Quad Costs Ochoa Lead at ADT

By Associated PressNovember 15, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Lorena Ochoa was in the lead and hitting her stride Thursday at the ADT Championship until a shocking finish to her round. She hit two balls into the water on the 17th hole for a quadruple bogey that sent her tumbling down the leaderboard.
 
'I was worried I was going to run out of balls,' she said with a laugh.
 
That would have been her only serious concern.
 
All that mattered on the first day of golf's most peculiar tournament was not shooting themselves out of the 32-player event.
 
Christina Kim and Mi Hyun Kim will go in the books as co-leaders after both turned in bogey-free rounds of 5-under 67 on a breezy day at Trump International, one shot ahead of Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer.
 
Ochoa wound up with a 70 and was in seventh place, five shots ahead of the projected cut.
 
The cut will be made to 16 players after Friday and the slate will be wiped clean, so it didn't matter which Kim shot what as long as they finish in the top 16 going into the weekend. After Saturday, the cut will be made to eight players and their scores again erased, leading to an 18-hole shootout Sunday for $1 million, the richest prize in women's golf.
 
Christina Kim, outspoken as ever, spoke for all eight players who managed to break par in the opening round.
 
'To be honest with you, my strategy from the beginning of the week was just try and beat 16 people for the first two days, and try and beat eight people on the third day, and then whatever happens on Sunday happens on Sunday,' she said. 'Right now, I'm sitting in a pretty good position. If nothing more, it's giving me the chance to get a whiff of it ($1 million) because I'm not ... in 32nd position.'
 
Pressure?
 
That belongs to Annika Sorenstam, needing a victory this week to avoid her first winless season since she was a rookie in 1994. She played decently enough, but three balls in the water, all leading only to a bogey, sent her to a 74 and put her in a tie for 14th.
 
The LPGA promotes on its brochure that 'Every Shot Counts,' but that's not really true because the scores will be wiped out after the second and third rounds. But it sure made sense to Reilley Rankin.
 
She was atop the leaderboard at 3 under playing the 12th hole when calamity struck. First it was a tee shot into the woods, then an escape across the fairway, a shot into the bunker, a skulled shot across the green and so deep into the woods she never found it. When she finally got on the green and took two putts, she had a 10.
 
The shaken Rankin followed with consecutive bogeys and wound up a 76, putting her in a tie for 20th.
 
'I got a little flustered after the hole, but I did my best,' Rankin said. 'If I can go out and do the same thing as today and not go into the Twilight Zone, I'll be fine.'
 
U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr hit enough good shots and limited her mistakes to a 69, which left her tied for fifth with Catriona Matthew. It wasn't a perfect round, but Kerr couldn't argue with her position.
 
'You want to shoot low today to leave yourself a cushion,' Kerr said. 'You just want to maintain a stress-free mentality for Friday.'
 
That's why Ochoa didn't seem terribly bothered by her quadruple bogey.
 
She ran off three straight birdies early in the round to get her name on the leaderboard, and made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine to take the outright lead. One of them came on the par-5 15th, when she pulled an 85-yard wedge just over the green and chipped in for birdie.
 
'It made me look good on TV,' said Ochoa, who celebrated her 26th birthday Thursday.
 
The par-3 17th gave her a little too much TV time. First came a 7-wood that didn't ride the right-to-left wind and hopped into the water. She chose 8-iron from the drop area, and it did the same thing. Her third try reached the green, and she two-putted for a 7.
 
'I'm really going to put that behind me,' she said. 'Of course, you want to be at the top because the better you play, the more comfortable you get with this course and the conditions. I'm trying to shoot low. But I'm happy where I am.'
 
Not so happy was Laura Davies, who shot a 79, and Karrie Webb, who shot 42 on the back for a 76.
 
Inkster, who had to endure a playoff to qualify for the weekend last year, kept bogeys off her card in a solid round of 68. It wasn't brilliant, but it was exactly what she needed.
 
'I played very conservative on a lot of the holes because you just don't want to shoot yourself in the foot on the first day,' she said.
 
Sorenstam nearly did just that. Consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes returned her to even par, but she stumbled down the stretch by hitting into the water on the par-5 15th for a bogey, and on the 17th for a bogey, and she dropped a shot on the last hole.
 
