Ace Propels Welch to FUTURES Tour Lead
Locked in a tie at three-under par, the long hitter slam-dunked her 9-iron tee shot 145 yards on the 17th hole for a timely ace to grab the lead. Even with her fourth three-putt green of the day from 30 feet on the last hole, Welch carded her second consecutive round of two-under-par 70 to take a one-stroke lead into Sundays final round at 140 (-4).
She leads Taya Battistella (70) of Bend, Ore., and rookies Y.J. Jin (71) and Chella Choi (71), both of Seoul, South Korea, all tied at 141 (-3).
It wasnt very pretty and to be in my position right now after how bad I played on the front nine, yeah, its not bad, said Welch of Sacramento, an 11-time collegiate winner while at Washington State University, who is still seeking her first professional title.
Not bad, indeed. Three of Welchs three-putt greens came on holes No. 1, 7 and 8. She only had one lip-out chance for birdie on the front nine, which prompted a little thigh slapping and tough self-talk en route to the second nine. What she said to herself translates roughly to, Just find a way to get the ball in the hole.
That, she did. Welch birdied the 10th from 20 feet, burned the edge of the cup from 20 feet on the 11th, thinned an 8-iron from 130 yards to hole out on the 12th hole for an eagle-2, missed an eagle chance but grabbed the birdie from 12 feet on the par-five 14th, saved par from the woods on No. 16, then finished out the round with an ace-bogey on the last two holes. That rollercoaster performance was enough to give former LPGA Tour winner Barb Mucha, walking in Welchs gallery, a case of indigestion to go with Welchs head cold.
Barb has been working with me on my short game a little bit, said Welch of Muchas interest in her game. I came here this week ready to win.
Of course, in the season-opening tournament, its a new year and every player is itching to earn the first win of 2008.
It will be exciting to see what happens tomorrow, said Battistella, a second-year Duramed FUTURES Tour member who played collegiately at the University of Colorado and Portland State University.
Battistella carded six birdies and four bogeys in todays wind. She hit every fairway in regulation and rolled in 27 putts that made her rough winter look like great preparation for a new season.
I worked two jobs this winter and didnt get to play much golf, so today, I think I just appreciated every shot more than usual, said Battistella, also still seeking her first win.
Jin and Choi, a pair of 17-year-old pros, never got flustered in the wind. While Jin bogeyed all three of Cleveland Heights Golf Courses par-three holes, she rolled in five birdies to her four bogeys and was giggling about her chance to win her Tour debut.
I hit it low, so the wind shots worked for me today, said Jin. I hope I play great tomorrow.
Six players are tied at 142 (-2), including first-round leader Sae Hee Son (76) of Seoul, Korea and 2005 Lakeland tournament winner Jin Young Pak (73) of Kang Leung, South Korea.
I have good memories here because it was my first win as a pro and my first win in the U.S., said Pak. But today, the wind changed all the time and I had to really focus, so now my mind is tired.
Son struggled with only one birdie today -- a six-footer on the seventh hole that couldnt negate her five bogeys. It was a day that included 31 putts in spite of support from good pals and LPGA stars Se Ri Pak and Sarah Lee, who drove to Lakeland from nearby Orlando and walked the course with the former LPGA Tour member.
The greens here are small and in the wind, sometimes they are a little hard to hold, said Son, who played on the LPGA Tour from 2005-2007. I did too much thinking about distance and I just need to keep focused on my game.
Eighty players made the 36-hole cut at 149 (+5).
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”