The Highs and Lows from the Week in Golf

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Front 9 and Back 9, our staff will showcase the highs and lows from the world of golf. We start with the Front 9, which offers up the top moments and stories from this previous week, and then make the turn for the lowlights.
Front 9 Hole 1
I AM RORY, HEAR ME ROAR: Up until this point, Rory Sabbitini had recently just talked the talk. But with a playoff win over Jim Furyk and Bernhard Langer at the Colonial, the brash South African has again walked the walk, nabbing his fourth career PGA TOUR victory. Sabbatini had been threatening victory since the Masters. But, ultimately, his mouth created more headlines than his play. Now, his words don't ring so hollow.
Hole 2
ELEMENTARY, MR. WATSON: There have been plenty of major surprises in major championships over the years. You can now add Denis Watson to that list. Watson captured the Senior PGA Championship for his first win in 23 years. The 51-year-old ZImbabwean was a rising star on the PGA TOUR in the early '80s until a single swing, in which he hit a hidden tree stump, derailed his career forever -- or at least until Sunday. Watson proved once again that there is no greater second opportunity in professional sports than the Champions Tour.
Hole 3
BIG GAME HUNTER: After his victory on Sunday, Dane Anders Hansen has only two career titles to his credit on the European Tour. But, boy, does he know how to pick 'em. Both wins have come in the Euro Tour's version of THE PLAYERS - the BMW PGA Championship. Hansen nipped Justin Rose in a playoff at Wentworth, which added to his other victory in this event in 2002, when he cruised to a five-stroke win over Colin Montgomerie.
Hole 4
KIM POSSIBLE: There were 144 players in the field for this past week's LPGA Corning Classic. And with eight players named Kim in attendance, there was a 5.5 percent chance at least one of them would win. One did. Young Kim made a couple of late birdies Sunday to pull away from Paula Creamer and capture her first LPGA Tour title. That makes five different Kims who have won on tour since the start of the '05 season.
Hole 5
BIRDIE KIM: No, not the Birdie Kim of U.S. Women's Open fame, but Anthony Kim, the one who set the 2007 PGA TOUR record for consecutive birdies when he rolled in six straight in his opening round at Colonial. After a bogey at the 12th, Kim rode the birdie train all the way to the clubhouse and into a share of the Rd.1 lead. As impressive as that was, it was still two shy of the all-time record of eight in a row held by six different players, the last being Jerry Kelly at the 2003 Las Vegas Invitational.
Hole 6
WE'VE SAVED SOME SEATS FOR YOU TWO: It was announced this past week that world No. 2 (That seems odd, doesn't it?) Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie will be back in action this week at the Ginn Tribute Hosted By Annika. Though the LPGA is in good shape with players such as Ochoa, Creamer, Pressel and Gulbis, there's no question the two biggest names in the women's game are Wie and Annika. It also helps that Annika will actually be competing in the inaugural event she is hosting.
Hole 7
MR. LAS VEGAS: Tiger Woods wasn't playing this past week in Ft. Worth. Instead, he was partying in Las Vegas. Wood hosted his 10th annual Tiger Jam. Friday, he gave a private clinic and then attended a VIP concert for about 1,500 people with Hootie & The Blowfish on stage. Saturday, it was Bon Jovi who played before nearly 10,000 fans. Silent and live auctions were held, where everything from a putting lesson from Tiger and pro-am spots in Tiger's Target World Challenge and AT&T National (which reportedly fetched $95,000) were on offer to a trip for two to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China ($125,000). Woods hoped to raise $1 million for his Tiger Woods Foundation and local charities.
Hole 8
QUITE THE HAT TRICK: Love 'em or hate 'em, another team at Duke as racked up yet another national championship. The Lady Blue Devils cruised to a 15-stroke win over Purdue in the NCAA finals held at LPGA International's Legends Course in Daytona Beach, Fla. And the fact that it was the team's third straight title will undoubtedly rankle all the Duke haters out there. Arkansas' Stacy Lewis rallied to win the individual championship.
Hole 9
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?: Paul Claxton did more than just win for the first time in six years on the Nationwide Tour; he became the first player to cross the million-dollar threshold in career Nationwide earnings. The $108,000 he pocketed at the inaugural Melwood Prince George's County Open pushed his career tour total to $1,101,673. We weren't sure if making over $1 million on the Nationwide Tour was a good thing or not -- so we kept it right around the turn. Then again, a million dollars is a million dollars however or wherever you earn it.
Back 9 Hole 10
HERE WIE GO AGAIN: Another item that deserves a spot around the turn is Michelle Wie agreeing to a sponsors exemption to play in the PGA TOURs John Deere Classic in August. It was just a few weeks ago that her instructor, David Leadbetter, said that Wie would be forgoing mens events to focus on playing ' and trying to beat ' players of her own gender. So much for that. Wie will be competing in the event for the third straight year. She withdrew last year in the middle of the second round due to heat exhaustion. Wies last five rounds on the PGA TOUR have been 76-78-81-77-77.
