Pettersen, Henderson share LPGA Portland lead

By Associated PressJuly 2, 2016, 2:22 am

PORTLAND, Ore. - Defending champion Brooke Henderson and Sweden's Suzann Pettersen shared the lead at 11-under 133 after Friday's second round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic.

Pettersen shot the day's low score with an 8-under 64, while No. 2 Henderson, an 18-year-old Canadian who won her first LPGA Tour event last year in Portland, shot 68 at Columbia Edgewater.

Pettersen and Henderson, who have combined to win three of the past five Portland Classics, led by one stroke over Colombia's Mariajo Uribe, who shot 67.

The No. 18 Pettersen, playing in the morning, had eight birdies on a bogey-free card. Henderson, playing in the afternoon, caught Pettersen when she rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-4, 393-yard 18th.

''I finally had a fantastic putting day today. Finally. It's nice,'' Pettersen said. ''The long game is good. I feel like when I putt well I can put a good score. Today, I felt like I could make anything. That's a nice feel.''

Henderson has shared or held Portland's outright lead the past five rounds, dating back to last year's second round.

''I really like this golf course. I like the Northwest. I've played pretty well on these courses,'' said Henderson, who won the Women's PGA Championship at Sahalee in Sammamish, Washington, three weeks ago.

Pettersen was no surprise on the Portland Classic leaderboard. She has posted top-five finishes in four of her past seven Portland tournaments, winning in 2011 and 2013.

''I just like it here. It's a lot of hard work that is finally starting to come together,'' said Pettersen, who has struggled with back problems and is looking for her first win in 13 months.

Austin Ernst, Pernilla Lindberg and Angela Stanfordwere five shots back at 6-under. Ernst, the 2014 Portland champion, shot 66, while Lindberg had 68 and Stanford a 71.

Lee Lopez (68), Prima Thammaraks (69) andCarlota Ciganda (71) were 5 under. Among a group of seven at 4 under are Kelly Shon, Cheyenne Wood and Jaye Marie Green. Shon made eight birdies on her way to a 66.

Pettersen was bidding to become the tournament's second three-time winner, joining Nancy Lopez, who won in 1985, 1987 and 1992. The Portland Classic is the LPGA Tour's longest-running non-major, now in its 45th year.

Pettersen collected her birdies in bunches. Starting on the back nine, she made four consecutive on holes No. 12-15. Pettersen finished strong, making birdies on three of her final four holes, closing with a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-4, 410-yard ninth.

Pettersen thought the difference between Thursday's 69 and her second-round 64 might have been playing in the morning.

''Obviously there are certain courses you play well, but you can't take anything for granted out here,'' Pettersen said. ''I sure did find some magic on the greens today. I felt like I played great yesterday. I tried to take advantage of the little softer greens this morning and little purer greens as well.''

Pettersen took 24 putts, which she said ''for me, that's record breaking.''

Henderson, who had five birdies and a bogey, thought she got the most out of her round.

''I didn't hit the ball as solidly as I'm used to. On this course you kind of need to hit fairways and you need to hit greens. For the way I struck the ball, I scored extremely well,'' Henderson said.

Henderson did most of her damage on the par-5s, making birdies on all four. But perhaps the best shot of Henderson's round came at the par-4, 393-yard 18th, where she hit her drive under a tree. With a greenside lake directly between her ball and the hole, Henderson blasted a low-running 6-iron from about 165 yards to within 10 feet, then made the birdie putt.

''That was definitely the high point of today's round,'' Henderson said.

Henderson, who earned her LPGA card shortly after winning at Portland last year, plays in Pettersen's group Saturday, just the second time the two have been paired.

''Along with Morgan Pressel, she was the one I really looked up to growing up and kind of wanted to be like,'' Henderson said.

Christina Kim shot 66 to finish at 3 under, a group also included Vicky Hurst (71), Chella Choi (71) and Lee-Anne Pace (72).

No. 9 Stacy Lewis was 2 under after a 70. American Morgan Pressel shot 71 to finish at 1 under.

Among those who didn't make the cut at 1 over were Americans Cristie Kerr, Lizette Salas and Marina Alex.

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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

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McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.