One More for the Road
Also, I would like to take a few minutes to thank my sponsors: Saxon Capital; Alpha Golf; 4GEA.com; Accuflex; and the folks at The Golf Channel. None of what I have been able to do would have been possible without them.
My fifth of six exemptions was the Lake Erie Charity Classic at Peak 'n Peek Resort in New York. It went about like the rest of them. The only difference is I had a career changing experience after Friday's (my last) round.
My last nine on Friday, I realized I wasnt going to make the cut and pretty much just packed it in and started whacking driver on every hole and not giving two cents about where my ball went. Im not sure if its just not caring or if its a defense mechanism to take some of the blame off my poor golf. I didnt act like a terd or get all mad; I just didnt try. After signing my scorecard and a few autographs for the kids, Sissi introduced me to a guy from Cookeville (30 minutes from our home town) that she had met on the course that wanted to meet me.
This guy and his fiance had traveled all the way to New York using one of his vacation weeks just to watch me play golf. He also took additional time to watch me play in Richmond making that drive also, but never let me know he was there. He said he didnt want to bother me but just wanted to let me know how much he enjoyed watching me play golf. As he walked away, all I could think about was how I had just played my last nine holes with zero passion for what I was doing. How could I have been so inconsiderate. You just never know what impact you are having on other people.
Even though I shot a million in Lake Erie, the family and I still had a blast. They had tons of activities for them to do during the day and lots of night events, too. The most fun we had was playing night golf -- glow ball Putt-Putt. Me and the girls got paired with the men members of the Foltz family, Jerry and his 9-year-old son, Action Jackson.
Jacksons t-shirt pretty much sums up his worries: IF MOM SAYS NO JUST ASK DAD. Jackson has never heard the two letter word 'no' from his dad. When Foltzy No. 2 figured out he could take his left-handed putter and turn it around and swing it right handed it pretty much became a lob wedge with all-be-danged to the people on the hole in front of us. No one lost an eye and we all nearly peed in our pants the whole eighteen. On the outside looking in, Jerry and his son seem to have a beautiful relationship.
On to the Pete Dye Classic in Bridgeport, West Virginia for my last exemption -- unless I do something special. And nothing special happened. I hit the ball pretty decent for two days but my short game has just completely come unglued. I shot 76-74 and missed the 1-under cut by seven shots.
Heres an example of my putting prowess for the week. During Friday's round on No. 1 I putted claw-style and three jacked from 20 feet on a dead flat putt. Nos. 2, 3 and 4, I putted conventional, feeling the heebie geebies the whole time. Nos. 5 and 6, I putted left hand low and barely shook it in on 6 from 6 inches. No. 7, back to conventional and made a 20-footer that I thought I had pulled 2 feet. No. 8, conventional grip with right index finger pointing down the shaft trying to yipe it in on purpose instead of by accident. Failed. Back to conventional on No. 9, missing about a 10-footer for par -- but looking real cool doing it.
With tons of time to reflect on what has happened in the past year, there have been so many special moments with just a few disappointments score-wise along the way.
* The reception I received in Richmond was unsurpassed. I really feel I made many life-long friends during that event.
* The wonderful note Jason Gore took the time to leave in my locker the first week out and before he became a huge rock star at the U.S. Open. With each tournament, more and more players went out of their way to let me know they were feeling my plight and wishing me well.
* Peter Jacobsen and Sign Boy (Matt Grieser) bringing me up on stage at the CVS Pro-Am banquet acknowledging my success on The Golf Channel.
*The crowd of mostly my old members from Fairfield Glade taking a bus to the Knoxville Open. Sissi counted at one point 93 people watching me shoot 83 on Thursday.
*Getting it up and down on the 18th hole out of the bunker to extend the match and hitting the driver and 5-iron of my life on the 20th hole to one up my buddy DD in the 'Big Break II' final match.
