100 yards on the par-4 15th to cap the run.

''I was super-focused at the U.S. Open, and felt just as focused today,'' the 24-year-old South Korean player said. ''I just felt really good about my driver. The shots fell in just as I wanted.''

Lindberg had a 67 in the final group of the morning session. The 31-year-old Swede had the first-round lead at 65, and was the only player without a bogey the first two days.

''Just not put myself in too much trouble and then my short game and putting have been great,'' Lindberg said. ''I'm just collecting so much experience out here every year, that I'm getting more and more ready just to be in this situation. Every time I'm there, I'm just so much more comfortable.''

She hit inside 2 feet to set up birdies on the par-4 13th and par-4 14th and parred the final four holes. The leaders broke the 36-hole record of 11 under set by Lorena Ochoa in 2006.


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Thompson missed five putts inside 4 feet, four of them to the right side. She three-putted the par-3 fifth and par-4 12th, missing from 4 and 3 feet on 12. She also missed a 4-foot par try on 13.

''That happens. It's golf,'' Thompson said. ''There are going to be good days and bad days. So I just had to stay positive about my ball-striking because that was really good, and I couldn't let that get to me.''

The 2014 champion rebounded to birdie three of the last four , beginning the run with a downhill 12-footer on the par-4 15th. She went right at the back left pin on par-3 17th and got a 4 1/2-footer to fall on the left side, then hit a lob wedge to 4 inches on the par-5 18th.

Wie often sat and rested in the shade in the 90-degree morning heat on the 97-degree day. She walked with a sun umbrella and relied on caddie Matthew Galloway more than usual.

''I just sat down every chance I could,'' Wie said. ''My caddie helped me a lot out there, just getting all the numbers. I asked him to read every putt for me because I just couldn't see everything.''

Wie was stricken Thursday afternoon, leading to two double bogeys and a bogey in a four-hole stretch.

''Yesterday I wasn't prepared for it at all,'' said Wie, the winner four weeks ago in Singapore. ''I felt good, felt good on the range, and all of a sudden I started seeing multiple golf balls, and that scared me a little bit. But today I woke up feeling dizzy. I knew exactly what I was getting into.''

Korda birdied five of the last 10 holes in a 68 to get to 9 under. She won last month in Thailand in her return from reconstructive jaw surgery.

''It all depends on if these putts are going to drop or not,'' Korda said. ''That's the difference out here.''

Jodi Ewart Shadoff (67), Charley Hull (68), Amy Olson (68) and Ayako Uehara(66) were 7 under.

Stanford sophomore Albane Valenzuela was 6 under after a 71.

''I had to kind of save my pars today, but still a good round overall,'' the Swiss Olympian said. ''I put a good fight out there.''

Fellow amateurs Atthaya Thitikul and Rose Zhang also advanced to the weekend.

DIVOTS: Stacy Lewis had a 71 to get to 1 under in her return from a rib injury sustained practicing before the Thailand event. She won in 2011 at Mission Hills and lost a playoff to Brittany Lincicome in 2015. ... Defending champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to just make the cut at 1 over. ... Sydnee Michaels aced the 175-yard eighth hole with a 6-iron. She shot 73 to miss the cut.

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OB tee shot, bunker trouble dooms Rahm to MC

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:24 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The key to surviving Carnoustie is avoiding the bunkers.

Jon Rahm found three bunkers to close out the front nine Friday, the start of a triple bogey-double-bogey run that led to a second-round 78 and missed cut at The Open.

“All of them were as bad a lie as they could have been,” he said. “Besides that, things didn’t happen. I can’t give an explanation, really. I don’t know.”

Rahm’s troubles started on the seventh hole, a par 4 with a steady left-to-right wind. Out of bounds loomed left, and Rahm, who primarily plays a cut shot, hadn’t missed left all week. This time, his ball didn’t curve, and the OB tee shot led to a triple.

“Whenever I start missing shots to the left,” he said, “it’s really hard for me to play.”  

After a career-best fourth-place finish at the Masters, Rahm has now missed the cut in consecutive majors.

“Right now I’m not in any mental state to think about what happened, to be honest,” he said.

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Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

Bernhard Langer did not.

The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

"You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

"I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

"I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.