Spieth shares first-round lead at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 22, 2015, 1:40 am

FORT WORTH, Texas - Masters champion Jordan Spieth got his homecoming off to a leading start with a birdie before dark.

Spieth made a 20-foot putt from just off the fringe on the final hole for a 6-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead Thursday in the rain-delayed Colonial.

''I had a few of those on the back nine, a few good looks where I knew what the putt was doing, I just didn't match the line and speed right,'' Spieth said. ''I was getting a little frustrated through 17 there. I was like just one more look. ... I didn't really count (18) as a look, but maybe more like luck, and we'll take it.''

The closing birdie, just after 8 p.m., tied Spieth with Kevin Na, Boo Weekley and Ryo Ishikawa.

There was a huge roar at No. 1 when Spieth teed off in the first of consecutive events at home in North Texas since becoming a major champion. The Dallas player's approach at No. 18 landed just off the back right edge of the green surrounded by family, friends and plenty of fans.

''I was little frustrated to see where my ball went, but I was still was able to soak in kind of the welcoming to the 18th green,'' he said. ''I'm sure it will continue to grow.''


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Spieth opened his bogey-free round with a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 1, then started the back nine with a 22-footer at No. 10. He had a great chance for another birdie on the par-3 16th, but a tricky 4-foot try slid by the hole.

Ishikawa, the 23-year-old from Japan, and 2013 Colonial champion Weekley also were without a bogey.

Na, whose only bogey came at No. 18 to close his first nine, curled up in a corner of the locker room and took a nap when tee times for the morning groups like his were pushed back three hours after more than an inch of rain fell overnight at Hogan's Alley.

''Pulled off a little veteran move, took about an hour nap,'' said Na, who grabbed a few extra towels, making one into a pillow, using another for a blanket and throwing another over his head. ''So I felt great when I woke up.''

Na originally woke up at 5 a.m. for a scheduled 7:22 a.m. tee time.

The afternoon groups started 2 hours, 40 minutes later than scheduled, but all 122 players managed to finish before dark.

George McNeill and Ian Poulter, who shared the lead before his only bogey at No. 18, were a shot back after shooting 65.

A group of nine players carded 66s on a day when players were able to lift, clean and place their golf balls hit in the fairways.

''We couldn't have had better scoring conditions today. Just the wind died down, and you could just throw darts, and they were landing and stopping,'' Spieth said. ''I'd like to play golf in this weather the rest of my life.''

After the rain, it was an unseasonably cool with temperatures only in the mid-60s. The forecast is for warmer temperatures but more rain through the weekend.

Defending champion Adam Scott had a 72 that included three bogeys and a double bogey. He is No. 11 in the world and hasn't won since Colonial last year in his first week after becoming the top-ranked player.

Weekley, whose last PGA Tour win was at Colonial, woke up with a stiff back Wednesday that was still bothering him when he finally teed off Thursday.

''We just tried to manage it knowing that we couldn't hit the full shots, so we went down a club and felt like we just punched it around the golf course,'' he said. ''And I made some putts. Made a lot of putts actually.''

His 27 putts were a collective distance of 151 feet, 9 inches, Weekley's fourth-best putting round on the PGA Tour. He made all 12 of his putts from inside 10 feet, but called a 15-foot par-saver at the par-3 13th one of the key moments in his round.

''I kind of chili-whomped it out there to the right side of the green,'' he said. ''Nine times out of 10 that ball goes in the water, but somehow it hung up and I hit a bad chip there.''

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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.”


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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.”