The goal Friday is to get a tee time on Saturday.
 
'I'm just going to play well and avoid the water,' Sorenstam said. 'Take three less and I'm 1-under par. It's just very, very close.'
 
If she makes the cut, she essentially will be in a 16-way tie for the lead going into the weekend.
 
If not, she goes home.
 
As much as people ridiculed the PGA Tour for calling the final four weeks of the FedEx Cup the 'playoffs,' there is no mistaking the feeling of playoff atmosphere at Trump.
 
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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.

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    Just like last year, Spieth in desperate need of a spark

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a turnaround. Again.

    Spieth’s playoff victory last year over Daniel Berger, complete with a bunker hole-out and raucous celebration, went down as one of the most electrifying moments of 2017. It also propelled Spieth to some more major glory, as he won The Open in his very next start.

    So it’s easy to forget the state of Spieth’s game when he first stepped foot on the grounds of TPC River Highlands a year ago. Things were, quite plainly, not going well.

    He was struggling on the greens, even going so far as to switch putters at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He then failed to contend at Erin Hills, only netting a T-35 finish thanks to a final-round 69 that came hours before the leaders teed off.

    So here we are again, with Spieth in search of a spark after a series of underwhelming performances that included last week’s effort at Shinnecock Hills, where he bogeyed the last two holes of his second round to miss the cut by a shot. Except this time, the climb back to the top may be even steeper than it was a year ago.

    “I’m not sure where the state of my game is right now,” Spieth said. “If I strike the ball the way I have been this year, then the results are coming. But the last couple weeks I’ve played Muirfield and then the (U.S.) Open, and I hit the ball really poorly and didn’t give myself that many opportunities to let the putter do the work.”

    While many big names play sporadically in the time between the Masters and U.S. Open, Spieth remained as busy as ever thanks to the Tour’s swing through Texas. So even after failing to contend much in the spring outside of a memorable finale in Augusta, and even after struggling for much of his week at TPC Sawgrass, Spieth looked out at his schedule and saw a myriad of possible turning points.

    There was the AT&T Byron Nelson, played in his hometown and at a venue on which he was one of only a handful with any experience (T-21). Then a trip across town to Colonial, where he had beaten all but two players in a three-year stretch (T-32).


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Throw in the missed cuts at Muirfield Village and Shinnecock Hills, and Spieth has made it to the last leg of a six-event stretch that has included only one off week and, to date, zero chances to contend come Sunday.

    “I think here this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” Spieth said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had too much to do from here on.”

    That was certainly the case last week on Long Island, where Spieth’s hopes for a fourth major title evaporated well before course conditions became a focal point over the weekend. He was 4 over through his first two holes and spent much of the next 34 stuck in a fit of frustration. He gave himself a glimmer of hope with four late birdies Friday followed by a pair of bogeys that snuffed it out with equal speed.

    Spieth has continued to preach patience throughout the year, but there’s no getting around some eye-popping stats; he's 188th on Tour this year in strokes gained: putting and 93rd in fairways hit. It can foster a pressure to find a cure-all in any given week, especially given how quickly he got a middling summer back on track last year.

    “It’s something that you fight, sure,” Spieth said. “It’s been that way just about every tournament except Muirfield, because then you go to the U.S. Open and think you don’t even have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament. So as much as that kind of comes into your head, it’s not bothering me this time. I’m going to try and have fun, and make progress.”

    After this week, Spieth will have some down time with family before making the trip overseas to Carnoustie. He plans to have a few private dinners accompanied by the claret jug, one last toast to last year’s success before turning the trophy back over to the R&A.

    But even Spieth admitted that as it pertains to his chances to follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps by successfully defending a major title, he’ll be greatly aided by working his way into the mix this weekend. It represents the last chance in this early-summer swing to get his name back on the leaderboard, an opportunity to light fire to a pedestrian campaign like he did a year ago.

    No pressure.

    “It’s your basic stuff that sometimes gets off, that the harder you try to get them back on sometimes, the worse it gets,” Spieth said. “It can be frustrating, or you can just kind of wait for it to come to you. I think I’m OK with where things are, whether it’s the rest of this year or next year. I feel like there are good scores coming.”

