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Lexi, Wie, J. Korda grouped at Women's Open

By Randall MellMay 24, 2018, 6:37 pm

The big-hitting American trio of Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda will be looking to provide some early summer fireworks at next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala.

Thompson, Wie and Korda will tee it up together in the first two rounds.

Here’s a look at some of the notable groupings with full tee times listed below:

Thompson, Wie, Korda: 7:46 a.m., Thursday; 1:26 p.m. Friday

Thompson nearly dominated the 2017 season, winning twice while finishing second six times. She won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and was the Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year, but she’s still looking for her first title this year. It couldn’t come at a better time next week as she bids to win her second major. Wie and Korda have both won this year. Wie, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open winner, won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore in March. Korda won the Honda LPGA Thailand in February and takes strong form into her bid to win her first major.

Inbee Park, In Gee Chun, Moriya Jutanugarn: 1:37 p.m., Thursday; 7:57 a.m., Friday

World No. 1 Park is coming off her first victory in a Korean LPGA event last week. She won the LPGA’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup in March. The two-time U.S. Women’s Open winner has finished T-3 or better in five of her eight worldwide starts this season. Chun, the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open winner, is coming off a strong effort in a playoff loss at the Kingsmill Championship. She is looking to become the first player in LPGA history to make her first three LPGA titles major championships. Jutanugarn is just a month removed from winning her first LPGA title at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open.

Sung Hyun Park, In-Kyung Kim, Sophia Schubert: 1:15 p.m., Thursday; 7:35 a.m. Friday

Park brings momentum in her bid to become the first player to win back-to-back U.S. Women’s Open titles since Karrie Webb did it in 2000 and ’01. Park won the Volunteers of America Texas Classic in her last start three weeks ago. Kim broke through to win her first major last summer at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Schubert is the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champ who just finished up her senior season at the University of Texas.

Pernilla Lindberg, Cristie Kerr, Sei Young Kim: 1:26 p.m., Thursday; 7:46 a.m. Friday

Lindberg will be looking to make it back-to-back major championship titles after winning the ANA Inspiration in dramatic fashion in April, defeating Inbee Park in a playoff for a wire-to-wire victory. Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champ, is looking to claim her third major championship and move closer to the LPGA Hall of Fame. A victory would move her with three points of the 27 required. Kim is a six-time LPGA winner seeking her first title this year after winning in each of her first three seasons on tour.

Ariya Jutanugarn, Jin Young Ko, Stacy Lewis: 7:35 a.m., Thursday; 1:15 p.m., Friday

Jutanugarn is coming off a victory Sunday at the Kingsmill Championship, her first this year and the eighth of her career. She’s looking to add a second major to the Ricoh Women’s British Open title she won two years ago. Ko won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February. She’s becoming a fixture on leaderboards, with six top 10s in nine starts in this her rookie season. Lewis is in a year of transition after announcing last month that she is pregnant with her first child. She expects to make only a few more starts this summer before putting away the clubs after the Marathon Classic in July to prepare for the baby’s birth.

Full tee times

Thursday (May 31), Hole #1 / Friday (June 1), Hole #10

6:40 a.m. / 12:20 p.m. – Casey Danielson, Osceola, Wis.; Sophie Walker, England; (a) Patty Tavatanakit, Thailand

6:51 a.m. / 12:31 p.m. – Becky Morgan, Wales; (a) Celia Barquin Arozamena, Spain; Wichanee Meechai, Thailand

7:02 a.m. / 12:42 p.m. – Mel Reid, England; Gaby Lopez, Mexico; Kris Tamulis, Naples, Fla.

7:13 a.m. / 12:53 p.m. – (a) Maria Fassi, Mexico; Mo Martin, Altadena, Calif.; Angela Stanford, Saginaw, Texas

7:24 a.m. / 1:04 p.m. – Katherine Kirk, Australia; Charley Hull, England; Angel Yin, Arcadia, Calif.

