Tryon eager to make comeback starting at US Open

By Associated PressJune 16, 2010, 3:34 am

2010 U.S. OpenPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Ty Tryon chipped high over the green, sent several hard shots well past the pin and left a few short.

He was all over the place on No. 14 during a practice round Tuesday at Pebble Beach Golf Links, considered among the toughest holes at this U.S. Open.

“That’s a crazy one,” Tryon said several hours later, once done for the day. “I was fairly perplexed there for a minute. Hopefully, I’m not back behind the green there.”

That image, of balls spraying every which way, provided a fitting picture of Tryon’s up-and-down golf career.

The former teen phenom who turned pro at 16, flopped and lost his PGA Tour card is ready to soak in the experience of his first major, finally at age 26 and after quite a road – including a cross country drive to the Northern California coast after qualifying – to get here.

This is the start of what Tryon hopes is a successful comeback.

“I believe this is a good chance,” he said. “A lot of things can fall into place if you play well here.”

He is good-naturedly accepting the added attention this week, knowing his return to golf’s big stage provides a feel-good story for the tournament. Still, he knows he needs to bring his best game to compete here.

“That’s all I can do,” Tryon said. “I’m embracing whatever’s coming my way. I realize it’s an interesting story, but when it’s time to play golf I have to play the best I can play. I don’t have to worry about it being any bigger. It can’t be any bigger than the U.S. Open, and this is the biggest tournament I’ve played.”

Tryon spent a little extra time trying to figure out the tricky par-5, 580-yard 14th – Pebble’s longest hole.

“That’s real tough, toughest hole on the course,” his caddie, local Pebble looper Bob “Rocket” Lytle, said. “A lot of extra practice there.”

Tryon’s tee shot on the 15th landed in the first cut of the rough just off the fairway and some 30 yards short of the lies by playing partners Marc Leishman and Dan McCarthy.

After his trouble on 14, Tryon settled down and finished strong the rest of his round. He only played nine holes because his partners decided to stop at that point on a day when play was slow and the conditions were chilly and challenging.

So, Tryon instead headed for the driving range for a long hitting session and then to get himself a backup set of wedges and a new 3-wood.

Little fazes Tryon these days. He’s seen it all in this game.

“I’m glad to be in a good frame of mind,” Tryon said. “Yesterday, if I’d hit those bad shots, I would have been frustrated. Bad things are going to happen. You’ve just got to deal with them. There have been a couple of quintuple-bogeys on the PGA Tour this year. I hope I get through (14) unscathed.

“I had a really good practice. A couple spots out there are really difficult. It’s the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, a couple spots are impossible. I haven’t played an event in six years that has that much green sloping difficulty.”

Tryon has come a long way since those early days as a teen prodigy with a hefty Callaway endorsement deal, when he earned his card at Q-school while still in high school. He’s married to wife Hanna and they have a 3-year-old son, Tyson.

No sponsorships now, though he still plays with the Callaway equipment he prefers.

During the Open practice rounds, Hanna is right there alongside her husband near the tee box or green to watch every shot, then walks with him down the fairway to retrieve his ball.

They sported nearly identical black windbreaker sweat suits on a cool, breezy morning by the ocean Tuesday. Tryon’s spiky brown hair stood up through his black visor, and dark shades covered his eyes for much of his round even with the gray skies.

The couple’s son passed the time at the Pebble Beach daycare.

“It’s very emotional. I wasn’t with him when he was very young and successful,” Hanna said. “All the strides he’s made are amazing. It’s surreal. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride – a lot of ups and downs. We never know what the next day will bring and just take it as it comes.”

Hanna described her husband as “very relaxed and upbeat” as he prepares for Thursday’s opening round.

Leaning on a club, he playfully pushed Lytle’s right shoulder while waiting his turn at the 17th tee – then took more than a dozen practice swings before hitting for real.

“Down, down,” he yelled at his ball.

Tryon had what seemed to be unlimited potential a decade ago when he burst on the scene, making the cut in two PGA Tour events at age 16.

Early on, big galleries followed his every move. At the Honda Classic in March 2001, at 16 he became the youngest player in 44 years to make a cut in a tour event. Playing professional golf was all he dreamed about.

By 2003, he missed the cut in 17 of 21 events. He wasn’t any better on the Nationwide Tour the next year, failing to make the cut in 16 of 22 tournaments. Tryon has been bouncing in and out of the minor tours trying to work his way back to his former form.

A 10th-place tie at Bay Hill in March 2003 is his best finish.

Tryon shot a 138 in his sectional qualifier to get here, then drove from Maryland to Pebble Beach.

“I was playing a sectional outside of Washington, D.C., and I was planning on going back home to Orlando and then find a flight later in the week,” Tryon said. “I hadn’t told my wife, but I woke up about 6 a.m., and I’m like, ‘Are you ready?’ When we were heading out to the highway, I went northwest and I’m like, ‘No, we’re going to go.”