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    Twice winner Kizzire on missing U.S. Open: 'Fuel to my fire'

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 5:59 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Based on recent form, there likely wasn’t a more decorated player watching last week’s U.S. Open from home than Patton Kizzire.

    Kizzire is in the midst of a breakthrough season that has already included two wins: a maiden victory at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November, and a marathon playoff triumph over James Hahn at the Sony Open in January. While those titles got him into the Masters and the PGA Championship, they didn’t mean an exemption to Shinnecock Hills.

    Kizzire got as high as 51st in the world rankings after his win in Honolulu, but his game started to turn shortly thereafter. A T-12 finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship is his lone top-25 finish in 12 starts since his Sony victory, and he missed four straight cuts from the Masters to The Players Championship.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    The U.S. Open grants exemptions to the top 60 in the world at two different cutoff points close to the tournament. But in the midst of a cold streak, Kizzire was 63rd and 65th at each of those deadlines. He attempted to earn a spot at sectional qualifying in Columbus, only to find that his score of 5 under was one shot too many.

    “I guess just adding a little fuel to my fire, adding insult to injury,” Kizzire said. “Just to have narrowly missed several different ways of qualification was disappointing. But I just tried to spin it as a positive. I got two weeks off, and I did watch those guys struggle a little bit. I wasn’t struggling at home, we’ll just say that.”

    Kizzire hopes to put the disappointment behind him this week at the Travelers Championship, where he finished T-53 a year ago. And while his pair of trophies didn’t get him a tee time last week – or guarantee him a berth in The Open next month – they put him in prime position to make the season-ending Tour Championship, which would mean spots in the first three majors of 2019.

    The combination of two recent wins and a ranking outside the top 60 isn’t one that comes up often on Tour, but Kizzire maintains a balanced perspective as he looks to get back to playing the kind of golf that will ensure he doesn’t miss any more majors in the near future.

    “If I would have played better in between the U.S. Open and my last win, I would have gotten in. So my play was the reason I wasn’t in,” Kizzire said. “You certainly could look at it and say, ‘This guy’s got two wins, he should be in.’ But I’m not making too much of it.”

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    Masters, Players and U.S. Open champs grouped at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 5:50 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Fresh off a second straight U.S. Open victory, Brooks Koepka is getting right back to work at the Travelers Championship.

    Koepka has stood by his commitment to tee it up at TPC River Highlands, becoming the first U.S. Open champ to play the following week on the PGA Tour since Justin Rose played the Travelers after his 2013 win at Merion. Koepka will play the first two rounds alongside Masters champ Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, who captured The Players Championship last month.

    Here’s a look at some of the other marquee, early-round groupings for a star-studded field outside Hartford (all times ET):

    7:50 a.m. Thursday, 12:50 p.m. Friday: Jason Day, Xander Schauffele, Daniel Berger

    Day is making his second straight Travelers appearance, having missed the cut both last year in Cromwell and last week at Shinnecock Hills. He’ll be joined by reigning Rookie of the Year Schauffele and Berger, who took home ROY honors in 2015 and last year was on the losing end of Jordan Spieth’s playoff dramatics at this event.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    8 a.m. Thursday, 1 p.m. Friday: Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson

    Koepka is making his third tournament appearance overall, but his first since a T-9 finish in 2016, before he had either of his two U.S. Open trophies. Reed has become a regular at this event and enters off a fourth-place showing on Long Island, while Simpson cruised to victory last month at TPC Sawgrass and tied for 10th last week.


    12:50 p.m. Thursday, 7:50 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Russell Knox

    This was the tournament that turned things around last year for Spieth, who took home the title in his debut thanks to one of the most dramatic shots of the year in a playoff against Berger. He’ll start his title defense alongside a pair of past champs, as Leishman won here for his first Tour title back in 2012 and Knox was a winner two years ago when the tournament was played in August.


    1 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. Friday: Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas

    This group should get plenty of attention in the early rounds, with Thomas entering as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 2 and joined a pair of players who will launch drives all across TPC River Highlands. Watson has feasted on this layout, winning in both 2010 and 2015 among five top-10 finishes, while McIlroy tied for 17th last year in his tournament debut but missed the cut last week at Shinnecock.