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N. Korda grabs 54-hole HSBC lead week after sister's win

By Randall MellMarch 3, 2018, 2:22 pm

The Sister Act is playing across the LPGA stage in Singapore.

Nelly Korda set herself up for a Sunday run at winning the HSBC Women’s World Championship just a week after her older sister, Jessica, won the Honda LPGA Thailand.

Korda, 19, caught fire Saturday to overtake Danielle Kang as the leader on Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course. With a 7-under-par 65, Korda moved to 15 under overall, a shot better than Kang (70).

Brooke Henderson (65) and Minjee Lee (68) are four shots behind.

Jessica (68) is only five shots back along with Michelle Wie (66), Jin Young Ko (67) and Marina Alex (70).

If Nelly can break through to win her first LPGA title, the Korda sisters will join Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the only sister combo to win LPGA titles. Annika won 72 times on tour, Charlotta once. They won in back-to-back weeks in 2000.

Like the golf world at large, Nelly marveled watching Jessica win in Thailand in Jessica’s first event back after a painful and complex surgical reconstruction of her jaw in the offseason. Jessica underwent the procedure to alleviate severe headaches.

“I'm definitely inspired by her win,” Nelly said. “It definitely motivated me a bunch. It was the first tournament of the year and for her to come and crush it the way she did, it was definitely inspiring, and, hopefully, we'll see where tomorrow takes me. She's still there. So she still has a chance. Everyone does.”

Full-field scores from the HSBC Women’s World Championship

Nelly will take a 54-hole lead into the final round of an LPGA event for just the second time in her young career. She had the lead going into Sunday at the Marathon Classic last year, shot 74 and ended up tying for eighth.

“I'll definitely be a little nervous,” Nelly said. “I'm just going to take it shot by shot, really. There are so many great girls bunched up on the leaderboard, close to my score. It's going to be a tough one tomorrow.”

Nelly came from four shots back at Saturday’s start to overtake Kang, the 36-hole leader. Nelly did so with a hard charge in the middle of her round, making five birdies in a six-hole stretch. She was playing alongside Kang in what turned out to be an entertaining back-and-forth duel on the back nine.

“She's a great player,” Kang said. “She shot really well last week, too. I think she made six birdies in a row last week. But, yeah, at the end of the day, I worry about my own game. It was fun, though.”

Fun for fans in Singapore.

Korda tied Kang with a birdie at the 11th, dropped a shot back with a bogey at the 12th, matched birdies with Kang at the 13th and 14th and then tied Kang for the lead again when Kang made bogey at the 15th. They took turns with the lead coming home after that, until Kang dropped a shot at the last.

“I got unlucky on the last hole, hit it in the fairway and end up in a patch of sand, and it plugged,” Kang said.

Korda was asked if she would seek any advice from her sister with Jessica also still in the mix.

“I just usually talk to my dad and mom about this,” Nelly said. “Jess is still right there on the leaderboard. I see her. But she'll definitely give me a piece of advice.”

The Kordas are quite the athletic family.

Nelly and Jessica’s parents were tennis stars. Their father, Petr, won the Australian Open in 1998. Their mother, Regina, was also world-class tennis player. Their younger brother, Sebastian, 17, won the Australian Open junior title in January on the 20th anniversary of Petr’s title.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”