Hole 11
THE CREAM IS RISING ... and then fading away. At one point on Sunday, Jim Furyk, Paula Creamer, Justin Rose and Nick Price were either in the lead, tied for the lead or within ear shot of the lead in their respective tournaments. But in the end, all four came out with the short end of the stick - Rose and Furyk losing in playoffs and Creamer and Price fading to three shots back of the winner.
Hole 12
THE BIG CAT'S SMALL FINISH: Of all the players who lost this past week, perhaps none had to feel more defeated than Eduardo Romero. The Argentine had a four-stroke lead on Saturday at the Senior PGA Championship before bogeying his final two holes to cut his advantage to two. Then, still leading Watson by a couple through 12 holes on Sunday, Romero bogeyed 13 and double bogeyed 14. That helped put Romero from 2 up to 2 down, where he ultimately finished.
Hole 13
WHAT'S A MILLION EUROS ANYWAY?: The European Tour announced recently that anyone who could capture the Irish Open and the BMW Championship in back-to-back weeks would also win a huge bonus of 1 million euros. Well, Padraig Harrington took a step in the right direction when he became the first Irishman to win the host country's championship in some 25 years. Then came the tour's flagship championship at Wentworth, ironically a place Harrington has bypassed in the past because he didn't like the course set-up. Heading into the weekend, Padraig was just two strokes out of the lead with a million thoughts dancing around his head. But course karma derailed him in the third round when he posted a 3-over 75 that pretty much simultaniously ended his run at a second consecutive title and the pot of gold that awaited.
Hole 14
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: Kelly Jo Dowd, a cancer-stricken mother whose dream of seeing her teenaged daughter, Dakoda, play in an LPGA event was realized last spring, died Thursday. She was 42. Kelly Jo spent her final years battling breast, bone and liver cancer, which spread to her brain in the final months of her life. She also spent her final years supporting her daughter's dreams, and being an inspiration to all those suffering through this terrible disease.
Hole 15
IT'S NOT YOU, MR. HOGAN: With a new date on the PGA TOUR schedule that doesn't see it coupled in back-to-back weeks with the Byron Nelson Championship, the Crown Plaza Championship suffered a from a lack of big name players. Not helping matters was the fact that the European Tour was staging it's version of THE PLAYERS, with eight of the top-15 players in the world in attendance.
Hole 16
IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT: Ms. 59. The Queen of Golf. Perhaps the all-time greatest player in the women's game. Oops, sorry about that. It was the other Sorenstam. As in Charotta. And it was Charlotta - and we repeat, not Annika - who owned the first-round lead at the Corning Classic, an event her sister won in 2004. Three days later the other Sorenstam finished 19 shots back of the winner and in a tie for 60th place.
Hole 17
JUST HOW LOW DO I HAVE TO GO?: A week after her maiden victory on the Ladies European Tour, Bettina Hauert again found herself in a position to win heading into the final round of the BMW Ladies Italian Open in Rome. So what did she do? The German simply went out and fired a sensational, course-record 10-under 62 ... to lose by a stroke. Her round, which included four birdies and two eagles on the back side, fell one shot shy of winner Trish Johnson, whose 6-under 66 got the job done.
Hole 18
DAMN KIDS!!!: It is very rare when a player does not return to an event to defend his or her title. But that was the case last weekend when Hee Won Han failed to show up at the LPGA Corning Classic. As much as she would have liked to have been on hand to have a go for the repeat win, her excuse was, well, very excusable - she is pregnant with her first child. At least Han now has something she can hold over her child's head everytime he or she gets Mom mad.
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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.

    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

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    Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

    By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

    SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

    The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

    Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

    In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

    Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

    Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

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    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

    It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

    Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.

    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.