Wie, Thompson tied atop Kraft leaderboard

By Associated PressApril 6, 2014, 2:00 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson topped the Kraft Nabisco leaderboard, setting up a possible final-round showdown the LPGA has been waiting for.

The 24-year-old Wie shot a bogey-free 4-under 68 on Saturday to match Thompson at 10-under 206 at Mission Hills in the first major championship of the year.

''I think Lexi is a really entertaining golfer,'' Wie said. ''I like to think I'm somewhat entertaining as well. So, I think the both of us paired together is great. I think it's great for the tour and it's going to be a lot of fun.''

The 19-year-old Thompson settled for a 69 after missing a 3-foot par putt on the par-5 18th. She also missed two short birdie putts on the front nine.

''Not the ending I wanted,'' Thompson said. ''I'm getting looks at birdies and just waiting for a few more to drop.''

Charley Hull, the Englishwoman who turned 18 last month, was two strokes back along with five-time major champion Se Ri Pak. Hull birdied the 18th for a 66, the best round of the day. Pak shot 71.

Both leaders said they were nervous.


Kraft Nabisco Championship: Articles, photos and videos


''I probably won't sleep that well,'' Wie said. ''It's just the chance. You want something so badly. I dreamed about this all my life, so I'm just trying to not think about it so much. I'm just trying to think it's a normal Sunday. ... But I think that's a good thing. It's a sign that I'm really excited and I really want this.''

Thompson agreed.

''I think if you're not nervous, you don't care,'' Thompson said. ''But it's a good nervous. This is what I've been waiting for and what I've worked my whole life for.''

Wie is making her 12th start in the tournament. She was ninth in 2003 at age 13, fourth the following year and tied for third at 16 in 2006. She also was sixth in 2011.

''I just go out there and I think I just really know what I need to do,'' Wie said. ''I think that came with experience of playing so many rounds in my life.''

Wie has two LPGA Tour victories, winning the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and the 2010 Canadian Women's Open. She has been in the top 16 in all five of her starts this year, finishing a season-best fourth in Thailand.

Wie opened with a birdie for the second straight day, making a 20-footer from the front edge. She hit a 9-iron to 12 feet to set up a birdie on the par-4 sixth and knocked a wedge to 5 feet for another birdie on the par-5 ninth. She made a 3-footer for a birdie on the par-5 11th and parred the final seven holes. On 18, she left an 8-foot putt short.

''I'm really happy with my placement,'' Wie said.

Thompson, already a three-time LPGA winner, struggled with her putting after having a great day on the greens Friday in a bogey-free 64.

After two-putting for birdie on the par-5 second hole, she missed a 2 1/2-foot try on the par-4 fourth and a 4-footer on the par-4 seventh.

The long-hitter birdied Nos. 11 and 12, chipping to 1 1/2 feet on 11 and hitting a lob wedge to 4 feet on the par-4 12th. She made a 5-foot birdie putt on the par 4 15th to take the outright lead and parred the next two holes to run her bogey-free streak to 36 holes.

On 18, she drove close the face of a right-side bunker and blasted out, leaving her 145 yards on the water-guarded hole that she would normally reach in two. Her approach went long and right, and her 80-foot birdie putt broke about 15 feet right to left, setting up the short par miss that cost her the outright lead.

''I would say I had a few mis-reads,'' Thompson said.

Hull birdied six of the last holes. She played in the Solheim Cup last year and won her first pro title last month in Morocco.

''I hit it quite well,'' Hull said. ''My irons were pretty good and I hit some good drives. When I got myself in trouble, I was able to get out of it. I'm pretty happy.''

Hull turned 18 on March 20 and could become the youngest major champion in LPGA history. Morgan Pressel set the record at Mission Hills in 2007, winning at 18 years, 10 months, 9 days.

''It would be the best feeling ever,'' Hull said.

Pak birdied the par-4 16th after bogeying three of the first six holes on the back nine. The 36-year-old South Korean player won the last of her five major titles in 2006 and the last of her 25 LPGA victories in 2010.

''There's nothing to complain about it,'' Pak said. ''Of course, I mis-hit it there a little bit, but that will happen on this golf course.''

Getty Images

Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

Getty Images

Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

Getty Images

DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

Getty Images

TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

 


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.