Bader Records Personal Best to Lead in NY
Bogey on the opening hole and on the par-4 17th marred Baders otherwise magnificent round, consisting of six birdies and a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th from 117 yards out.
Me and my caddie, Amy, were contemplating what the number was because I had 108 to the front and she had 106, Bader said. I'm like, 'All right, let's do 107, then add 10 to the pin.' I'm never exactly precise with my numbers, which is okay; it's just how I've always done it.
I pulled a good pitching wedge. I almost pulled a 9. She kind of looked at me funny and said, 'How about hitting a hard pitching wedge, stay aggressive with it.' That's exactly what I did. It never wavered really. It was on line the whole way.
I just kind of drew a blank from there. I just remember jumping up and down.
Today marked a huge turn around for Bader ' who just this month underwent a full-day health evaluation with Dr. Rippe at Rippe Health Assessment in Celebration, Fla. Progress reports on Bader's improvement can be seen monthly on Golf Academy Live.
Just one week ago - to the day - the second-year LPGA Tour member recorded 12-over-par 84 in the first round of the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship at Mount Vintage, so her round Thursday was a tremendous turnaround in anyones estimation.
Bader bested her career-low round of 67 by one stroke - ironically, she recorded the 67 during the first round of the 2001 Asahi Ryokuken International.
Bader was ranked 431st with $25,422 in career earnings at the end of 2001, forcing her to return to Q-school at the end of the season, where she tied for 10th to gain exempt status. This season she has won a paltry $7,041 in eight tournaments.
I really didn't know what I thought coming out after getting my card the first year. Yeah, I knew it was going to be difficult. It has been very difficult. There's times where I'm like, 'What am I doing out here? Why am I here? Is this worth it?'
Today definitely makes it worth it, you know. Today was a good day.
Sherri Steinhauer, winner of five career victories, made her season debut in the pressroom Thursday.
I haven't gotten off to a great start this year. But I've been patient. I feel like my game's coming around, she said. Basically, right now, you know, it's just Thursday - theres a long way to go till Sunday.
Steinhauer hit nine fairways and 13 greens in regulation during the opening round, recording seven birdies and a bogey at the turn on the par-4 ninth.
Early-round leaders Bader and Steinhauer watched as native New Yorker Diaz and her legion of followers marched up the leaderboard.
My father runs a golf school in Cooperstown, New York, in the summertime. My father and mother are here today. My sister, as well, joined us. And my husband is here, Diaz, a former Scotia, N.Y. resident said of her personal gallery.
We'll have a few more people out tomorrow. My parents will not be here, but some friends from Scotia will be coming out tomorrow and throughout the weekend. It's nice to be able to see my parents out because that doesn't happen very much. Same with my sister. She doesn't get a chance to really get out here that much. Then, you know, on the weekend, to have friends that you haven't seen in six months or so, it's just a nice feeling to know there's people in the crowd that are cheering for you and excited when you make a birdie.
Diaz, a recent first time winner on the LPGA Tour (2002 Welchs/Circle K Championship) had a flawless front nine and only a slight hiccup on the par-3 15th where she made bogey after three-putting.
I think after anyone wins, you have added confidence. I know that's what's happened to me. But, you know, there are still so many golf holes to be played, you know, and a lot of birdies to be made.
I think the next three days, all the players who are on the board, whether or not they've been in contention or not, they're still all going to go out with the same purpose and trying to make as many birdies as possible, as well as people who might not be on the leaderboard yet, I'm sure they'll creep their way up there.
Jill McGill, Val Skinner, Jung Yeon Lee and Laurie Brower are all tied at 5-under.
Less than a week ago, Corning Country Club was blanketed with snow. Thursday, Corning experienced picture-perfect weather with temperatures in the 70s for the first round of the LPGA Corning Classic. Over half the field recorded par or better, which is a direct reflection of the conditions at this golf course. Good weather is expected through the weekend.
Full-field scores from the Corning Classic
Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:
The Monday morning headline will be …
REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.
RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.
MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.
JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.
Who or what will be the biggest surprise?
HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.
LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.
BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.
COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.
Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?
HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.
LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.
BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.
COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.
What will be the winning score?
HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.
LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.
BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.
COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.
Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty
Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.
Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.
This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):
While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:
Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.
McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.
Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.
“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”
McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.
“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”
He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.
Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign
A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.
Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.
Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.
And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”