7:35 a.m. / 1:15 p.m. – Nasa Hataoka, Japan; Jennifer Song, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Min Young Lee, Republic of Korea

7:46 a.m. / 1:26 p.m. – Karrie Webb, Australia; Alena Sharp, Canada; Lindy Duncan, Plantation, Fla.

7:57 a.m. / 1:37 p.m. – Paula Creamer, Pleasanton, Calif.; Brittany Lang, McKinney, Texas; Ryann O'Toole, San Clemente, Calif.

8:08 a.m. / 1:48 p.m. – Mi Jung Hur, Republic of Korea; Azahara Munoz, Spain; Teresa Lu, Chinese Taipei

8:19 a.m. / 1:59 p.m. – Julieta Granada, Paraguay; Sarah Kemp, Australia; (a) Kelsey Chugg, Salt Lake City, Utah

8:30 a.m. / 2:10 p.m. – Karine Icher, France; Jillian Hollis, Rocky River, Ohio; Nicole Broch Larsen, Denmark

8:41 a.m. / 2:21 p.m. – Lee Lopez, Whittier, Calif.; Sun Young Yoo, Republic of Korea; TBD

8:52 a.m. / 2:32 p.m. – Sarah Schober, Austria; (a) Lei Ye, People's Republic of China; Daniela Darquea, Ecuador

Thursday (May 31), Hole #10 / Friday (June 1), Hole #1

6:40 a.m. / 12:20 p.m. – Solar Lee, Republic of Korea; Jenny Suh, Fairfax, Va.; (a) Elizabeth Wang, San Marino, Calif.

6:51 a.m. / 12:31 p.m. – Klara Spilkova, Czech Republic; Daniela Holmqvist, Sweden; (a) Sophie Hausmann, Germany

7:02 a.m. / 12:42 p.m. – Pornanong Phatlum, Thailand; TBD; Ayako Uehara, Japan

7:13 a.m. / 12:53 p.m. – Haru (Harukyo) Nomura, Japan; (a) Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind.; TBD

7:24 a.m. / 1:04 p.m. – Danielle Kang, Las Vegas, Nev.; So Yeon Ryu, Republic of Korea; Anna Nordqvist, Sweden

7:35 a.m. / 1:15 p.m. – Ariya Jutanugarn, Thailand; Jin Young Ko, Republic of Korea; Stacy Lewis, The Woodlands, Texas

7:46 a.m. / 1:26 p.m. – Michelle Wie, Honolulu, Hawaii; Lexi Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla.; Jessica Korda, Bradenton, Fla.

7:57 a.m. / 1:37 p.m. – Shanshan Feng, People's Republic of China; Minjee Lee, Australia; Eun-Hee Ji, Republic of Korea

8:08 a.m. / 1:48 p.m. – Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky.; Cydney Clanton, Concord, N.C.; (a) Kristen Gillman, Austin, Texas

8:19 a.m. / 1:59 pm. – (a) Albane Valenzuela, Switzerland; Candie Kung, Chinese Taipei; Jacqui Concolino, Orlando, Fla.

8:30 a.m. / 2:10 p.m. – Cheyenne Woods, Phoenix, Ariz.; Kotono Kozuma, Japan; Celine Herbin, France

8:41 a.m. / 2:21 p.m. – (a) Yujeong Son, Republic of Korea; Paula Reto, South Africa; Tiffany Chan, Hong Kong China

8:52 a.m. / 2:32 p.m. – Grace Na, Oakland, Calif.; Yiyi Liu, People's Republic of China; (a) Kaylee Benton, Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Thursday (May 31), Hole #1 / Friday (June 1), Hole #10

12:20 p.m. / 6:40 a.m. – Ashleigh Buhai, South Africa; Rumi Yoshiba, Japan; Wei-Ling Hsu, Chinese Taipei

12:31 p.m. / 6:51 a.m. – Kim Kaufman, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Anne Van Dam, Netherlands; Supamas Sangchan, Thailand

12:42 p.m. / 7:02 a.m. – Sandra Gal, Germany; Jeong Eun Lee, Republic of Korea; Sarah Smith, Australia

12:53 p.m. / 7:13 a.m. – Chella Choi, Republic of Korea; Jane Park, Woodstock, Ga.; TBD

1:04 p.m. / 7:24 a.m. – Amy Yang, Republic of Korea; Lydia Ko, New Zealand; Nelly Korda, Bradenton, Fla.

