Bowie Young leads Pettersen in Bahamas

By Doug FergusonMay 24, 2013, 10:08 pm

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Heather Bowie Young made five straight birdies while hop-scotching across the golf course Friday in the Bahamas LPGA Classic.

Bowie Young made birdies on half of the 12 holes the LPGA set up Friday for a 6-under 39 at the Ocean Club, giving her a one-shot lead in the middle of a long, strange opening round that had no chance of finishing because of a three-hour delay.

''I can remember trying to shoot 39 for nine holes, and that's happened this year,'' Bowie Young said. ''I've shot well over that for nine holes.''

This tournament is different in so many ways.

Severe flooding earlier in the week left much of the course under water. The LPGA decided to use the holes that were available, and two of those holes had to be converted into par 3s because bunkers had caved in from a foot of rain that fell in a five-hour stretch Tuesday night.

The hope was to complete three rounds of 12 holes to make the inaugural event official. On the LPGA, 36 holes have to be completed for it to count. Even with a short course, that goal looked to be in trouble when a large, black cloud moved over the course and rumbled with thunder, leading to the long delay.

The last group was to tee off about 6:30 p.m.

Anna Nordqvist ran off three straight birdies early in her round and closed with a birdie for a 5-under 40, tied with Lisa McCloskey. A half-dozen players at 41 included Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lang.

Nordqvist fared much better than the other two players in her group – Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis, Nos. 1 and 2 in the women's world ranking. Park failed to make a single birdie in her round of 1-over 46. Lewis was going along fine until the par-5 11th, her sixth hole. She pulled her second shot just into a bunker, leaving an awkward third shot from about 50 yards that had to clear another bunker. She clipped it clean, and it sailed over the back of the green and into the water, leading to double bogey.

Lewis birdied her next two holes and had a 1-under 44.

The LPGA signed up Pure Silk and the Bahamas Tourism Ministry as title sponsors and wanted to do all it could to play golf in the first year of this event, even if that meant going to extremes of playing a 12-hole course with the holes out of sequence to help with the flow.

Everyone teed off on No. 10, and then headed to the front nine.

Park was leaving the green when she stopped to make sure she knew where she was going – a 120-yard walk across a waste area to the sixth tee. They played sixth and the seventh, and then headed over to the fourth hole. And that's when it got really crowded.

At one point, there were nine players in a 50-yard radius.

Morgan Pressel was in the second group, which was coming off the third green and headed to the eighth tee.

''We're just going to play through,'' Jacqui Concolino said with a smile to Park, Lewis and Nordqvist. They were walking off the seventh green and headed to No. 4. Juli Inkster, Catriona Matthew and Candie Kung were approaching the seventh green. There was a lot of traffic.

The Lewis trio got into carts, because the tee on par-4 fourth hole was moved to about 130 yards of the green. There was standing water in the fairways - it looked more like small ponds - though the problem was a large bunker right of the green that was unplayable. Tour officials couldn't afford players going into the bunker, and they made the muddy mess easier to avoid by making it a short par 3.

That's what surprised the players the most. Most of them were on board with a 12-hole course – remember, Prestwick was only 12 holes when the British Open was played on the links 15 times back in the day - in an effort to have a tournament. They just didn't realize there would be five par 3s. It felt like an executive course.

What made them unaware was that storms earlier in the week kept some of them from getting in a full practice round.

''Of the 12 holes that we played, I think I had seen seven and I had not seen five,'' Bowie Young said. ''So maybe I shouldn't play practice rounds anymore.''

Laura Davies had a 2-under 43. She was all smiles on her way to the golf course, and full of a few quips.

''This should be a lot of fun,'' Davies said. ''I just hope I don't get disqualified if I can't find my way to the next tee. I'll just walk slow and follow everybody else.''

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is trying to avoid a Monday finish because several players have U.S. Women's Open qualifying early next week.

Getty Images

Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

Getty Images

Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

Getty Images

McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

Getty Images

Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.