Can Flying Dumbos propel Chun to consective Opens?

By Randall MellJuly 5, 2016, 10:30 pm

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – The Flying Dumbos are back.

That’s what members of In Gee Chun’s fan club calls themselves, and they’ll be rooting hard for Chun to become the first player since Karrie Webb (2000-01) to win back-to-back U.S. Women’s Opens. Chun goes by the nickname “Dumbo,” a moniker her swing coach, Won Park, gave her because she seems to hear everything going on around her.

“There are many Flying Dumbo fans that are going to be here,” Chun said through a translator. “I've always enjoyed playing at the tournaments with their support.”

Chun is off to a strong start in her rookie season, but she is still seeking her second LPGA title. She would like nothing better than for it to come this week at CordeValle Golf Club.

“Looking at my past career, I've played very well under pressure,” Chun said. “So, I'm going to enjoy this pressure. I'm looking forward to my play this week.”

In 11 starts this year, Chun has finished second or third five times. She’s running away with the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race with more than double the points of her closest challenger, Australia’s Su Oh.

“The win at the U.S. Women's Open last year was my dream come true,” Chun said. “And since my dream came true, my dream has continued to come true again and again. This year has been great.”

The only setback was the controversial incident at the Singapore airport early this season, when Ha Na Jang’s father dropped a travel bag that crashed down an escalator and injured Chun, knocking her out of three LPGA events. Chun said she is almost fully recovered from injuries to her lumbar muscles, sacroiliac joint and pelvis.

“I would say I’m about 99 percent perfect,” Chun said. “When it gets cold, I get stiff, but it's not a problem at all. I'm physically and mentally perfectly fine.”

Chun’s work this week goes beyond defending her title at the U.S. Women’s Open. She is No. 6 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and that makes her No. 3 on the South Korean Olympic qualifying list among four players who are going to earn spots in Rio de Janeiro next month. Two Koreans would have to pass her this week for her to lose her spot, maybe three, if the injured Inbee Park isn’t able to play. It’s the last week for qualifying.

Chun, by the way, said she plans to play if she qualifies.

“It is such a huge honor to be an Olympian,” she said. “I'm aware that there are a lot of concerns regarding health issues and security issues, but to be able to play at the Olympics is the biggest achievement and honor. So if I get a chance to play at the Olympics, I'll do my best.”

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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.