Three tied for LPGA lead; Creamer, Kerr one back

By Associated PressJune 8, 2012, 12:05 am

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Yani Tseng isn't accustomed to this: 4-over par in an LPGA Tour major.

Luckily for the 23-year-old Taiwanese star, the winner of five majors already, there are three rounds to play on a course she dominated a year ago.

Tseng is chasing a trio of unlikely leaders in Beatriz Recari, Ryann O'Toole, and Giulia Sergas, who each shot 3-under 69 on Thursday to tie after the opening round of the LPGA Championship.

Despite matching her worst score of the year at 76, Tseng, the top women's player in the world, was only seven shots off the lead after a round that included six bogeys and only two birdies.

'I just couldn't hit a shot, couldn't hit on the green, couldn't hit on the fairway,' Tseng said. 'It was really tough for me out there. I was very disappointed. I love the golf course and I know I can have a low score here.'

She did just that a year ago, shooting 19 under and winning by 10 shots. Duplicating the feat will be a challenge if she doesn't snap out of her recent slump. In the Sybase Match Play Championship, she was knocked out in the round of 16, and last week tied for 12th at the ShopRite LPGA Classic – nine strokes behind winner Stacy Lewis.

'I know it's my mental problem,' said Tseng, who won three of the first five tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year. 'I'm hitting so well on the driving range, and when I get on the first tee there's something wrong. I need to get my mental setup like before at the beginning of this year.'

The second major of the season was shaping up as a tight affair. Only 16 players broke par on a sun-splashed day that had only the hint of a breeze, and there was a virtual logjam behind the leaders.

Jeong Jang reached 5 under but bogeyed four of her final five holes to finish in a tie at 70 with Mika Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Na Yeon Choi, Ai Miyazato, and Paula Creamer. Lewis, who has won two of her last three starts, had a 72.

Michelle Wie, trying to break out of a season-long slump, opened with a 74.

Hitting it straight off the tee is always critical on the narrow Locust Hill Country Club course, especially this year because the rough is measurably more difficult than it's been in the past.

'It's just gobbling up the golf balls,' said Kerr, the winner by a record 12 strokes in 2010. 'Even with sand wedges, it's a lot tougher.'

Tseng, who started at No. 10, had three bogeys on the difficult back nine, managing to hit just two fairways before making the turn.

One of Tseng's birdies came at the par-4 third hole, but she gave it right back at No. 5, an uphill par 3. Lewis made a tap-in birdie after a brilliant tee shot and Creamer settled for par after lipping out a long birdie try, but Tseng's tee shot had sailed well past the pin and she three-putted for bogey after leaving her initial putt well short of the hole.

Tseng hit six of 14 fairways and needed 30 putts.

'I didn't play well. The course is pretty easy out there with no wind,' Tseng said. 'It was really tough. I didn't make putts. If you can't hit it on the fairway on this course, it's kind of tough to hit a low score. I was very surprised the scores didn't go very low today, so at least I have a little chance to get it back tomorrow.'

Recari, from Spain, bogeyed No. 11, her second hole, made great par saves at the next two holes, then rolled in three straight birdies to make the turn at 2 under.

'It definitely feels great. It feels almost relieving because I have been playing really well for a long time,' Recari said. 'The scores didn't happen the way I wanted. I would sum up the round as very confident off the tee. I had a great feeling on the greens. I was just seeing the line, putting a good stroke and most of them dropped in.'

Kerr had four birdies on the front nine, using her 7-iron to set up three of them. After driving into the rough at the par-5 fourth hole, she hit to 8 feet and made birdie, then sank a 3-foot putt for birdie at No. 5 and made the turn at 3 under after a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 9.

Three bogeys, the last at the par-5 17th hole after she hooked her second shot under a tree in the rough, put something of a damper on her round. Kerr was pleased with the result, nonetheless.

'I just managed well. I ended up being patient, and I'm happy with that,' said Kerr, who finished her round with a nifty chip for a par save. 'If I got in trouble, I played smart, which is what you have to do.'

Pak, sidelined since early April with a slight tear in the labrum of her left shoulder, bogeyed Nos. 3 and 6 to start, then reeled off three straight birdies to start the back nine and move up the leaderboard.

'I feel great to be back,' Pak said. 'I never expected it would be a solid round today. I'm trying to get the feel for it. Low expectations help a lot. Even though I feel 100 percent perfect, you never know.'

Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods and playing on a sponsor's exemption, shot a 3-over 75 in her first event as a professional. Woods, who played here as an amateur in 2009, also qualified last week for the U.S. Women's Open and was beaming despite an erratic round.

'I've been waiting, waiting for this moment. I couldn't wait to get out here,' said Woods, who had three birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey. 'I was a little nervous starting off, but it felt good to be out there and finally playing.

'I'm pretty happy with how I played. I had a few blips. There's a lot more eyes on me right now, but I've been having to deal with media for a long time having the last name of Woods. It's nothing I'm not used to.'

Kerr also shot 19 under in her blowout victory in 2010. After one round and with that thick rough beckoning at every turn, another runaway didn't seem so likely.

'It's a lot tougher,' she said.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.


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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

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Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.