Se Ri Comes of Age
Pak was a young women from South Korea, Chuasiriporn was a Duke University athlete. Surely they would be around for many, many years.
Well, Chuasiriporn is out of competitive golf completely now. And Pak hit rock bottom for a couple of years before rebounding to win the McDonalds LPGA Championship this month. Obviously the two didnt keep their date for their future matches.
I still remember that, laughed Se Ri. I cant forget about that moment ' playoff.
The USGA has put itself in a position of possibly playing again on Monday when Thursday play was completely postponed by a day-long fog which blanketed the Newport Country Club. Plans are to play single rounds Friday and Saturday ' the field of 156 is too large to get them around for more than one round a day. Play is scheduled to wrap up on Sunday with a 36-hole finale ' IF there are no more weather glitches.
In 98, though, Pak was still feeling her way around the U.S., trying to learn English and the many, many differences in the two cultures. She was the first Korean to make the big leap ' there was no other trail blazer such as the approximately 60 Koreans have now as they professional golf in the U.S. They are scattered throughout the LPGA and the Duramed Futures Tour. But in 1998, there was one ' Se Ri Pak.
And she was in a playoff to determine the champion of the United States Womens Open.
Me and Jenny, we just had so much fun out there, same age at the same time and so many galleries following us on a Monday - which I thought was very impressive, she said. I know at a playoff in a U.S. Open you have so many galleries, but Monday, unbelievable. It's the first time I ever saw that many people out there.
Pak has lived in Orlando since 98 and makes only an occasional trip back to South Korea. Her English has improved to the point where she converses with the media in a totally confident manner. She has confidence that she can make it in her adopted country. That summer day at the Open convinced her that, if nothing else, she certainly had the golfing skills necessary to play the best in the world.
I mean, after LPGA and then after the U.S. Open, after that, I got so much confidence, Se Ri said. I don't know if my game (was) already that good, I'm not sure I can guarantee that. But I feel just personally I had so much confidence in myself every week I played. I got so much confidence after winning the U.S. Open.
After that, that was a great success because mentally, physically it helped me. I just really had nothing to lose out there. I felt so good, so strong, I felt like my game was right there. I can't tell my game 100 percent, but I know my mind, every single time I was ready.
But alas, she had several celebrated occasions with a fawning Korean media that nearly drove her off the tour. Se Ri was such an overwhelming story with her success in the U.S. that the press was suffocating her with their attention.
Everyone had so much high expectation for me seems like I always used to be up at the top there. Because people are so much used to it, and I never had a problem before, she said.
Like I said, people never realize that the game of golf is just not easy. They don't know how much I work for it, how much time I spend at the golf course and practicing a lot and trying to play the best I can. Every single time it's the same routine, and I'm doing so well for it. People are pretty much used to it being that way, seeing me on TV, seeing me on the leaderboard and they're seeing always I'm winning the tournament. Everyone had pretty much high expectation for Se Ri, which they're never thinking I'm going to be going the other way.
But I am a human being, too. Now they realize it, and every single time, now every year seems like we have more Korean players doing well and now it's just a lot more comfortable, like they are sharing all the pressure together.
I'm still there, (they) love to see me up there doing well. The last two years I had such a hard time for all the media attention. It's not easy for me to accept it. But now I know I have so much fans out there no matter if I play good or not, just always seeing me out here and playing, that kept me from giving up on my game.
Shes 29 years old now, and it hardly seems possibly that Se Ri is almost middle-age, golfing-wise. But it all began when she won that U.S. Womens Open. And two years of up-and-down golf have matured her into a woman.
The last two years have been a perfect time for me to step up one level, which is great for me, she said. I mean, (its) not easy, but I think its a perfect time for me to see.
Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie
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.
McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1
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
Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience
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.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
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.