1:15 p.m. / 7:35 a.m. – Sung Hyun Park, Republic of Korea; In-Kyung Kim, Republic of Korea; (a) Sophia Schubert, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

1:26 p.m. / 7:46 a.m. – Cristie Kerr, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Pernilla Lindberg, Sweden; Sei Young Kim, Republic of Korea

1:37 p.m. / 7:57 a.m. – Inbee Park, Republic of Korea; Moriya Jutanugarn, Thailand; In Gee Chun, Republic of Korea

1:48 p.m. / 8:08 a.m. – Brooke Henderson, Canada; Brittany Lincicome, Seminole, Fla.; Hye-Jin Choi, Republic of Korea

1:59 p.m. / 8:19 a.m. – (a) Lucy Li, Redwood Shores, Calif.; Megan Khang, Rockland, Mass.; Jihyun Kim, Republic of Korea

2:10 p.m. / 8:30 a.m. – Catriona Matthew, Scotland; TBD; Pei-Yun Chien, Chinese Taipei

2:21 p.m. / 8:41 a.m. – Katelyn Dambaugh, Goose Creek, S.C.; (a) Dylan Kim, Sachse, Texas; Giulia Molinaro, Italy

2:32 p.m. / 8:52 a.m. – Christine Song, Fullerton, Calif.; (a) Gaeun Song, Republic of Korea; (a) Olivia Cason, Owensboro, Ky.

Thursday (May 31), Hole #10 / Friday (June 1), Hole #1

12:20 p.m. / 6:40 a.m. – Ssu-Chia Cheng, Chinese Taipei; (a) Allisen Corpuz, Kapolei, Hawaii; Kaori Takayama, Japan

12:31 p.m. / 6:51 a.m. – (a) Emilia Migliaccio, Cary, N.C.; Xiyu Lin, People's Republic of China; Emily Kristine Pedersen, Denmark

12:42 p.m. / 7:02 a.m. – Olafia Kristinsdottir, Iceland; Minami Hiruta, Japan; (a) Linn Grant, Sweden

12:53 p.m. / 7:13 a.m. – Hyojoo Kim, Republic of Korea; (a) Robyn Choi, Australia; Madelene Sagstrom, Sweden

1:04 p.m. / 7:24 a.m. – Marina Alex, Wayne, N.J.; Mirim Lee, Republic of Korea; Ai Suzuki, Japan

1:15 p.m. / 7:35 a.m. – Jenny Shin, Torrance, Calif.; Lizette Salas, Azusa, Calif.; Fumika Kawagishi, Japan

1:26 p.m. / 7:46 a.m. – Austin Ernst, Seneca, S.C.; Ally McDonald, Fulton, Miss.; Georgia Hall, England

1:37 p.m. / 7:57 a.m. – Jeongeun6 Lee, Republic of Korea; Jodi Ewart Shadoff, England; Carlota Ciganda, Spain

1:48 p.m. / 8:08 a.m. – Mi Hyang Lee, Republic of Korea; Brittany Altomare, Tampa, Fla.; Caroline Masson, Germany

1:59 p.m. / 8:19 a.m. – Su-Hyun Oh, Australia; (a) Gina Kim, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, Thailand

2:10 p.m. / 8:30 a.m. – Jing Yan, People's Republic of China; (a) Celeste Dao, Canada; Nannette Hill, Pelham Manor, N.Y.

2:21 p.m. / 8:41 a.m. – Hyun Kyung Park, Republic of Korea; Maria Hernandez, Spain; (a) Dana Williams, Boca Raton, Fla.

2:32 p.m. / 8:52 a.m. – (a) Evelyn Arguelles, Mexico; Britney Yada, Hilo, Hawaii; Martina Edberg, Sweden

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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.”