Juniors selected to play Pebble at First Tee Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 1, 2015, 1:00 pm

The First Tee announced Wednesday the names of the 81 junior players competing in this year’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Sept. 25-27.

The Champions Tour event groups one senior player with one junior First Tee participant (age 15-18) and two fellow amateurs. This will mark the 12th edition of the tournament, which is contested at Pebble  Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course. John Cook is the defending champion.

"Morning Drive" showcased how some of the participants learned of their inclusion. Check out the video below:



Here's a list of the juniors selected to compete:

Noor Ahmed, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (Calf.)

Jack Avrit, The First Tee of Central Coast (Calf.)

Dario Ayala, The First Tee of Atlanta (Ga.)

Jay Babu, The First Tee of Northern Nevada (Nev.)

Colby Bradley, The First Tee of Augusta (S.C.)

Clare Brady, The First Tee of Silicon Valley (Calif.)

Davis Bryant, The First Tee of Green Valley Ranch (Colo.)

Najae Butler, The First Tee of Atlanta (Ga.)

Carlo Carino, The First Tee of Greater New Orleans (La.)

Sayaka Carpenter, The First Tee of Raritan Valley (N.J.)

Ava Castillo, The First Tee of Greater Dallas (Texas)

Tiffany Cha, The First Tee of the Tri-Valley (Calif.)

Mason Chiu, The First Tee of Greater Pasadena (Calif.)

Michael Cliff, The First Tee of Fresno (Calif.)

Jackson Cole, The First Tee of Brunswick County (S.C.)

Daniel Connelly, San Francisco (Calif.)        

Ben Constancio, The First Tee of Greater Austin (Texas)

Marissa Del Monaco, The First Tee of Western New York (N.Y.)

Nicolette Dilluvio, The First Tee of Metropolitan New York (N.Y.)

Leila Dizon, The First Tee of Greater Pasadena (Calif.)

Brock Dowdy, The First Tee of Denver (Colo.)

Tanya Eathakotti, The First Tee of Miami (Fla.)

Dylan Fisher, The First Tee of Greater Charlotte (N.C.)

Austin Fox, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (Calif.)

Lee Froelich, The First Tee of St. Paul (Minn.)

Tori Gatling, The First Tee of Greater Houston (Texas)

Brant Gillespie, The First Tee of Augusta (S.C.)

Oliver Gore, The First Tee of Middle Tennessee (Tenn.)

Aubrey Graves, The First Tee of East Lake (Ga.)

Shahbaz Hashmi, The First Tee of Greater San Antonio (Texas)

Karlei Hemler, The First Tee of the Golden Triangle (Texas)

Grant Herrenbruck, The First Tee of Salina (Kan.)

Grant Hill, The First Tee of Memphis (Tenn.)

Jack Hirsh, The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia (Pa.)

Gypsie Hutchinson, The First Tee of Lexington (Ky.)

DJ Johnson, The First Tee of East Baton Rouge Parish (La.)

Jack Kane, The First Tee of Connecticut (Conn.)

Chase Killette, The First Tee of North Florida (Fla.)

Chanha Kim, The First Tee of Monterey County (Calif.)

David Laskin, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (Calif.)

Bibilani Liu, The First Tee of Silicon Valley (Calif.)

Ardin Lo, The First Tee of Tri-Valley (Calif.)

Emma Lower, The First Tee of Phoenix (Ariz.)

Presley Mackelburg, The First Tee of Northern Nevada (Nev.)

Navid Majidizadeh, The First Tee of Tulsa (Okla.)

Logan Martin, The First Tee of Montana (Mont.)

Nickolas Martinez, The First Tee of Greater Houston (Texas)

Ronnie McDowell, Jr., The First Tee of Silicon Valley (Calif.)

Mitchell McGuire, The First Tee of Phoenix (Ariz.)

Drake Mendenhall, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (Calif.)

Hannah Moesinger, The First Tee of Metropolitan Oklahoma City (Okla.)

James Moore, The First Tee of Greater Washington, D.C. (Va.)

Elizabeth Nguyen, The First Tee of The Sandhills (N.C.)

Holden North, The First Tee of Pine Mountain (Va.)

Raphael Olfato, The First Tee of Hampton Roads (Va.)

Derrick Ow, The First Tee of Monterey County (Calif.)

Elizabeth Park, The First Tee of San Diego (Calif.)

Sung Eun Park, The First Tee of San Diego (Calif.)

Landon Patterson, The First Tee of Brunswick County (N.C.)

Steven Phelps, The First Tee of Lakeland (Fla.)

Ryan Ramboyong, The First Tee of Silicon Valley (Calif.)

Quinn Riley, The First Tee of the Triangle (N.C.)

Jared Robinson, The First Tee of the Sandhills (N.C.)

Jessica Rogina, The First Tee of Greater Houston (Texas)

Dominic Salomone, The First Tee of Contra Costa (Calif.)

Nicole Schroeder, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (Calif.)

Nelson Searcy, The First Tee of Greater Kansas City (Mo.)

Serena Shah, The First Tee of Greater Dallas (Texas)

Sydney Shrader, The First Tee of Naples/Collier (Fla.)

Samantha Shumaker, The First Tee of Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Neha Sikand, The First Tee of Central Coast (Calif.)

Camille Simon, The First Tee of Greater New Orleans (La.)

Sarah Sontowski, The First Tee of Three Rivers Park District (Minn.)

Janane Tan, The First Tee of Greater Dallas (Texas)

Spencer Tibbits, The First Tee of Greater Portland (Wash.)

Neil Vyas, The First Tee of Metropolitan New York (N.Y.)

Allison Wade, The First Tee of Fort Worth (Texas)

Sahara Washington, The First Tee of Greater San Antonio (Texas)

Chandler Wasson, The First Tee of Tulsa (Okla.)

Vince Wheeler, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley (Va.)

Hayley Yukihiro, The First Tee of Monterey County (Calif.)

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

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Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

“I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

“I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

“We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

“My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

“Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”