Lewis hopes familiar venue will lead to first win of 2015

By Randall MellMay 28, 2015, 6:15 pm

Stacy Lewis is starting an important summer push into some of the year’s biggest events at a venue this week that has been very good to her.

Lewis will tee it up Friday at the ShopRite Classic looking for her first victory of 2015. She’s doing so at a site that has been home to two of her 11 LPGA career titles. She won last year at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club and also won there in 2012.

“I just like this golf course because it’s kind of old school, just the way golf was made to be played,” Lewis said in her pretournament news conference.

Lewis won the 54-hole event in a six-shot rout last year. The victory allowed Lewis to ascend to No. 1 in the world for the second time in her career. She took back the top spot from Inbee Park and held it for 21 weeks before Park took it back again late last year.

“The first couple times I played here, I honestly hated it,” Lewis said of the Seaview Bay Course. “I was like, `This golf course is terrible.’ But once you take a chance to really get to know it and really learn the little bounces, learn where to hit to certain pins, that’s the huge advantage.”

The women’s season is about to heat up with three major championships scheduled over the next nine weeks.

“I took some time off last week and didn’t play as much golf as I normally do just because of the business of this stretch and to really get ready for these next few weeks,” Lewis said. “I’ve talked all year about how the summertime is when you want to be playing your best golf. That's when we have our biggest events, the most number of events. So this, really, for a lot of people, and for me, is a kick start into the rest of the year.”

Lewis isn’t the only player pacing herself. Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko is taking this week off after last week’s break in the schedule. Ko appeared to be feeling the effects of a busy run leading into the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She played five of six weeks leading into the ANA and ended up tying for 51st there, her lowest finish this season. Lewis felt the same challenge finishing last season’s run that ended with her sweeping the Rolex Player of the Year Award, Vare Trophy for low scoring average and money title.

“The last few years, I get to about August, and I'm exhausted,” Lewis said. “It’s usually around the Canadian Open, where I have no energy left. And so I've really tried to plan my schedule out better to take weeks off and to go do other things.  I took [last] weekend off, spent Memorial Day and everything with my family. You have to do that stuff. It's just shut it down, put the clubs away.”

Lewis is playing well but has been frustrated trying to claim her first victory this year. She has finished second three times and third once. She has top-10 finishes in seven of 10 starts this year.

“I'm not too concerned,” Lewis said. “I'm doing a lot of really good things right now. A couple of those tournaments I'd like to have won, but that's golf. It’s getting harder and harder to win out here.  There are some amazing players right now. I’ve just got to keep doing what I'm doing because obviously there's nothing wrong with it.”

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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.