Park stumbles late, opens Women's British with 69

By Doug FergusonAugust 1, 2013, 9:39 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Wearing a black rain suit and a soft smile, Inbee Park looked calm as ever standing before the imposing Royal & Ancient clubhouse just moments before she teed off Thursday in the Women's British Open.

Only after her unsteady round of 3-under 69 did Park reveal perhaps the biggest surprise at St. Andrews.

She was nervous.

''But then once the round started, and especially playing so good in the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence,'' Park said. ''I didn't feel much pressure when I was playing during the round. I'm just glad that it's already started and I got the first round under my belt.''


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Park wound up three shots behind Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth of Sweden, a solid start to what should be a fascinating week at the home of golf.

Her pursuit of history looked more like a high-speed chase when the 25-year-old South Korean made six birdies in 10 holes. Three poor tee shots, two three-putt bogeys and one double bogey from a pot bunker on the back nine made her realize there's a reason no golfer has ever won four majors in a single year.

''Felt like a roller coaster today,'' Park said.

She was only too happy it finally stopped with a 6-foot birdie on the 18th hole, ending a slide during which she dropped four shots in a five-hole span.

Pressel, one spot out of making the Solheim Cup team this week, caught a break when the rain and wind never materialized in the afternoon. She made seven birdies in a round of 66 that gave her a share of the lead with Lennarth, who birdied the 18th.

Stacy Lewis, the former No. 1 player in women's golf, shot 31 on the tougher back nine for a 67 to be part of a large group that included former U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi and Nicole Castrale. Another shot behind were Paula Creamer, Catriona Matthew and Lizette Salas.

Those who played early had reason to worry.

Lewis was on the 10th tee when she looked over at Park knocking in an 18-foot birdie putt, her fifth of the round. Castrale had not yet teed off when her husband saw a leaderboard with Park's name in a familiar position.

''It's amazing, the fact we all possibly can play with history,'' Castrale said. ''It's amazing what she's done to this point, the composure she has. I don't know what she shot today, but I'm going to guess she'll be in the mix come Sunday.''

If there were nerves on the first tee for Park, she didn't show it.



She opened with a wedge into about 7 feet for birdie, and then she really poured it on with an astounding display of her putting stroke. She rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 3 with perfect pace. She made an 18-foot birdie on No. 4 and a 35-footer on No. 6. It didn't look as if she would ever miss. Her sixth birdie came at the 10th, when her sand wedge checked up to 5 feet right of the hole. Another birdie.

Just like that, there was a feeling of inevitability about this Women's British Open, much as there was for Tiger Woods when he won the British Open for the first time at St. Andrews by eight shots to complete the career Grand Slam in 2000.

But not for long.

It started with a tee shot into thick grass to the right of the 12th fairway. She saved par with another great putt, this one from 15 feet, but she couldn't save herself much longer. After another poor tee shot on the 13th, she came dangerously close to a large gorse bush. She chipped to 15 feet and made bogey, her first of the day. A delicate pitch-and-run helped her avoid another bogey on the 15th after a third tee shot to the right.

Park appeared to be in big trouble when her approach rolled toward the high face of the vetted wall in a pot bunker short of the 16th hole. She considered a shot over the wall toward the flag, but then wisely turned sideways and blasted out to some 90 feet away, her ball about halfway between the flags of No. 2 and No. 16 on the double green. Her first putt wasn't hit nearly hard enough, and her par putt from 15 feet caught the lip.

''A little disappointing, but I'm glad that I've done that in the first round instead of the final round,'' she said.

It was only her second double bogey in a major this year.


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She also three-putted the 17th from 40 feet when her first attempt came up 10 feet short, leading to another three-putt bogey.

''I thought that I fixed my problems coming into this week. I was hitting it so good on the practice round and I didn't really miss any balls,'' Park said. ''I thought I was really prepared, but those couple of bad shots really shocked me. I couldn't really concentrate on the greens when I hit those shots. I've learned my lesson. Good thing I've got my time to fix that today and tomorrow.''

