Sergio Garcia makes adjustments before the US Open
Sergio also got new R9 3- and 5-woods, and requested a set of wedges – the latter is standard procedure for El Nino; he likes to get fresh grooves three times a year. Timing couldn’t be better, what with U.S. Open rough looming in New York.
It’s not unusual for players who don’t appear frequently, such as Sergio, to lean on the equipment truck guys pretty hard during a U.S. visit. The truck guys see it coming, and they’re only too happy to help. So is Sergio…more than once we’ve clambered up the steps to the TMaG truck and thrown open the door to see Sergio himself at the grinding wheel, working carefully on a wedge head.
Two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen is another self-grinder who we’ve seen in the TMaG truck, happily and placidly shaping away, visions of more trophies no doubt dancing in his head. This week, Retief switched into the TaylorMade-adidas TP Red ball; he found he drove it five to ten yards longer and hit it one club further with his irons.
Not in the field for the U.S. Open but also switching to the R9 460 driver were Tyler Aldridge, David Berganio Jr., John Senden, Matthew Borchert and Tim Wilkinson. Scott Verplank also didn’t make it to Bethpage, but he’s thinking about the future. After five years with the TMaG TP forged irons, he has taken on a 3-PW set of Tour Preferred B irons, which have a thin top line but feature a shallow undercut channel to shove the weight out and deep where it belongs. Scott had the new clubs ground for a little bit of offset, which satisfies his preference for a small, traditional head. He says they’re hired and in the bag.
Razorbacks, Fassi scrambling to recover in NCAAs
STILLWATER, Okla. – We’re not even halfway through this NCAA Championship, and the top women’s player in the country is already worn out.
Indeed, it’s been three rounds of hard work for Maria Fassi as she tries to claw herself and second-ranked Arkansas back into contention at Karsten Creek.
“I haven’t been able to create momentum of any kind,” she said after a third-round 73 left her at 16-over 232, 23 shots off the individual lead and outside the top 90. “I’ve been fighting every single hole. It’s just been exhausting.”
It’s been that way for her teammates, too.
Arkansas entered nationals as one of the pre-tournament favorites. The Razorbacks won the SEC Championship for the first time. They won seven events, including a regional title in which they shot 26 under par on the University of Texas’ home course. They were comfortable knowing that they not only had Fassi, the top-ranked player and a six-time winner this season, but also a strong supporting cast that includes Baylor transfer Dylan Kim and Alana Uriell.
And then the first two rounds happened. The Razorbacks had shot a team score in the 300s just once all season, but they posted two in a row here at Karsten Creek (308-300).
Fassi’s play has been even more of a mystery. In the opening round she shot 81 – with two birdies. She followed it up with a second-round 78, then birdied her last two holes just to shoot 73 on Sunday. She thought she had a smart game plan – taking fewer drivers, putting the ball in play on arguably the most difficult college course in the country – and it just hasn’t worked out.
“I just need to stay really patient, be true to myself and keep fighting,” she said. “I know what I’m capable of doing, and if I play my game it’s going to be plenty good.”
So what’s been the conversation among teammates the past two nights?
“It involved a lot of cuss words,” Fassi said. “We know this is not Arkansas golf. We know this is not the game that we play.”
The top-15 cut line should have been an afterthought for a team as talented as the Razorbacks, and yet they needed a 1-over 289 just to play Monday’s fourth round of stroke-play qualifying.
“Backs against the wall, they had to go get it done and they did an awesome job,” said Arkansas coach Shauna Taylor. “In our locker room we call it ‘Do the Possible.’ It’s doing what you’re capable of doing.”
And now the Razorbacks sit in 11th place, just six shots off the top-8 cut after their two worst rounds all season. They still have a chance to advance.
“You can’t panic,” Taylor said. “We’ve played great golf all year. We’ve put ourselves in a hole and it was time to go to work and dig yourselves out of it.”
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Crenshaw pleased with reaction to Trinity Forest
DALLAS – Despite the tournament debut of Trinity Forest Golf Club coming to a soggy conclusion, course co-designer Ben Crenshaw is pleased with how his handiwork stood up against the field at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
Crenshaw was on property for much of the week, including Sunday when tee times were delayed by four hours as a line of storms passed through the area. While the tournament’s field lacked some star power outside of headliner Jordan Spieth, Crenshaw liked what he saw even though Mother Nature didn’t exactly cooperate.
“We’re pleased. It’s off to a nice, quiet start, let’s say,” Crenshaw said. “The week started off very quiet with the wind. This course, we envision that you play it with a breeze. It sort of lends itself to a links style, playing firm and fast, and as you saw yesterday, when the wind got up the scores went up commensurately.”
That assessment was shared by Spieth, a Trinity Forest member who has become the tournament’s de facto host and spent much of his week surveying his fellow players for opinions about a layout that stands out among typical Tour stops.
“A lot of guys said, ‘It’s grown on me day to day, I really enjoyed it as a change of pace, I had a lot of fun playing this golf course.’ Those were lines guys were using this week, and it shouldn’t be reported any differently,” Spieth said. “It was an overwhelmingly positive outlook from the players that played.”
Crenshaw didn’t bristle as tournament leaders Aaron Wise and Marc Leishman eclipsed the mark of 20 under par, noting that he and co-designer Bill Coore simply hoped to offer a “different experience” from the usual layouts players face. With one edition in the books, he hopes that a largely positive reaction from those who made the journey will help bolster the field in 2019 and beyond.
“To me, the guys who played here this week will go over to Fort Worth, and hopefully the field at Colonial that wasn’t here would ask questions of the people who were here,” Crenshaw said. “You hope that some good word spreads.”
A. Jutanugarn wins Kingsmill playoff for 8th title
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the second hole of a playoff Sunday to win the Kingsmill Championship for the second time in three years.
Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 66 to match Nasa Hataoka (67) and In Gee Chun (68) at 14-under 199.
Jutanugarn and Hataoka both birdied the first extra hole, with Chun dropping out. Hataoka putted first on the second extra hole and missed badly before Jutanugarn rolled in a 15-footer for her eighth career victory. The 22-year-old Thai star's older sister, Moriya, won the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in Los Angeles in April for her first LPGA Tour victory
Jutanugarn started the day two shots behind Chun and had a two-shot lead before making bogey at the par-5 15th. Hataoka, playing with Chun in the final threesome, birdied No. 15 to join Jutanugarn at 14 under, and Chun made a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th to also get to 14 under.
The tournament was cut from 72 holes to 54 when rain washed out play Saturday.
Brooke Henderson closed with a 65 to finish a shot back. Megan Khang was fifth after her third straight 67.