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Players sound off on Evian controversies

By Randall MellSeptember 15, 2017, 5:27 pm

How did players feel about the LPGA’s decision to wipe out scores after Thursday’s abbreviated start because of bad weather at the Evian Championship and then shorten the competition to 54 holes?

Here’s a compilation of reactions from player transcripts after players completed rounds on Friday:

On wiping out scores ...

Jessica Korda: “It sucked because I was playing so well yesterday, and some people weren't playing so well yesterday, that are playing well today, and there's nothing I can do about that. I just need to concentrate on myself. I was annoyed until about 9 PM last night, and then I was like, `All right, screw it. When I wake up, it's a new day. What's done is done, and we'll just keep moving forward.’ So that's what happened ...

“I would have liked to have seen them keep the scores. Obviously, looking at this weather, I see what they were talking about, in terms of it's not going to be fair, but when is it ever fair? Which is one thing that I kept saying yesterday, is you can go back as many tournaments as you want, the morning to the afternoon, when is it ever fair? That's golf. It's an outdoor sport. It's never going to be the same. But I can see what they're talking about. The golf course is totally different today.”

Sung Hyun Park: “To be honest, I would be lying if I said I wasn't surprised, but what I did was I just wanted to focus on my game today and go on.”

Laura Davies: “I thought it was the fairest thing to do. I didn't think they would do it, because I don't necessarily think the LPGA officials are all that fair. They like it to be, kind of down the line, and no gray area. So I was surprised, happy surprised, because I just thought the conditions yesterday morning were virtually unplayable ...

“You've got to look at the bigger picture, I think. Not that we ever do, because we're all very selfish. Professional golfers are selfish. We're all about ourselves trying to do the best we can do, and you don't see it as the whole picture.”

Lydia Ko: “Nobody wants to make it a 54-hole event, but that's why it was such a tough decision. But with the weather, it's something that's totally out of your control, and I don't think they were expecting it to be as drastic as it was yesterday. When that happens, you just have to go with it. You can't please 100 percent of the people. I think that's the thing at the end. But you just have to go with it.”

In-Kyung Kim: “I think it would have been very unfair [not to wipe out scores], to be honest, if it were an advantage for the major, because today is so nice. If we just played, and then came back in the morning, it would have been just at least four shots different.”

Katherine Kirk: “I don't know. I was on the fence, actually. Obviously, the golf course yesterday was unplayable afterwards, but we did get eight holes in, so maybe we could have gone out there this morning, re-started and had at least eight holes under our belt.

“It's a tough call to make either way. You're going to make some people happy, some people mad ... It was windy all morning, and it wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible to play. Like I said, eight holes were fine, but then, yeah, right at the end it was the worst conditions I've ever seen.”

On shortening the event to 54 holes ...

Davies: “I think they made the right decision because 54 holes, 72 holes, someone has got to play the best. Ultimately, I don't think it matters.”

Kirk: “A little bit surprised, but with the weather forecast maybe for Saturday-Sunday, they thought we'd be lucky to finish. I don't know what the thinking is, but I'm guessing they considered it, but obviously something made them decide on 54.”

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."