His supporting cast plans to enjoy this picturesque setting right along with the golf.

“It’s just a very exciting time for us as a family,” Hanna Tryon said. “I really couldn’t be more happy for him. He’s persevered and been through a lot. He’s come back from a lot. For him to be here is quite an achievement.”

If Tryon has his way, it won’t stop at Pebble Beach.

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Runner-up McIlroy: 'I should have closed it out'

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 5:18 pm

After taking the 36-hole lead by three and taking a share of the 54-hole lead into the final round, Rory McIlroy failed to keep pace with Francesco Molinari on Sunday at the BMW PGA Championship.

Struggling with a two-way miss throughout the weekend, McIlroy fell four down to Molinari through 10 holes.

The Ulsterman attempted to mount a late charge, with birdies at 12 and 17, but when his eagle putt at the 72nd hole came up inches short, and when Molinari's ball opted not to spin back into the water, the comeback bid came to an end.

His final round of 2-under 70 left him in solo second, two shots behind the champion.

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

"I’m just disappointed I didn’t play better over the weekend," McIlroy said. "I was in a great position after two days and struggled yesterday and sort struggled today again, as well. I just couldn’t get it going. I let Francesco get a few shots ahead of me, and I couldn’t claw that back.

“I played some good golf coming down the back nine, hit some better shots, but I need to work on a few things going forward."

McIlroy ended an 18-month worldwide winless drought earlier this year with his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational but hasn't claimed victory on the European Tour in two years, since the Irish Open in May of 2016.

"I get a bit down on myself because my expectations are high, and with a 36-hole lead, I should have closed it out this week," McIlroy said. "But that’s not taking anything away from Francesco. He played a great weekend and bogey-free around here is some playing. He deserved the win, I need to do a little more work, and I’m looking to forward to getting right back at it at Memorial next week."

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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Francesco Molinari's path to the biggest win of his career at the BMW PGA Championship was drama-free until he sized up his approach to the 72nd hole.

Rory McIlroy, his closest rival three strokes back, had just hit to 20 feet to set up an eagle chance. Molinari was between clubs for his third shot and faced a delicate wedge over the water protecting Wentworth's pretty 18th green.

His ball landed short of the pin and span back toward the water. The spectators held their collective breath - so did Molinari - but it came to rest on the fringe, just short of trouble.

''Just a bit of luck at the right time,'' Molinari said, with a smile.

After McIlroy came up inches short with his eagle putt, Molinari rolled in for par from 6 feet for a 4-under 68 that secured a two-stroke victory at Wentworth on Sunday. It was the fifth win of his career, and his most satisfying.

''If I could pick one tournament to win in my career, it would be this one,'' the Italian said at the prizegiving ceremony.

A Sunday shootout between Molinari and McIlroy at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

They entered the final round tied for the lead on 13 under but while McIlroy sprayed his drives left and right, Molinari was the model of consistency and established a three-shot cushion by the turn after birdies at Nos. 3, 4 and 8.

From there on, it was a clinic in front-running from Molinari, who laid up when he needed to and picked up his only shot on the back nine with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 12th.

McIlroy birdied the par 5s at Nos. 17 and 18 but mounted his victory charge too late.

''I didn't feel intimidated at all,'' Molinari said of his head-to-head with the former world No. 1. ''It's just the last couple of holes, he's basically thinking eagle, eagle. I'm thinking par, par, and that makes the whole difference.

''Sometimes I just get too drawn on what the other guy is doing, and I was really good today, hitting good shots and focusing on my process and not worrying about anything else.''

Molinari played his final 44 holes bogey-free. He only dropped two shots all week, one of them coming on his first hole.

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

He will likely climb into the world's top 20 on Monday and has moved into the automatic qualifying places for the European team for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''

''I'm playing well enough that I shouldn't really worry too much about that,'' Molinari said. ''I should just keep doing my own thing and hopefully things will take care of themselves.''

Molinari previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Alex Noren last year.

On that occasion, Noren closed with a 10-under 62 and the Swede embarked on another last-day charge 12 months later, a fifth birdie of the day at No. 12 briefly drawing him to within two shots of Molinari.

It was the closest he came, with a bogey at the next virtually ending his bid for victory.

With a 67, Noren was tied for third with Lucas Bjerregaard (65), a stroke back from McIlroy.

McIlroy, the 2014 winner at Wentworth, played what he described as one of his best rounds of 2018 on Friday, a bogey-free 65 that left him with a three-shot lead.

He struggled off the tee in shooting 71 on Saturday and started the final round with errant drives on Nos. 1 and 3 (both right, into spectators) and No. 4 (left). After a bogey at No. 10, he was the only player in the top 10 over par but he birdied the three par 5s coming home to salvage what was otherwise a disappointing Sunday.

''With a 36-hole lead,'' McIlroy said, ''I should have closed it out this week.''

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”