Strong start for Ochoa at Kingsmill

By Associated PressMay 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LPGA Tour _newWILLIAMSBURG, Va. ' A week off did nothing to slow Lorena Ochoa down, and a month away from the game found Lindsey Wright in the same groove she was in before a vacation.
 
Ochoa picked up where she left off in winning two weeks ago in her native Mexico with eight birdies against one bogey Thursday. Her 7-under 64 gave her a one-shot lead over Wright after the first round of the Michelob Ultra Open.
 
2009 Michelob
Lorena Ochoa had eight birdies on the day. (Getty Images)
This is only the start, said Ochoa, a three-time runner-up in the event. We have three more days. One at a time.
 
Wright, a non-winner in five seasons, hadnt played since finishing fourth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the seasons first major in the first week in April, but was bogey-free on the soggy 6,315-yard River Course at Kingsmill that has received rain for several days.
 
Hee-Won Han, Sarah Lee and Minea Blomqvist shot 66s to share third place, Seon Hwa Lee, Na Yeon Choi and Amy Yang had 67s and 2007 champion Suzann Pettersen was among seven at 68.
 
In all, 45 of 144 players took advantage of the soft greens and broke par.
 
Other notables making a run at the leaderboard included 2005 winner Cristie Kerr, who got to 4 under but then stumbled to finish at 2 under; rookie Vicky Hurst, who got to 4 under but gave two shots back on her last four holes; and another rookie, Michelle Wie, who got to 3 under after her first 12 holes, but had two bogeys coming in to finish six shots back.
 
The rainy start and sometimes gusting wind seemed to be of little consequence to Ochoa, the worlds top-ranked player. She made three birdie putts of 17 feet or longer while working on her putting alignment and said shes starting to feel more comfortable on the greens.
 
That was a big change for me because I didnt feel comfortable aiming to the hole, Ochoa said of her old putting style, which had her coming across the ball instead of hitting it head on. It didnt feel right in the beginning, but now Im seeing a lot of good results.
 
She finished with a flourish, hitting a booming drive on the 382-yard, par-14 18th that left her with about 100 yards to the flagstick, and then an approach to about 12 feet.
 
Wright was spectacular early ' she chipped in from the back fringe from 25 feet and made two 20-footers for birdies on her first nine, and later made three birdie putts inside 5 feet.
 
Not bad considering she started the day feeling dodgy and out of sorts with a new caddy, was in and out of her rain gear several times and still posted her best round this year.
 
I hate to say it, but I will say it because its not everyday you get to say, `I had an easy 6 under, Wright said, laughing. Her best of 22 previous rounds this year was 69 twice.
 
She practiced sparingly during her break, Wright said, but a workout routine that she started last year to help her work through shoulder injuries has helped immeasurably.
 
I think it just affects every aspect, she said. It really does boost you up a bit.
 
Makable missed putts, on the other hand, can drag a player down, and Seon Hwa Lee said she missed three from about 10 feet, but still came away smiling after her bogey-free 67.
 
She started her round by hitting her approach on the par-4 10th to inches away for a tap-in birdie, added three more birdies from no further away than 12 feet away and knew she could have gone much lower had she not made par at all three par 5s, typical scoring holes.
 
I think tomorrow Ill be better, she said.
 
It will have to be better for a few former champions to stick around past Friday.
 
Se Ri Pak, the 2004 winner, had four bogeys and no birdies in opening with a 75 and Karrie Webb, who won by seven shots here two years ago, had only one birdie in a 74.
 
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    DJ triples last hole, opens with 76 at Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 6:18 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Dustin Johnson’s chances of winning The Open are likely already over.

    The world No. 1 hit his tee shot out of bounds on 18 on his way to a triple bogey, capping a miserable day that left him with a 5-over 76, 10 shots off the lead and in danger of missing the cut.

    Johnson didn’t talk to reporters afterward, but there wasn’t much to discuss.

    He didn’t make a birdie until the par-5 14th, bogeyed 16 and then made 7 on Carnoustie's home hole when his tee shot caromed out of bounds left.

    Johnson has missed the cut only once in nine previous appearances at The Open – in his first try in 2009.

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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”