Sorenstam Shares Lead With Saiki at PING
Sorenstam, coming off victories in her first two events of the year, shot a 2-under 70 in cold conditions Friday for a share of the lead with Kim Saiki.
Sorenstam had three birdies and one bogey during a second-round 70 on Friday. Sorenstam won last year with LPGA Tour-record scores of 59 in the second round and 27-under 261 for four rounds. She made two late birdies this time for a 36-hole score of 137 and at least a share of the lead in Phoenix for the fifth consecutive round.
'I'm content with my score, not really with my game,' Sorenstam said. 'I think I drove the ball well. I didn't miss the fairway, but I missed some greens with my irons, which ... I was quite surprised. And I worked on my swing a lot. I couldn't really find the rhythm out there.'
Saiki thrived in the same conditions, firing a 67.
'I feel great,' said Saiki, who went seven months between tournaments after developing medical problems. 'I haven't competed for quite a while.'
Wind was the problem in the first round. In the second, early starters had to contend with unseasonable cold. The start was delayed 20 minutes by frost on the greens, and four players were stranded on the Moon Valley Country Club course by darkness.
A threesome including Jackie Gallagher-Smith, one of five first-round leaders, had two holes to make up Saturday morning before the cut.
Akiko Fukushima was alone at 138 after a 70 that included three straight birdies from Nos. 14-16.
'I had really good concentration today. I didn't worry about results,' she said.
Cristie Kerr and Rachel Teske were two shots back after 69s. Emilee Klein and Kelly Robbins, two other first-day leaders, each carded a 73 to finish at 140.
Karrie Webb, who won the Australian Open on March 3 in her last tournament, was on the cut line at 4-over 148, positioned to make her 48th consecutive cut since Sept. 25, 1999. She improved on Thursday's 77 with a 71.
But Nancy Lopez (149), 1998 Phoenix champion Liselotte Neumann (149), 2000 winner Charlotta Sorenstam (151) and Laura Davies (157) all were getting the weekend off.
Davies, who won four straight titles in Phoenix (1994-97), left herself little room to recover after an opening 81.
Saiki, a non-winner in nine full seasons, took medical leave at the end of July to cure a viral inner-ear infection, spent extra time off the tour to allow ankle and shoulder injuries to heal and didn't get back until the season-opener in Hawaii two weeks ago.
Despite feeling that her game had improved under the tutelage of new teacher Greg Labell, Saiki missed the cut there -- her 13th second-round departure in 16 events since 2000.
'I think it was just because I took such a long break,' she said. 'Quite honestly, I didn't think I would be progressing this quickly.'
She was in rare form this time, coming within one stroke of her career-best round with eight birdies to compensate for bogeys on Nos. 6, 9 and 15.
It took her two holes to respond to the first bogey, but she birdied immediately after each of the next two, reaching 6-under at the 16th hole and sinking one of four birdie putts of more than 12 feet on No. 17.
Sorenstam, who started later, was bothered more by the cold and had a simpler scorecard -- a bogey on the 12th hole after a back-nine start, followed by birdies on the 17th, sixth and eighth.
She saved par at the finish, getting a 55-foot putt from the fringe to stop within four feet of the hole, then glanced at the leaderboard where Saiki's score stood out.
'I'm a leaderboard watcher,' Sorenstam said. 'I mean, I know where I was standing. I try to make birdies on every hole, even if I'm five ahead or five behind. I felt more in the groove on the back nine, kind of slowed down my tempo a little bit, got a little warmer.'
Full-field scores from the PING Banner Health
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”