*Getting to watch the video of my families' reactions as they saw the final shots during a party at Famous Daves restaurant given on my behalf.
*And many more special times that I will mention in future writings.
Although my confidence and golf game were badly bent, they were not broken.
My first week home I basically chilled and then regrouped and left for Nashville this past weekend. Sunday afternoon, I played a practice round with my PGA buddies Zeb Patten, Mike Bennett and Kelvin Burgin for the National Club Pro Qualifier at the Legends in Franklin to be played Monday and Tuesday.
The first round I pured it, but continued with my putting woes, shot 1 under and was three shots back, tied for seventh with four spots advancing to the 2006 CPC . Spent the next five hours on the putting green with UT Chattanooga golf coach Mark June. We worked on a good setup and pre-shot routine which I had gotten away from. It paid off big time. Tuesday I hit the ball not quite as well but just swished it from everywhere. I had seven birdies, shot 5 under and won by three shots.
My plans are to make the first alternate a happy boy when I get through tour school this fall and am ineligible for next year's event. In the meantime I am playing in a few Hooters events along with several corporate outings. I hope to come on from time to time to keep you updated on my happenings.
Signed: One of the 40 best Big Break players in the world, Kipper.
P.S. I cant wait for the BBIV to start. I know its going to be a homerun, enjoy the ride guys
Even with broken driver, Salinda beats Hagestad at U.S. Am
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With a trip to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals on the line, and with the Pacific Ocean staring him in the face, Isaiah Salinda piped a 330-yard drive down Pebble Beach’s 18th hole.
Not a bad poke with a replacement driver.
Salinda’s Round of 16 match against Stewart Hagestad got off to a rocky start Thursday afternoon with an awkward tee shot on the second hole.
“The ball came out weird, with no spin,” said Salinda’s caddie and former Stanford teammate, Bradley Knox. “He said, ‘Yeah, that felt weird.’”
Salinda looked at the bottom of his Callaway Epic driver and noticed a crack.
Worried that they'd have to play the rest of the round with only a 3-wood, Knox called a Callaway equipment rep, told him the issue, and was relieved to hear he'd meet them at the back of the third tee. Salinda teed off the next hole with a 3-wood – he’d taken driver there all week – and wound up in a tricky spot, on the side of a mound, leading to a bogey.
“Then they came over and cranked the driver,” Knox said. “It was like a NASCAR pit crew.”
The replacement driver was nearly identical – same head, same loft, same weighting – except for the lie angle. The new one was a degree flatter than his gamer, which led to a few more pulled shots than usual.
“It took a little while to recover the mindset that we’d had the rest of the week,” Knox said.
Salinda downplayed the equipment malfunction – “I just had to adjust, and it wasn’t really a problem” – but he didn’t play well early. After trailing for just one hole during his first two matches, he was 4 over par and 2 down through 10 holes against Hagestad, the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who’d finally made match play after eight previous failed attempts.
On 11, Salinda finally got going, stuffing a wedge shot to 10 feet and recording his first birdie. He followed with three clutch pars before another good approach on 15, leading to a conceded birdie to square the match.
On the home hole, Salinda bombed his drive about 30 yards past Hagestad and had 220 yards to the flag. It was a perfect 4-iron distance, and he sent a rocket into a blinding sunset.
“I never saw it,” Salinda said. “I told my caddie: ‘Where is that? I have no idea.’ But it felt good.”
A lone voice shrieked as the ball landed on the green. They knew the shot had to be tight. Years ago, Stanford senior Chris Meyers had made an albatross on 18 for a walkoff victory with Lee Janzen at the PGA Tour Champions’ First Tee Open. Knox thought they’d come close to duplicating the feat.
“Probably almost had a Chris Meyers,” Knox said, chuckling, as they walked up the fairway.
The shot never had a chance to drop – turns out the spectator was well-lubricated – but it still was only 35 feet away, for eagle. Salinda cozied his putt to a few feet and could only watch as Hagestad’s last-ditch 25-footer stopped a rotation short of the cup.