Only four months ago, Park and Lewis were battling for No. 1 in the world until the South Korean left everyone in her wake by adding to her collection of majors. The Kraft Nabisco Championship put her in position to take No. 1 away from Lewis, and the playoff win at the LPGA Championship and four-shot win at the U.S. Women's Open brought her to the brink of something grand.

Lewis and Karrie Webb were on the 11th tee when they saw Park make another birdie.

''We both looked at each other and shook our heads,'' Lewis said. ''We knew she was going to be there, but it's like she keeps doing it over and over and over again.''

Lewis made up ground on the back nine. And when rough weather didn't arrive, plenty of others took aim on the Old Course. Park was tied for 18th on a day in which 73 players broke par. Her biggest test might come if the strong wind arrives before Sunday. She's not ready to think that far ahead.

''If I could walk out of this tournament with no regrets, that's what I'm looking to do,'' she said. ''That's all I could ask for.''

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Ko part of 5-way tie for Mediheal lead

By Associated PressApril 27, 2018, 3:20 am

DALY CITY, Calif. - Lydia Ko was back on top at Lake Merced.

Ko shot a 4-under 68 on a chilly Thursday morning at the LPGA Mediheal Championship for a share of the first-round lead. Jessica Korda, Caroline Hedwall, In-Kyung Kim and Su Oh joined Ko atop the leaderboard in the LPGA's return to Lake Merced after a year away.

''This is a golf course where you need to drive the ball well and putt well,'' said Ko, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic winner at the course in 2014 and 2015.

Ko eagled the par-5 fifth and had four birdies and a bogey. The New Zealander has 14 LPGA wins, the last in July 2016.

''It's nice to come back to a place where you feel super-welcomed,'' Ko said. ''It just brings back a lot of great memories. ... My family and friends are here this week, so I'm hoping that I'm going to continue the solid play.''

She turned 21 on Tuesday.

''I don't think I feel a huge difference, but I know turning 21 is a huge thing in the U.S.,'' Ko said, ''So, I'm legal and I can do some fun things now.''

Korda, playing alongside Kim a group ahead of Ko, also eagled the fifth and had four birdies and a bogey. Korda won in Thailand in February in her return from reconstructive jaw surgery.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship


''The score says one thing and my hands say another,'' Korda said. ''It was really cold out there today, so it was good that I stuck to kind of my process. ... Actually, this is still some of the nicer conditions that we've played in compared to the past. I'll take the cold as long as there's no rain.''

Hedwall and Kim each had five birdies and a bogey.

''I just love the city. It's really nice,'' said Hedwall, from Sweden. ''It's sort of a European-style city with all the shopping going on downtown and stuff. I love it here. I even like this weather, suits me really well, too.''

Oh had a bogey-free round. The Australian was the only one of the five players tied for the lead to play in the afternoon.

''It was cold and pretty windy out there and, because it's got a lot of elevation, it kind of swirls in the middle like in the low areas, so it was tough,'' Oh said. ''I hit the ball really solid today. Then the ones I missed, I made really good up-and-downs.''

Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim, Charley Hull and Celine Herbin shot 69.

''This course is very challenging, especially when the wind picks up,'' the third-ranked Thompson said. ''It's chilly, so it's a little longer of a course. Some of the par 5s are reachable, so you try to take advantage of that, but pars were good and just take the birdie chances as you can get them.''

Moriya Jutanugarn, the winner Sunday in Los Angeles for her first LPGA title, had a 71 playing with former Stanford student Michelle Wie and ANA Inspiration winner Pernilla Lindberg. Wie had a 74, and Lindberg shot 79. Ariya Jutanugarn matched her sister with a 71, playing in the group with Ko.

Top-ranked Inbee Park matched playing partner Brooke Henderson with a 72. The third member of the afternoon group, second-ranked Shanshan Feng, shot 73.

Juli Inkster shot 72. The 57-year-old Hall of Famer grew up in Santz Cruz, starred at San Jose State and lives in Los Altos. She won the last of her 31 LPGA titles in 2006.

Stacy Lewis had a 74 after announcing that she is pregnant with a due date of Nov. 3. She plans to play through the Marathon Classic in July and return for a full season next year.

