Stanford leads LPGA Founders Cup

By Associated PressMarch 20, 2011, 5:54 am

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup

PHOENIX – Angela Stanford plays for keeps no matter the stakes.

“I play with the guys at Shady Oaks in the 1 o’clock and I’m out there trying to beat them – and they’re out there to enjoy the weekend,” the 33-year-old Texan said Saturday after opening a three-stroke lead in the play-for-free LPGA Founders Cup.

“It always matters to me.”

Instead of paying the players, the tournament honoring the 13 tour founders is donating $1 million to charity – half to The LPGA Foundation and its LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program and half to the top 10 finishers’ designated charities.

Stanford is playing for her own foundation.

“I don’t care if it’s for money,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s for money for my charity or for the LPGA Foundation. I don’t care what’s it’s for. If you tell me it’s official and I have a chance to compete to win something, I’m going to show up.”

Her foundation provides scholarships for children from families affected by cancer. The winner will receive $200,000 to donate.

“It would do wonders for my foundation,” said Stanford, a four-time winner in 10 full seasons on the tour. “We could help a lot of kids a lot faster than I thought we would. There’s a lot on the line in that respect.”

She shot her second straight 6-under 66, playing in the morning before the wind picked up a bit on the partly cloudy, 80-degree day at Desert Ridge.

“Surprised, to be perfectly honest,” Stanford said about her low score. “I didn’t feel quite right this morning. I had kind of a weird warmup session.”

Long-hitting Brittany Lincicome was second. She followed her opening 67 with a 68, holing an 8-foot par putt on No. 18 just before dark.

“I just putted lights out,” said Lincicome, Stanford’s U.S. Solheim Cup teammate. “My driver let me down today, but my putter saved me.”

The three-time tour winner was frustrated by the pace of play in the round that took about 5 1/2 hours to finish.

“I’ve never waited that much in my life,” she said. “We waited about 20 minutes on every tee shot.”

Mindy Kim was third at 8 under after a 67. She birdied the first five holes.

Cristie Kerr, also a U.S. Solheim Cup player, was another stroke back after a 68. She rallied to beat Stanford twice in 2006, overcoming a four-stroke deficit in the final round in Tennessee and an eight-stroke margin in the Canadian Women’s Open.

“Anything can happen on Sunday,” Kerr said. “It’s a different feel when you’re playing in the last group, especially with the lead, because you tighten up and try to protect it. And I can stick with my game plan. It depends on the pins and the conditions tomorrow, but sure anything five and in is doable.”

In 2006 at London Hunt in Ontario, Kerr closed with a 7-under 65, while Stanford bogeyed the final two holes – three-putting the last – for a 74. Stanford began that round with a four-stroke lead over Meena Lee.

“I learned a lot in those two losses. People say you learn more in a loss than a victory,” Stanford said. “Not that I played scared, but if there was pin tucked left, the first day you’re probably going at it. Well, if you have a five-, six- or seven-shot lead on the final day, you may go at the middle of the green. For me, I learned that when I did that, it wasn’t very successful.

“I learned that I have to keep hitting golf shots. You can’t just say, `I’m going to go out and make 18 pars and hope I win.’ I think I was still maturing as a player at the time and I didn’t know what it took to win.”

While many players struggled to adjust for their approach shots releasing on the firm greens, Stanford is right at home on the sun-baked layout. She grew up near Fort Worth, played at TCU and still lives in the area.

“Fortunately for me, I’ve always played release,” Stanford said. “I’m not one that spins the ball a whole lot. So, it doesn’t bother me if it releases 5 or 25 feet. I think for me that’s good because I expect it already. … I’ve seen it my whole life.”

Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, the winner three weeks ago in Singapore, shot a 67 in the afternoon to match Seon Hwa Lee (69) and Mina Harigae (70) at 6 under. Webb won the last Phoenix event in 2009 at Papago and also won in 1999 at Moon Valley.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng, the winner of the season-opening LPGA Thailand and three other worldwide events this year, had her second straight 73 to make the cut by a stroke at 2 over. No. 2 Jiyai Shin was 2 under after a 70.

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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

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First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.