Wie goes two and out again

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2010, 3:12 am

2010 U.S. Women

OAKMONT, Pa. – It wouldn’t have been difficult envisioning Michelle Wie, Eun-Hee Ji and Se Ri Pak being grouped together near the top of the U.S. Women’s Open leaderboard not that long ago.

Like, maybe last year.

Instead, none of the three top golfers was within a Pennsylvania Turnpike toll lane’s length of the lead as the second round concluded Saturday and the third round began. That turnpike, by the way, cuts directly through the middle of Oakmont Country Club.

Wie needed 69 putts to get through her two rounds of 82-76-158, putting her 16-over during her worst performance in the tournament. She didn’t come close to reaching the cut line of 10-over 152.

She might have been headed to a higher score in 2007, but withdrew early in the second round while she was 17 over par.

Wie led the U.S. Women’s Open after three rounds at age 15 in 2005 and tied for third a year later, but hasn’t made the cut since then.

She withdrew in ’07, missed the cut in ’08 and failed to qualify last year. Wie also hasn’t placed in the Top 10 in a major since 2006, after doing so in seven of the first 11 majors she played.

Asked to assess her latest U.S. Women’s Open, she said: “Complete fail.” She hasn’t had many grades like that at Stanford, where she has two years remaining.

Pak, the 1998 winner, also missed the cut after going 77-78-155. Ji, last year’s winner at Saucon Valley in eastern Pennsylvania, extended her season-long struggles with a remade swing by barely making the cut at 152.

Obviously, some golfers couldn’t regain their games after play was suspended by rain on Friday.

M.J. Hur, one shot off the lead at 1-under 70 following the first round, ballooned to a 10-over 81. Inbee Park, the youngest winner in tournament history at age 19 in 2008, also had a 70 in the first round only to fall out of contention with a second-round 78.

Five amateurs made the cut. 


A PIRATE, SHE’S NOT:
A blatant ploy to attract spectator support, or merely a merchandising tactic?

Sophie Gustafson wore a Pittsburgh Pirates logo on her cap and shirt as she concluded the second round Saturday, but she probably doesn’t know much about Andrew McCutchen or Evan Meek. She’s also never seen a Pirates game at PNC Park.

Gustafson is from Sweden, but that didn’t prevent Major League Baseball from signing her to an endorsement contract. This weekend, she’s a Pirates fan.

“I’m sponsored by Major League (Baseball), so I wear different teams in different cities,” she said.

She’s had the most success while wearing Giants gear.


NOT PLAYING LIKE A KID: Alexis Thompson, who recently turned pro at age 15, easily made the cut with rounds of 73 and 74, earning her a third-round pairing with Ai Miyazato and Jiyai Shin – the two most recent world-ranked No. 1s until Cristie Kerr moved to the top.

Thompson, who likes being called Lexi, didn’t have to go far to find a caddie. Father Scott Thompson is toting her bag.


QUICK CONVERSION: The USGA hastily shifted tee and pin locations for the third round after beginning the day with them where they were when play was halted Friday. Those locations must stay the same for all golfers in a round, even if that round is played over multiple days.

Some golfers barely left the course from early Saturday morning until early evening. Allison Fouch, for example, played a full 18-hole round Saturday morning after being in the last group to start, then was in the first group to tee off for the third round. 


HEY, YOU AGAIN? Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr were paired together in the third round for the second U.S. Women’s Open in as many years.

Last year, Kerr had a 1-over 72 en route to finishing tied for third, while Creamer played herself out of contention with a 79. She came back with a final round 69, but finished tied for sixth.

 

Getty Images

McIlroy battles back into tie for BMW PGA lead

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

Rory McIlroy got off to a rocky start on Saturday in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, including hitting a spectator and making a double bogey. But after that incident on the sixth hole, he didn't drop another shot, birdieing the final hole to shoot a 1-under 71 and tie for the lead.

McIlroy had gone into Moving Day with a three-shot lead, but Francesco Molinari had the round of the day, a 6-under 66. "It was nice keep a clean scorecard," said Molinari, who hasn't made a bogey since the 10th hole on Friday.


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy and Molinari will be paired in Sunday's final round. They are tied at 13 under par, four shots clear of Ross Fisher, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield and Alexander Noren.

The Wentworth course ends with back-to-back par-5s, and McIlroy birdied both of them. He got a break on the 18th hole as his drive hit a spectator and bounced into light rough.

"It was a struggle out there today," McIlroy said. "I think when you're working on a few things in your swing and the wind is up and you're stuck between trying to play different shots, but also try to play - you know, make good swings at it, I just hit some loose tee balls on the first few holes. But I'm proud of myself. I stayed patient. I actually - I'm feeling a bit better about myself after today than I was even walking off the course yesterday."

Getty Images

Watch: McIlroy hits spectator on hand

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 2:58 pm

We never cease to wonder at how close fans crowd in to the intended line of some shots, and just how skilled Tour players are in not hitting someone.

But every once in a while, golf ball and spectator intersect, with painful results. It happened to Rory McIlroy during the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, after he had hit a wayward drive on the sixth hole. Attempting to hack out his second shot from under a bush, McIlroy struck a female spectator on her right hand. There was no official word on her condition, but she was clearly - and understandably - in pain.

McIlroy went on to make double bogey but was able to put the incident behind him, as he promptly birdied the next hole.

Getty Images

Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

Getty Images

Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''