Annikas MC Sends Shock Waves

By George WhiteMay 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
July 10, 1994 The Golf Channel wouldnt go on the air for another six months. Nick Price was the top money-winner on the PGA TOUR. Laura Davies led the LPGA. A young Bill Clinton was into his presidency for only a couple of years.
And, in a development that went totally unnoticed at the time - Annika Sorenstam missed the cut at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic. She missed it by one stroke after shooting 75 the second day. It was Sorenstams fourth missed cut in the first nine events she played rookie season on the LPGA. This, after being the rookie of the year the previous year on the Ladies European Tour.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam gets comfort from her caddie after missing the cut.
Amazingly, astoundingly, that also was the last cut Annika would miss in a non-major for almost 12 years. Last week she missed again, again by one stroke, breaking a string of 168 non-majors. This time it came at the Michelob Ultra Open. She has missed the cut in four majors in those 12 years, but had made the cut in those 68 times. The last time she missed a cut of any kind on the LPGA Tour came in August of 2002, at the Weetabix Womens British Open.
Sorenstam was obviously deeply disappointed at missing the cut at Kingsmill. She wasnt certain of the last time she wasnt playing on Sunday. But she was acutely aware that something isnt right.
I know it's been a long time since (she missed a cut), Annika said. It's just not something I keep track of. I like to keep track of wins.
Then she undoubtedly knows that her last victory came March 12 of this year when she won the MasterCard Classic in her first outing. But she probably can also tell you that she has played five times since then, finishing tied for second once, tied for fourth once, tied for sixth once and tied for 19th - this in addition to the results of last week.
None of these results would be bad for any other LPGA player. But for Annika Sorenstam, who had won 45 of her last 102 LPGA events, it is subpar golf, no question. It is, what with the MC at Kingsmill, shocking - theres no other word for it.
Is Annika losing some of her skills at age 35, or is the rest of the LPGA getting better? The feeling here is there has been a tremendous increase in LPGA talent. But there is no question that Sorenstam hasnt got her game uncorked yet.
For example, Annika is averaging 70.38 this year in scoring. In 2004 she averaged 69.33, a full stroke higher. That is Annika vs. the golf courses on the LPGA, with no opponents factoring into the equation.
In 2005, Sorenstam was 29th in putting. This year shes 74th. In 2005, she was fourth in driving accuracy. This year, shes 103. Clearly, she hasnt been the player in 2006 that she has been the last five years.
I feel like I'm playing well, said Annika. This year is not really going anyway at all. I have to keep on grinding and keep on going. That's really all I can do.

Magnifying her difficulties is the fact that Karrie Webb won for the second time in the past six weeks. Webb was actually a better player than Sorenstam in 1999 and 2000, but then began slipping in 2001 while a determined Annika picked her game up. Webb won just twice in a three-year span beginning in 2003, while Sorenstam has won 24 times.
In 2006, though, beginning with the first major ' the Kraft Nabisco ' it has been a far different story. Webb won that tournament, won the Michelob, and has finished second twice. At 31, her career is on the upswing again.
The rest of the LPGA was stunned at Annika missing the cut. Cristi Kerr shook her head in wonderment.
You know, said Kerr, I've played with her a lot over the years, and I haven't seen her like this in a while. Everybody goes through this period of golf in their career, and she's certainly been on the top of the leaderboard for a very long time.
So golf goes in cycles. It just seems like this year, even though she did win in Mexico (at the MasterCard), it seems like she's been struggling more this near than in other years.
Juli Inkster reacted in disbelief. She could just remember what the past 10 years have been like, with Sorenstam continually exhibiting excellence.
Annika has definitely set the bar, said Inkster. That's what everybody strives to be, is the No. 1 player for the last gazillion years. So maybe everybody is just working a little harder on their games.
Annika herself wasnt offering excuses. She came, she played, she missed the cut. Others are left to ponder why, but she is just working on her next event and trying to start another streak.
I think I'm just playing the way I normally do, Sorenstam said. It's just not turning out.
Today (Friday) I hit 13 greens, yesterday 14 greens. There's no reason why I can't make any more birdies. I mean, it seems like there were birdies out there because the people in my group made them, so I know they are there.
I just have to keep on working and keep on grinding and stay positive.

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American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.