Moreno leads by one on shortened course

By Doug FergusonMay 25, 2013, 2:13 pm

PARADISE ISLANDS, Bahamas – Paola Moreno and Lindsey Wright took the same, simple approach on the winding road through the Ocean Club in the Bahamas LPGA Classic.

They didn't care that the makeshift course was only 12 holes because of flooding. They didn't pay attention to a routing that had them going from the back nine to the front nine and then repeating the process. And it didn't bother them that they played only 24 holes in two days.

''It's different,'' Moreno said Saturday. ''I'm not going to say it's usual. But I can't control the holes that they want us to play. The only thing that I really want to do is put myself out there and bring the best attitude and my 'A' game, hopefully.''

That's worked beautifully so far for the Colombian.

Moreno kept bogeys off her jumbled scorecard for the second straight day for a 4-under 41, giving her a one-shot lead over Wright going into the final, 12-hole round.


Video: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic highlights


Wright, who played earlier Saturday, had seven birdies for a 7-under 38.

''I am just focused on what I can control right now,'' said Moreno, who was at 9-under 81. ''The only thing that matters right now is the first tee shot on No. 1 – or No. 10, whatever hole we're playing tomorrow. And I'm just excited to be there.''

Cristie Kerr did enough to at least get in range. She was among 10 players within three shots of the lead, though they have six fewer holes to make up ground.

Because of severe flooding earlier in the week on the Ocean Club, the LPGA is using the holes available. In this case, it's a 12-hole course that starts on the back nine at No. 10, jumps over to the front nine for four holes that are out of order, heads over to a stretch on the back nine and finishes along the ocean at No. 8.

The final round now goes from a par 45 to a par 47.

The par-5 18th hole is in good enough shape to be playing as the closing hole, giving this inaugural event at least some semblance of normality. It will replace No. 4, which also is a par 5 but has been played as a par 3 because of a bunker caved in by the rain.

The best thing Moreno achieved on a sun-filled Saturday – at least as far as the tournament was concerned – was finishing.

It was critical for all the players to finish two rounds (24 holes) going into the final round or it would have been unlikely to complete 36 holes by Sunday to make this official. The LPGA Tour was determined to play an official event for Pure Silk and the Bahamas Tourism Ministry, the two title sponsors of this new tournament.

Stacy Lewis, the No. 2 player, was trying to get close to the leaders and isn't sure she did enough. Two late birdies gave her a 3-under 42, though she was five shots behind. That feels like a larger deficit given the shortened course.

''It's strange,'' Lewis said. ''By the time you get into a rhythm, the round is over. You can make a lot of birdies. You just have to get off to a good start.''

Wright had the kind of round that Lewis and so many others could use on Sunday.

The Australian didn't realize she finished her round with six straight 3s on her scorecard. She could name the holes where she made her seven birdies until calling her caddie over for help. She just knows she played some pretty good golf.

''I didn't know what was going on,'' Wright said. ''I just play. That's probably how we should do it all the time.''

Inbee Park played a game that didn't resemble the No. 1 player in the world, at least not the closing holes. She played the last four holes in 8 over.

It started when she was left of the 14th green (the ninth hole) when she went to play a chip and her caddie realized he left the club on an adjacent par 3. She barely reached the green and made bogey. Then, she fanned her tee shot on the par-3 second (No. 10) some 30 yards right of the green. It really turned ugly on the next par 3, with a lake that should not have come into play with a back pin. Park hit 4-iron twice into the water, coming up some 40 yards short of the flag. She finally made quintuple-bogey 8.

Park finished with a fairway metal that she snap-hooked into the ocean.

The Ocean Club appears to have nearly recovered, though a few holes aren't suitable to play. And because there is no cut this week – the LPGA Tour felt that would be unfair after only 24 holes – the decision was to keep it at 12 holes to make sure everyone finished.

Going to Monday wasn't an option because several players have U.S Women's Open qualifying early next week.

''Look, the way I see it, it's the same for everyone,'' Wright said. ''There's always complaining. You just can't have a tournament without that. I think it's a shame, because the course on Monday, Tuesday, it was brilliant. It's a shame we're playing 12 holes, but I think for the Bahamas and for Pure Silk, it's the right thing to do. We're here to play golf. We're not here to party. Do that early on in the week.''

Kerr is coming off a win two weeks ago in Kingsmill and hopes to keep the momentum going as the tour heads into a big part of the season. There are three majors in the next few months, capped by a return to St. Andrews.

''It feels like a shootout,'' Kerr said. ''We only have 12 holes every day, and you've got to go as low as you can. I did my job today.''


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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.