Expert picks: PGA Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 7, 2012, 7:00 pm

This week the world's best travel to South Carolina to battle over the Wanamaker Trophy in the season's final major, the PGA Championship. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: His play last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational aside, Woods has put himself in the mix at the last two majors and has now played 13 Grand Slam events without a win. It has to happen sooner or later and Kiawah is as good a place as any.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: Asked one Tour swing coach who he liked this week and he smiled, 'Someone who is long and can draw the ball.' According to Webster's Dictionary, that would be DJ (with an honorable mention for Lucas Glover).

Group 3: Geoff Ogilvy: Although he doesn't have the best record recently at 'Glory's Last Shot,' the Australian knows how to win the big event and his tie for ninth at the Open Championship is a good indication of how he may play at Kiawah.

Group 4: Trevor Immelman: Count this as an omen pick. We covered the last major event played at Kiawah, the 2003 World Cup, which was won by Immelman and fellow South African Rory Sabbatini.

Jay Coffin

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Not necessarily sure he'll win, just want to make sure he's on my team when he does.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: DJ in South Carolina at a place where bunkers are not bunkers? Sounds perfect.

Group 3: Johnson Wagner: Let's call this the omen pick. Wagner was the first person I saw when I got on property.

Group 4: Jeff Overton: You're just looking for value in Group 4 and if he can make a cut, it's good value.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Already this season he has excelled on one of Pete Dye's courses (TPC Sawgrass), and he has posted two top 10s in the majors. The winner this week at Kiawah will be a strong-minded, steady plodder with a tidy short game - sounds an awful lot like Kooch, no?

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: There are several reasons to feel good about DJ this week: he's playing in his home state; he's one of the Tour's longest hitters; and he wouldn't mind exacting a little revenge on Pete Dye.

Group 3: Padraig Harrington: The Irishman is a proven winner with a pair of top 10s at the majors this year. A good sand player and streaky putter, too.

Group 4: Scott Stallings: What lost season? In his past two starts he has a win and a T-7. This guy has rediscovered his game.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Graeme McDowell: After two straight major final rounds in the final pairing, GMac is ready to contend once again.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: The Ocean Course seems tailor-made for DJ - and no, that's not just because of this week's 'no bunker' policy.

Group 3: Kyle Stanley: Watched him play 18 holes on Sunday and the kid's an absolute stud. Could be his time to shine.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: Whether it was an oversight by Mr. Fantasy or just a strange move, placed at the bottom of Group 4 amongst the club pros is a kid who seriously contended at Lytham.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: It's past time for number 15. He gets it in the last major of the season.

Group 2: David Toms: He's coming off a T-8 at Firestone and a T-4 at the U.S. Open. The 2001 PGA champ is in great shape to add a 14th win to his resume and he just might do it at Kiawah.

Group 3: Geoff Ogilvy: Eight top-25s this year, including a season-best T-9 finish at the U.S. Open. This Aussie ball-striker could be lethal in the winds at the Ocean Course.

Group 4: Davis Love III: Don't under-estimate the Ryder Cup captain at Kiawah. The Carolina native feels very comfortable here and the distraction of the upcoming matches at Medinah may work to his advantage.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Luke Donald: Donald doesn't seem like he would be the favorite at this ballpark, but his short game will win him his first major.

Group 2: Zach Johnson: Two wins this year show just what control he has over his golf ball right now.

Group 3: Geoff Ogilvy: 2006 U.S. Open winner may remind us all just how good he can be.

Group 4: Sean O'Hair: Under-appreciated talent who knows how to collect trophies.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Quite simply, if I'm going to get outscored, it'll have to be with someone other than the 14-time major champion.

Group 2: Louis Oosthuizen: Flashed tip-top form at Firestone en route to a solo fourth. World-class tee-to-green game is imperative at Kiawah.

Group 3: Robert Garrigus: Absolute no-brainer. May not be anyone more confident about his game right now. Could lead the field in both distance off the tee and greens hit.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: Dismissing back-nine fade in Austria two weeks ago. Shared ninth place at the British and won in Sicily along the Mediterranean in early spring.

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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

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

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.