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Glover, Reavie share Zurich lead with Chinese pair

By Associated PressApril 27, 2018, 3:04 am

AVONDALE, La. - Chez Reavie had quite a few good moments at TPC Louisiana on Thursday. So did teammate Lucas Glover.

In best-ball format, the most important thing was those moments came on different holes.

Reavie and Glover teamed to shoot a 12-under 60 for a share of the Zurich Classic lead with China's Zhang Xinjun and Dou Zecheng.

''Chez started well and I picked it up in the middle of the back nine,'' Glover said. ''He closed it off and then we both played really well on the front. Just kind of ham and egged it, I guess, as they would say.''

Reavie and Glover each had six birdies in the best-ball format, pushing through soggy weather early in the round before conditions cleared at TPC Louisiana. Six teams are two shots back in a tie for third after shooting 62.

''We were just rolling,'' Reavie said. ''I think we're comfortable. We like to laugh and have a good time when we're playing golf, and it definitely helps.''

Zhang and Dou birdied four of their final five holes. Dou made a 31-foot putt on No. 9 to cap the impressive rally and jump into the lead with Reavie and Glover.


Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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Tony Finau-Daniel Summerhays, Chris Paisley-Tommy Fleetwood, J.J. Henry-Tom Hoge, Michael Kim-Andrew Putnam, Kevin Kisner-Scott Brown and Troy Merritt-Brendon de Jonge shot 62. Jason Day and Ryan Ruffels shot 64.

It's the first time since last year's Tour Championship that the reigning champs of all four majors have been in the same field. None of them were among the leaders after the first round.

Masters champion Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay had a 65, and British Open winner Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer were at 66.

''I didn't feel like there was really any rust,'' Reed said. ''I felt like I hit the ball all right today. I felt I hit some good quality putts. A couple of them went in, a couple of them didn't.''

This is the second year that two-player teams have competed at the Zurich Classic. The unusual tournament features best-ball play in the first and third rounds and alternate shot in the second and final rounds.

U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and Marc Turnesa shot a 67. PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley shot a 70.

There are 80 teams in the tournament and the top 35, along with ties, will make the cut after Friday's second round.

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Lewis says she's expecting first child in November

By Randall MellApril 27, 2018, 2:18 am

Stacy Lewis is pregnant.

The 12-time LPGA winner confirmed after Thursday’s first round of the Mediheal Championship that she and her husband, University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, are expecting their first child on Nov. 3.

Lewis learned she was pregnant after returning home to Houston in late February following her withdrawal from the HSBC Women’s World Championship with a strained oblique muscle.

“We're obviously really excited,” Lewis said. “It wasn't nice I was hurt, but it was nice that I was home when I found out with [Gerrod]. We're just really excited to start a family.”

Lewis is the third big-name LPGA player preparing this year to become a mother for the first time. Suzann Pettersen announced last month that she’s pregnant, due in the fall. Gerina Piller is due any day.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship


Piller’s husband, PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, withdrew from the Zurich Classic on Thursday to be with her. Piller and Lewis have been U.S. Solheim Cup partners the last two times the event has been played.

“It's going to be fun raising kids together,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they're best friends and they hang out. But just excited about the next few months and what it's going to bring.”

Lewis, a former Rolex world No. 1 and two-time major championship winner, plans to play through the middle of July, with the Marathon Classic her last event of the year. She will be looking to return for the start of the 2019 season. The LPGA’s maternity leave policy allows her to come back next year with her status intact.

“This year, the golf might not be great, but I've got better things coming in my life than a golf score.” Lewis said. “I plan on coming back and traveling on the road with the baby, and we'll figure it out as we go.”

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Coach scores in NFL Draft and on golf course

By Grill Room TeamApril 27, 2018, 1:47 am

To say that Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a good day Thursday would be an understatement. Not only did his team snag one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft - Georgia outside linebacker Roquan Smith, who the Bears took with the eighth pick of the first round - but earlier in the day Fangio, 59, made a hole-in-one, sinking a 9-iron shot from 125 yards at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.

Perhaps the ace isn't so surprising, though. In late May 2017, Fangio made another hole-in-one, according to a tweet from the Bears. The only information supplied on that one was the distance - 116 yards.