Haas leads DeLaet by 1; Spieth 6 back

By Doug FergusonMarch 12, 2016, 11:06 pm

PALM HARBOR, Fla. - Bill Haas took a swing tip from his father on Tuesday and converted it into a 54-hole lead at the Valspar Championship.

Haas atoned for a three-putt bogey on the 13th by chipping in for birdie from behind the 15th green on his way to a 4-under 67 on Saturday at Innisbrook, giving him a one-shot lead over Graham DeLaet of Canada going into the final round.

Jay Haas, a nine-time PGA Tour winner and the Presidents Cup captain the last two times, had a week off from the PGA Tour Champions and spent three days with his son. It was on the par-5 fifth hole during a practice round that the father suggested Haas use a more abbreviated follow-through on his swing to get his hands moving faster.

It seems to have worked.

On a Copperhead course that has yet to yield a round lower than 66, Haas put together his second straight 67 to reach 8-under 205.

DeLaet, now sporting a beard that would make Old Tom Morris proud, pounded a shot out of the rough and over the water to 3 feet on the par-5 14th for an eagle that shot him up the leaderboard, and he finished with a 68 to get into the last group.


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It's still up in the air on Sunday because of the nature of Innisbrook, which takes shots away more often than it gives up birdies. Six players were within four shots of the lead, and even Jordan Spieth believes he is still in the mix.

Spieth, who opened his title defense with a 76, made the cut with one shot to spare on Friday and moved into a tie for ninth on Saturday with a bogey-free 67 in which he holed a long eagle putt and made a pair of key par saves coming in.

"To think after the first round that I might be able to sleep with a chance to win the golf tournament, I'm very pleased with that," Spieth said.

Charley Hoffman (67) and Ryan Moore (69) were three shots behind.

Charles Howell III holed a bunker shot for birdie on No. 12 only to three-putt from 70 feet on the closing hole for a 70. He was four shots behind, though still has a reasonable chance to win and earn a return to the Masters, which motivates the Augusta, Georgia, native this time of the year.

He was amazed to still be this close to the lead.

"This course continues to surprise me in that it just doesn't give up good scores," Howell said. "What am I? Tied for fifth? I would have thought the lead would be 10 or 12 under, and more than one guy there. But maybe that's just me getting my head beat in."

Steve Stricker, who shared the 36-hole lead with Will MacKenzie, didn't make another birdie after the fifth hole and had to settle for a 72. He also was at4-under 209, along with Patrick Reed (68), whom Spieth beat in a playoff last year at Innisbrook.

In the group with Spieth was Lee McCoy, the Georgia senior who ran off five straight birdies around the turn and was headed for a rare low score at Innisbrook until he put his tee shot in the water on the 16th and took double bogey. He still shot a 66 and was six shots behind, and he gets to play the final round with Spieth.

Spieth is the defending champion. McCoy knows the course even better. He grew up near Innisbrook, describing his house as a par 5 away from the course. He played Saturday with Gary Woodland, and McCoy told him that he was in the gallery when Woodland won five years ago.

They will be chasing Haas, who is coming off a big moment in his career last October when he won the decisive point in the Presidents Cup with his father as captain. It hasn't carried over, at least not yet. Haas has a pair of top-10s this year, though he has not seriously contended.

"Half of it is these guys are really good," Haas said. "I'm trying to beat some really good players and they're beating me right now. I just haven't been sharp. When the Presidents Cup was won, being in the last match and handling some pressure, that was a great stepping stone for me. Hopefully, it will lead to better things. But I've still got to play well tomorrow."

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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

 

 

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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


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Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”