Allenby hopes to put 'nightmare' behind him at Sony

By Doug FergusonJanuary 11, 2016, 10:45 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Robert Allenby returned to paradise with hopes of putting a nightmare behind him.

Allenby has missed the Sony Open only three times in his 17 years on the PGA Tour, and this would have been an acceptable occasion to miss. He went from victim of what he first described as a robbery and kidnapping to the butt of jokes over a bizarre night in Honolulu that left him with a bloodied forehead and no memory of what happened.

So why bother going back?

''I've got so many great memories here that I wasn't going to let one bad one interrupt it,'' he said Sunday night after checking into the Kahala Hotel at Waialae Country Club. ''I also thought for my own well-being that maybe I could come here and face it and put some closure on what happened last year.''

He had dinner at the hotel with friends and already has his dining plans laid out for the week.

''Room service and (hotel) restaurant,'' he said.

The 44-year-old Australian last year missed the cut in the first full-field event of the year, and then went to Amuse Wine Bar with his caddie and a friend. He recalls golf fans recognizing him and wanting a photo. He said police surveillance shows him leaving the restaurant. And that was it.

Whatever happened that night - Allenby says he still doesn't remember anything during a 2 1/2-hour window - it might have gone unnoticed except that Allenby posted a photo his private Facebook page of a bloody scrape on his head and a swollen eye.

Then came the tale of being tossed from the trunk of a car. Allenby said he was told that by a homeless woman who helped him escape from the park after his story was questioned. A homeless man said he saw Allenby pass out and hit his head on a rock.

He was found unconscious about a block from the restaurant.

Golf Channel cited unidentified sources at a strip club that Allenby ran up a $3,400 tab at Club Femme Nu. However, Honolulu Police Det. John McCarthy said the police investigation showed Allenby was never in the strip club.

Allenby believes someone slipped a date-rape drug into his drink at the restaurant when he was taking photos, which he said explains the memory loss.

A month after the incident, police arrested a Hawaii man for using Allenby's credit cards. Owen Harbison was sentenced in August to five years.

Through it all, his reputation didn't help.

He is renowned for a fierce temper on the golf course. Allenby once claimed Anthony Kim was out all night before the final day of the Presidents Cup - after Kim had beaten him badly in singles. He mixed it up with Geoff Ogilvy over who was to blame for a team loss in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne two years later. And he has gone through more than a dozen caddies.

Allenby, however, said he felt as though he went from the victim to the culprit and that it marred the rest of his year.

With 21 victories worldwide - four on the PGA Tour - he made only seven cuts in 29 events and didn't finish in the top 50 on the PGA Tour. He said he has had nightmares of being chased down a street and that he has sought help from a psychologist.

''I needed it to help overcome the stuff I've been dealing with,'' he said.

He is using his one-time exemption from the PGA Tour career money list to play this year, so he could have just as easily started next week in the California desert. Until last week, he thought about skipping the Sony Open.

''I've always enjoyed coming here, and part of me just wanted to face it on the chin,'' he said. ''I didn't want people to think that I wouldn't come back. Not that I care what people think, but I wanted to come back and play well and move forward.''

Allenby remarried in October in Napa, California, the weekend before the Frys.com Open. His wife had work and did not join him on the Honolulu trip.

He has three top-10s in 14 appearances, including a runner-up finish in 2010 when Ryan Palmer beat him with a birdie on the last hole. He has missed the cut four of the last five years, but still considers Waialae a course he plays well.

''I thought long and hard about not coming,'' he said. ''But I said to (wife) Kym, 'I need to go. I want to go.' I love the golf course. The people are always so friendly to me. I know there will be media and all that, but I'm ready to move on with it. I'm not going to let it bother me. The reason I came here was to play and play well.''

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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.

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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.''

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Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

“You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

 “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”