Wiesy Does It

By Mercer BaggsNovember 15, 2009, 10:26 pm

Michelle Wie

YES WIE CAN: Michelle Wie earned her first LPGA title, birdieing the final hole to win the Lorena Ochoa Invitational by two strokes over Paula Creamer. Wie, who entered the event with four top-3 finishes on the season, shot 3-under 69 Sunday to secure that previously elusive maiden trophy.
Backspin I don't lean one way or the other towards liking Wie, but she's great for the sport. She's by far the most recognizable female golfer in the U.S. That she's a polarizing figure only enhances her mass appeal. Her success – especially if she can become a dominating, Tiger Woods-like figure – gives the tour its best chance to succeed. So, good for Wie. Good for the LPGA. Good for women's golf.
Tiger Woods

BWERE OF TIGER: Tiger Woods won the JBWere Masters, shooting 4-under 68 Sunday for a two-stroke victory in Melbourne, Australia. The victory was Woods' seventh world-wide on the season and the 82nd of his career around the globe. It was his first, however, on the continent.
Backspin Woods earned his $3 million appearance fee and then some. It was just a week ago in the spot we joked – half-joked – that Woods had lost his edge. Seems he quickly regained it, even if he did so against Francois Delamontange and the fifth best left-handed player in the world. Woods has one more tournament on his 2009 schedule, his own Chevron World Challenge in two weeks. Then it's three months off – and three months to figure out how to beat that Mickelson fella.

Stephen Ames

AMES TO PLEASE: Stephen Ames captured the PGA Tour season finale, defeating George McNeill and Justin Leonard in a playoff at the Children's Miracle Network Classic. The 45-year-old shot 8-under 64 on Disney's Magnolia Course to overcome a three-stroke deficit and work his way into his first playoff on Tour. He then birdied the second extra hole for his fourth career Tour title.
Backspin Aside from Ames taking home the $828,000 first-place check, a few other players walked away winners. Jimmy Walker and Nicholas Thompson both started the week outside the top 125 on the money list, but finished well enough to earn their Tour cards for next season. Former PGA champion Rich Beem also shot 68-68 over the weekend at the Magic Kingdom to secure his spot inside the magic number.

David Duval

DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: David Duval failed to earn exempt status on the PGA Tour for 2010 after missing the cut at the Children's Miracle Network Classic. Duval started the week at 125th on the money list but shot 76-73 and ultimately finished 130th. He will have conditional status on Tour next year and would have to get through the final stage of Q-School to earn full status.
Backspin For those of you hoping the U.S. Open was Duval's version of 'Pulp Fiction' and he would make a John Travolta-like comeback you'll have to settle for 'Look Who's Talking.' Bethpage was just a one-off. The good news, though, is that if Duval is ever to win again it will likely come at a major, somewhere where even par is a good score and 74 doesn't kill you. Duval may never have a full career resurrection, but maybe he can have a 'Look Who's Talking Too.' 

Doug Barron

JUST SAY NO: Doug Barron took the PGA Tour to federal court in Memphis, Tenn., trying to get a judge to issue an injunction that would allow him to play in the upcoming second stage of Tour Q-School. Barron, 40, was the first player to be suspended under the Tour's anti-doping policy. He received a one-year banishment.
Backspin Barron was still waiting late Sunday evening for a ruling. Neither party, though, comes off as the overwhelming good guy. Barron was told he wasn't allowed to compete on Tour while taking medication to boost his testosterone level, and he did. That's a violation. On the other hand, Barron played in only one event on Tour in 2009 and he just happened to get 'randomly' tested? That's pretty shady. The fact that commissioner Tim Finchem has complete autonomy to decide a person's fate if they test positive for recreational drugs doesn't wash either. Trust is definitely a big issue.
UBS Hong Kong Open

THE RACE IS ALMOST OVER: Gregory Bourdy won the European Tour's UBS Hong Kong Open by two strokes. The triumph was the third of the Frenchman's career and booked him a spot in the upcoming finale, the Dubai World Championship. Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, finished runner-up and gained a slight lead over Lee Westwood atop the tour's money list. The winner of the inaugural Race to Dubai will collect an additional $1.5 million.
Backspin The Race to Dubai seemed fairly exciting when it was first announced. Fortunately, McIlroy and Westwood are providing some flavor or it could have all of the thrill of a 'Green Acres' remake. We wondered at the beginning of the year if this concept would be better than the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It isn't. The purse was cut by 25 percent, PGA Tour players didn't get as involved as anticipated, and publicity surrounding the RTD mirrored that of a straight-to-DVD movie. Of course, McIlroy doesn't have a problem with it. The bonus money he makes off of this will help him pay for his new Lamborghini.

Mallory Code

IN MEMORY: Mallory Code died Monday at a Tampa-area hospital after a life-long battle with cystic fibrosis. She was 25. Code helped her high school team win a state title in golf and accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Florida. She won multiple amateur titles and graduated from UF in August with an English degree. [Above photos courtesy: gatorzone.com]
Backspin We became familiar with Code four years ago. She was an exceptional and brave young woman who never once asked, 'Why me?' She played the piano, scored 1,340 on her SATs, danced tap and ballet, loved football, and recently started a Web site that helps families save money on groceries with links to online coupons. She will be greatly missed and forever remembered by all the lives she touched in her 25 years.
Nick Faldo

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Nick Faldo was officially knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. ... Kevin Streelman won the $1 milllion Kodak Challenge prize. ... Duval and Robert Garrigus were the two players to fall out of the top 125 on the money list after the Disney event.
Backspin He's not an official British Knight without the shoes. ... Streelman made the right scores on the right holes this year. It might appear to be blind, stupid luck, but Streelman was well aware of his situation down the stretch and came through. ... Hard to feel sorry for people who made over $620,000 this year.
American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.