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No. 1 ranking, awards at stake in Evian

By Randall MellSeptember 12, 2017, 5:14 pm

There’s more than a major championship at stake at the Evian Championship in France this week.

The Rolex world No. 1 ranking and Rolex Annika Major Award are also up for grabs.

No. 1 So Yeon Ryu, No. 2 Lexi Thompson and No. 3 Sung Hyun Park will be grouped together in the first two rounds.

Thompson and Park are both in position to end Ryu’s 12-week reign at world No. 1 at Evian Resort Golf Club. The trio is scheduled to go off Thursday at 2:18 a.m. ET.

Ryu, Thompson and Park are also all in the running to claim the Annika Major Award for the best performances in the majors this year. Thompson has to win this week to be eligible for the award.

Plus, the trio is in position to make a big move at the Rolex Player of the Year Award, with double points up for grabs. Ryu leads the points standings, but Thompson, Park and I.K. Kim could overtake her this week.

As far as the world rankings go, Thompson could move to No. 1 with a finish of fourth or better this week, depending what Ryu and Park do.

Park can go to No. 1, but only if she wins.

Ryu said Tuesday that the No. 1 ranking has come with more pressure than she has let on, and it may have been showing up in her performances this summer. Ryu has two victories this year, including a major (the ANA Inspiration), and she leads the LPGA in top-10 finishes (10), but she said she hasn’t felt comfortable over her last four starts. She missed the cut at the Cambia Portland Classic in her last start two weeks ago.


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“After the U.S. Open, to be honest, I haven’t played well,” Ryu said. “I always feel comfortable in Scotland, but even though I was feeling great, I couldn’t play well there.”

Ryu said she resolved to arrive this week with a new mindset, to better accept and embrace the pressures that come with the No. 1 ranking.

“Before, I didn’t really want to take that pressure, and I just wanted to ignore that,” Ryu said. “Now, I’m just trying to face the pressure.”

Ryu said she has felt escalating pressure from fans, who she knows only mean to encourage her, to cheer her toward the Rolex Player of the Year Award and other honors. She said she also has felt escalating internal pressure.

“I expect a lot from myself,” Ryu said about carrying the No. 1 ranking. “I never allow myself to make bogey, or finish outside the top 10.”

How is she changing her thinking? She said she isn’t expecting perfection.

“I’m a human being,” she said. “As long as I did my best, I should let that go.”

Thompson and Park arrived in France coming off victories in their last starts. They are co-favorites among the bookmakers. SkyBet, Paddy Power and SportingBet make both 8-to-1 favorites to win. Ryu is 14-to-1 with SkyBet and 16-to-1 with Paddy Power and SportingBet.

Thompson won the Indy Women in Tech Championship last weekend. She has two victories and five second-place finishes this year.

The No. 1 ranking, Thompson said, is a goal she is pursuing, but . . .

“A lot of us out here want to be No. 1, but it’s not something we can put on our minds and put that pressure on ourselves,” Thompson said. “We just have to work on our games and let it go once we get to tournaments and show the hard work pays off.”

Park won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in her last start. She has won two of her last four LPGA starts, dating back to the U.S. Women’s Open in July. She is in position to make a run at joining Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win both the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”