Major Splash

By Mercer BaggsApril 6, 2009, 4:00 pm

 
WHERE EAGLES DARE: Brittany Lincicome eagled the 72nd hole to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Lincicome started the final hole trailing good friend Kristy McPherson by one, then struck a hybrid from 210 yards to 4 feet. McPherson missed a birdie putt to ensure a playoff, prior to Lincicome knocking in the winning effort.
 
Backspin This triumph ' in the eyes of the fans and media ' will get lost over the years, but Lincicome's shot on 18 was as clutch as any in major history. Perhaps the coolest part was that, with everything on the line, she and McPherson still high-fived fans while making their way to the 18th green. Great finish all-around to the first major of the season.
 


 
MISS AMERICA(S): For the first time since Cristie Kerr won the 2007 U.S. Women's Open, an American-born player is a major champion. The final threesome was all American, including Lincicome, McPherson and Kerr. Kerr birdied the final hole to match McPherson, but was upstaged by Lincicome.
 
Backspin One American no where to be found was Michelle Wie. After opening in 1-under 71, she shot back-to-back 81s, before finishing with another 71 for a tie for 67th among the 70 players to make the cut.
 


 
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN HIS LUCKY NUMBER: Paul Casey, playing in his 77th PGA Tour event, won for the first time, defeating J.B. Holmes on the first hole of sudden death at the Shell Houston Open. Casey bogeyed the par-4 18th, which was playing well above an average of five strokes for the field during the day, to force overtime, but won it with a bogey in the extra session as Holmes, who had finished nearly 2 1/2 hours earlier, hit his tee shot into the water. Had Holmes won he would have qualified for the Masters.
 
Backspin The win should give Casey some momentum heading into Augusta, where he will try and become the fifth player to claim the green jacket after winning the week before on Tour. The 31-year-old Englishman moved to sixth in the world ranking.
 


 
WHAT WERE YOU WATCHING?: Golf fans were faced with the perfect clicker situation Sunday as both the Kraft Nabisco and the Shell Houston Open were winding down at about the same time. With Fred Couples still in the mix in Houston, and the final holes coming up, Lincicome and company were wrapping up the first major of the season in Rancho Mirage.
 
Backspin If you could only have watched one ' not knowing how it was going to play out ' you had to go with the Kraft. It featured three intriguing characters, all in the same, final group. And it was a major. Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, you didn't have to choose. You just had to hope you were watching the right event at the right time ' trust me, it was worth missing Couples implode to watch the final few holes on the LPGA.
 


 
PREVIEW WE DIDN'T WANT TO SEE: Shell Houston Open officials tried to simulate Augusta National conditions as much as possible. Unfortunately, they had no control over Mother Nature, who whipped her winds all over the Redstone course causing a suspension of play Thursday and a brutally difficult elements Sunday.
 
Backspin Phil Mickelson badly missed the cut and it may have been the best thing that could have happened to him. He didn't have to stick around for an extra-long weekend and worry about wearing himself out. Hopefully what we saw Sunday, particularly in the final round, will not carry over to Augusta: Padraig Harrington 77; Greg Norman 81; Sergio Garcia 81.
 


 
BAD DRIVE: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion Dustin Johnson was arrested last Monday in South Carolina and charged with driving under the influence.
 
Backspin For a professional tour that doesn't like to see its players with their shirt tails untucked or faces unshaven, this won't go over well in Ponte Vedra Beach. After the Masters, it could be a little while before we see Mr. Johnson again at a Tour event.
 


 
MR. MULLIGAN: Seve Ballesteros spoke publicly for the first time since the world learned of his fight with a cancerous brain tumor. In a two-part Spanish newspaper interview, Ballesteros spoke positively despite being 33 pounds less than he was before being admitted to the hospital.
 
Backspin Ballesteros spoke of opening a course near his home in northern Spain. He also spoke of having his life return to normal. It's hard to imagine his life ' at any time ' as anything less than extraordinary.
 


 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee defeated reigning British Amateur champion Reiner Sexton, 2 and 1, in the Georgia Cup. ... Michael Hoey won his first European Tour event in Portugal. ... Australian Michael Sim won by six on the Nationwide Tour.
 
BackspinFor $1,000 I couldn't have told you who the reigning British Amateur champion was. He sounds like a mountain climber. ... Maybe Hoey could be Sexton's Sherpa. ... So, for once, it was the LPGA who produced the only American winner of the week.
 

 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Shell Houston Open
  • Full Coverage ' Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Complete News Headlines
  • Getty Images

    NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:00 pm

    The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

    After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

    Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

    Scoring:

    TV Times (all times ET):

    Tuesday
    11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
    4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

    Wednesday
    4-8PM: Match-play finals

    Getty Images

    Davis: USGA learned from setup errors at Shinnecock

    By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 4:51 pm

    With the U.S. Open set to return to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years, USGA executive director Mike Davis insists that his organization has learned from the setup mistakes that marred the event the last time it was played on the Southampton, N.Y., layout.

    Retief Goosen held off Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open back in 2004, but the lasting image from the tournament may have been tournament officials spraying down the seventh green by hand during the final round after the putting surface had become nearly unplayable. With the course pushed to the brink over the first three days, stiff winds sucked out any remaining moisture and players struggled to stay on the greens with 30-foot putts, let alone approach shots.

    Speaking to repoters at U.S. Open media day, Davis offered candid reflections about the missteps that led to the course overshadowing the play during that infamous final round.

    "I would just say that it was 14 years ago. It was a different time, it was different people, and we as an organzation, we learned from it," Davis said. "When you set up a U.S. Open, it is golf's ultimate test. It's probably set up closer to the edge than any other event in golf, and I think that the difference then versus now is we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands.

    "And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what really happened then was just a lack of water."

    Davis pointed to enhancements like firmness and moisture readings for the greens that weren't available in 2004, and he noted that meterological data has evolved in the years since. With another chance to get his hands on one of the USGA's favorite venues, he remains confident that tournament officials will be able to better navigate the thin line between demanding and impossible this time around.

    "There are parts that I think we learned from, and so I think we're happy that we have a mulligan this time," Davis said. "It was certainly a bogey last time. In fact maybe even a double bogey, and equitable stroke control perhaps kicked in."

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    UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

    UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

    Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

    Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

    WGCA First Team All-Americans

    • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
    • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
    • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
    • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
    • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
    • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
    • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
    • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
    • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
    • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
    • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
    • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
    Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

    Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

    By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

    Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

    Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

    The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.