Thai teen leads Pettersen by one in Hawaii

By Associated PressApril 18, 2013, 12:13 pm

KAPOLEI, Hawaii – Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn shot an 8-under 64 on Wednesday at Ko Olina to take a one-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen and Hee Kyung Seo after the first round of the LPGA Lotte Championship.

The 17-year-old Jutanugarn played the front nine in 6-under 30 in her afternoon round, dropped a stroke on the par-4 10th with her lone bogey, then made a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th and birdied the par-4 15th. She matched the tournament record in the second-year event after only getting into the field Sunday when she won a qualifier.

''I have very good front nine, but I just wanted to make more birdies,'' Jutanugarn said. ''My record is 8 under and I want it to be lower. When I had bogey on 10, I thought I wasn't really confident in my putting. So, when I had eagle, I was more confident.''


Video: LPGA Lotte Championship Round 1 recap


Jutanugarn was in position to win the LPGA Thailand in February, only to collapse on the final hole to hand Inbee Park the title. Jutanugarn closed with a triple bogey to blow a two-stroke lead, missing out on a playoff when she lipped out a 3-foot putt. She rebounded three weeks ago in Morocco, winning the Ladies European Tour's Lalla Meryem Cup for her first professional title.

''I was very confident today,'' she said.

Pettersen had nine birdies and two bogeys in her morning round. The Norwegian is a 10-time winner on the LPGA and won an LET event this year in China.

''I went out today and tried to be really aggressive,'' said Pettersen, coming off a third-place tie two weeks in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. ''My dad was so disappointed after the Kraft that I left all the putts short. He's like, 'You got to hit the ball past the hole to make putts.'''

Pettersen played in a pair of unreleased Nike shoes that she's been testing back home. She got the green light to wear them this week.

''It's a female version of Tiger Woods' shoes,'' Pettersen said. ''I must say I feel the greens a lot better because the foot is sitting a lot better in the shoe.''

Seo, the 2010 Kia Classic winner, had a bogey-free round in the afternoon.

Hyo Joo Kim, the 17-year-old South Korean player who played in a group with Jutanugarn and 15-year-old New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko, matched Danielle Kang with a 66.

Ko had a 71. She won the Canadian Open in August to become the youngest LPGA winner at 15 years, 4 months, 2 days. The South Korea-born Ko has two other pro victories, the New South Wales Open last year and New Zealand Women's Open this year, and won the U.S. Women's Amateur last season.

''It was very fun because everybody is young,'' Jutanugarn said. ''We're friends. I've played with them before.''

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, the winner of consecutive events this year in Singapore and Phoenix, was three strokes back at 67 along with defending champion Ai MiyazatoBeatriz Recari, So Yeon Ryu, Jane Park, Rebecca Lee-Bentram, Jane Rah and Gerina Piller.

Lewis missed the cut last year, the last time she has failed to advance to weekend play.

''I learned a lot from this tournament last year,'' Lewis said. ''I think you learn more from failures than you do from success.''

Recari, playing the back nine first in a group with Pettersen and Angela Stanford, Recari birdied four of the first six holes.

''We teed off at 7:50 and it was already blowing pretty hard, especially on the back nine,'' the Spaniard said. ''Those holes are really open to the ocean. So, I think it was a good challenge out there.

She enjoyed playing alongside Pettersen.

''It's always great to play with her because she's so competitive,'' Recari said. ''It got to the point where we were feeding off each other because we were making birdie, birdie. We were just hitting really good shots into the pin and making some putts.''

Recari won the Kia Classic last month for her second LPGA victory.

''The thing is, when you win, you want to keep winning,'' Recari said. ''I didn't feel like I just wanted to sit back and relax and just kind of cruise. Obviously, you want to put yourself in that position again and, hopefully, get more trophies.''

Lee-Bentram opened with nine straight pars, then birdied five of the next seven holes in her bogey-free round.

''I just told myself to be patient,'' Lee-Bentram said. ''Putts weren't going in on the front nine, but I was making pars. I knew if I kept making pars the birdies would come.''

Jutanugarn's older sister, Moriya, had a 69.

Top-ranked Inbee Park, the Kraft Nabisco winner, was in a group at 70 that included local favorite Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis, playing her second tournament following a bout with malaria. Third-ranked Yani Tseng, winless in more than year, had a 71.

The players, caddies, and staff wore red ribbons to honor victims from the Boston Marathon bombings.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

“This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

“I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

“I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

“We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”