Laird grabs Barclays lead Woods well off pace

By Doug FergusonAugust 29, 2010, 2:14 am

the Barclays Logo 2007PARAMUS, N.J. – Martin Laird suspected that four straight birdies early in the round and no bogeys had put him in the lead Saturday at The Barclays. When he finally glanced at a leaderboard, it gave him quite a jolt.

And it had nothing to do with the size of his three-shot lead.

The board occasionally shows the projected FedEx Cup standings. Laird, who started these playoffs at No. 95 and was hopeful of reaching the second round, saw his name at No. 1.

“I didn’t think I’d come in here and move that much,” Laird said after his 6-under 65. “I caught a glimpse of the projected FedEx Cup and I got a little shock.”

Tiger Woods
A first-hole triple bogey derailed Tiger Woods Saturday. (Getty Images)
It was a not-so-subtle reminder that winning goes a long way in these playoffs, and Laird put himself in a great spot. He was at 12-under 201, three shots clear of Dustin Johnson and Jason Day with one round left at Ridgewood Country Club.

A victory for the 27-year-old Scot would move him to No. 1, assuring him a spot in all four majors next year, and making him a serious contender for the $10 million FedEx Cup payoff.

Tiger Woods also has something at stake Sunday, but it most likely won’t be a trophy. After missing only one fairway in each of the first two rounds, Woods hit his opening tee shot off the property and took triple bogey. He couldn’t get those three shots back and shot 72, putting him nine shots behind. He needs a steady final round just to advance to second round next week outside Boston.

For Johnson, who has found nothing but hard luck in the majors this year, it will be his second straight tournament playing in the final group. So much for that hangover from the PGA Championship, where he was penalized two shots on the final hole when he didn’t realize he was in a bunker at Whistling Straits, knocking him out of a playoff.

Johnson, struggling with a cold and his swing earlier in the week, began to hit his stride on a sunny day in northern New Jersey. On the 616-yard 13th hole, he blasted a 3-wood to about 15 feet for eagle, and added consecutive birdies a short time later on his way to a 64 that gave him a chance to win.

“I definitely put myself into the hunt,” Johnson said.

The good news? Everyone knows what a bunker looks like at Ridgewood.

Day remains in the hunt, too, although he didn’t help himself on a day for scoring at Ridgewood. The 22-year-old Australian regained the lead by chipping for eagle on the short par-4 fifth hole, but he simply missed too many putts and struggled enough with his driver – he hit only four fairways – to give it away. Day made five bogeys, one of them on a par 5 on the back nine, and had to settle for a 70.

“Just hit more fairways and I’ll be able to set myself up better at making birdies,” Day said.

Adam Scott birdied the 18th hole for a 68 and was four shots behind.

On the day before European captain Colin Montgomerie announces his three captain’s picks, it might be pleasing to see a fellow Scot atop the leaderboard against such a strong field. Too bad it’s Laird, who played college golf at Colorado State and never left the American golf circuits. Plus, he has played so poorly all year that he’s not even thinking about the Ryder Cup.

Laird was simply trying to get into the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings to qualify for the playoffs, and he’s moving up quickly.

Justin Rose, in his final round before Montgomerie makes his captain’s picks, went off early having narrowly made the cut and shot 65 to join the group at 7-under 206 that included Ryan Palmer, Matt Kuchar, John Senden, Vaughn Taylor and Kevin Streelman.

“I think it’s a tight selection process,” said Rose, who has been quiet since wins at the Memorial and AT&T National. “It’s just been nice to make a little bit of noise and shoot a great round to show him my game is there. I didn’t go out there to prove anything today. But I’m glad that it worked out. I think it’s a timely round of golf.

Woods was in a tie for 28th, continuing his slide since he opened with a 65 to share the first-round lead.

Four shots behind to start the third round, his 3-wood went straight up in the air, then straight left, over the trees and out-of-bounds. He had to hit another tee shot, then missed a short putt and took triple bogey. Woods went out in 39 after a bogey on the ninth before he began another reclamation project – birdies on the par 5s, and a 7-iron to 8 feet on the 18th hole for another birdie.

The top 100 in the standings – Woods is at No. 112 – make it to the Deutsche Bank Championship, which donates its proceeds to the Tiger Woods Foundation. Woods likely will need something around par in the final round to get there.

Laird has much higher hopes.

 

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

Mmm Visuals / Lancaster Country Club

Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”