Wie one back of Nordqvist after Round 1 in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 20, 2014, 1:51 pm

PATTAYA, Thailand – Anna Nordqvist holed out from 60 yards for eagle on the par-4 15th hole Thursday and made a short birdie putt on No. 17 to take a one-stroke lead over Michelle Wie after the first round of the LPGA Thailand.

Nordqvist, the 26-year-old Swede who won both of her LPGA titles in 2009, shot a 6-under 66 on Siam Country Club's Pattaya Old Course. She eagled No. 15 after making two straight bogeys.

"Had pretty good yardage and it was on the top tier, so I just pitched it five or six paces behind the pin and spun back," Nordqvist said. "So, obviously, gave me some momentum to finish off. ... I just tried to stay in there after the two bogeys, because I didn't feel like I hit bad shots. I just got flyers out of the rough."

Wie had six birdies and a bogey in her 67.

"I birdied all four of the par 5s today, which definitely helps on this golf course," Wie said.

She said the course favors long hitters.



"It's definitely one of those golf courses," Wie said. "I don't get to use a lot of drivers during the year. This is one of the few golf courses that I get to just hit driver all the time. So it's fun."

Americans Angela Stanford, Lexi Thompson and Jennifer Johnson shot 68. Stanford had a hole-in-one on the 135-yard eighth hole. She used an 8-iron.

"It's kind of hard with hole-in-ones because you do get almost too high and you go to the next tee box and think, 'Oh, I have to hit another golf shot,'" Stanford said. "It's hard because it's like an out-of-body experience. Well, for me, because I haven't had many."

Second-ranked Suzann Pettersen opened with a 69, while top-ranked Inbee Park, the defending champion, had a 71 in her first start of the year.

"I think it was just like I didn't have much feeling that it was a tournament because it has been a while since I played a golf tournament," Park said. "I think I was a little bit nervous."

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis and Karrie Webb, the Australian Women's Open winner last week, also shot 71. Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old New Zealander who turned pro late last year after winning the Canadian Women's Open the last two years, had a 72.

Nordqvist has a new instructor in Jorje Parada and changed equipment during the offseason.

"It felt like at one point last year I was about ready to quit golf," Nordqvist said. "I just kind of lost the reason why I play golf, the fun of it. I have good people around me now. They have been really helping me to get that inspiration back."

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.