The Round of 16 victory continued a breakout summer for Salinda. His 15th-place showing at the NCAA Championship kick-started a three-month stretch in which he’s finally taken his game to the next level.
“He’s shown flashes of brilliance before,” Knox said, “and he’s had the game. But now he has the consistency and the confidence that it’ll come back time and time again.”
Salinda shot 62 in the third round and won the Pacific Coast Amateur, which boasts one of the strongest fields of the summer. Then he finished third in stroke play at the Western Amateur before a quarterfinal loss in match play.
Now he’s one step closer to his biggest victory yet – even with a backup driver.
Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech
INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas' waited 77 minutes to line up her 4-foot putt to take the lead Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship.
She refused to let the weather delay get to her.
When the 29-year-old California player returned to the course, she quickly rolled in the birdie putt, finished her round with another birdie at No. 18 and took a two-shot lead over Angel Yin and Nasa Hataoka with a course record-tying 10-under 62.
''I didn't even think about it the entire time,'' Salas said. ''I was hanging out with Danielle (Kang) and she was giving me her silly dad jokes. So it definitely kept my mind off of it. I was really excited to be back and to finish off with a birdie, from off the green, was the icing on the cake.''
It's the lowest score by a female player at the Brickyard Crossing.
Defending champion Lexi Thompson opened last year's inaugural tournament with a 63, one shot off of Mike McCullough's 62 in the PGA Champions Tour's 1999 Comfort Classic.
But the way the saturated 6,456-yard course played Thursday, Salas needed virtually every putt of her career-best round to reach the top of the leaderboard.
The morning starters took advantage of overnight rain by shooting right at the pins.
And nobody made a bigger early splash than Yin, the 19-year-old Californian who finished second in last year's rookie of the year race.
She opened with five straight birdies and shot 8-under 28 on the front nine. Only a par on No. 6 prevented her from becoming the sixth LPGA player to shoot 27 on nine holes. South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee did it most recently at the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup.
Yin also tied the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.
Her only bobble came with a bogey on No. 13 and she closed out her best career round with a birdie on No. 18.
''I have never done that before,'' she said. ''I had nine putts, I think, on the front nine, which is incredible. I've never had that many little putts. But it just felt good. Everything was working.''
Last year's runner-up for rookie of the year has never won an LPGA Tour title in her home country though she did win in a playoff at Dubai on the Ladies European Tour.
Everybody seemed to find their groove Thursday.
Eighty-eight of the 143 players shot under par and 54 were 3-under or better.
And with more rain in the forecast Thursday night and Friday, the scores could go even lower as a star-studded cast chases down Salas, Yin and Hataoka.
Four players, including Kang and Jane Park, are three shots behind.
Seven players, including last year's tournament runner-up Lydia Ko, are four shots back. Ko was tied with Yin for the lead - until she knocked her tee shot on the par-4, 16th into the water. She wound up with a double bogey and birdied the final hole to finish with 66.
After taking a monthlong break to recover from physical and mental exhaustion, Thompson looked relaxed and comfortable in her return to the course. She shot 68.
''It was hard for me to take the break because I didn't want to show weakness,'' she said. ''But at the same time, it takes a lot of strength to acknowledge that you need that kind of break and just take time for yourself, especially when you're in the spotlight like this.''
Salas, meanwhile, started fast with an eagle on the par-5 second and finished with a flurry.
She birdied three straight holes on the front side to get to 5-under, added birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 to get to 7-under and then birdied the final three holes - around the approaching storm - to put herself in contention for her first title since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.
''I have been just striking the ball really well this entire year, and just glad some more putts dropped today,'' she said. ''I was really refreshed. I didn't practice at all last week, and I was just really eager and excited to be back.''
Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters
GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.
Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''
The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.
Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.
Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.
Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals
After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.
Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.
But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.
Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."
The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.