Bauers Star Continues to Rise

By Martha BrendleNovember 21, 2002, 5:00 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Hard work has paid off for 22-year-old Beth Bauer of Tampa, Fla. Growing up, Bauer dreamed of playing golf on the LPGA Tour. In 2001 she made her dream came true but it was a long, hard road she traveled on the way.
Bauer, a member of the 1999 Duke NCAA championship team and two-time member of the Curtis Cup team (1998, 2000), turned pro in the spring of 2000 fully expecting to qualify to play on the LPGA Tour later that year.
Things didnt quite turn out the way she planned. After missing the cut at qualifying school in the fall of 2000, Bauer found herself without a place to play.
Bauer ultimately resigned herself to playing on the SBC Futures Tour.
Missing Q-school was really heartbreaking for me, Bauer said. I didnt want to play on the Futures Tour but I knew I had to. Looking back it was a great experience and I wouldnt give it up for anything.
It was there that she learned how to live on the road and compete. Bauer won four times and recorded 12 additional top-10 finishes in 19 starts while playing the Futures Tour and was named Player and Rookie of the Year after setting a single-season earnings record of $84,529.
Playing on the Futures Tour and winning four times was a huge confidence builder for me, Bauer said. After missing the cut at Q-school, I was uncertain of my ability, but as the year went by and I started winning on the Futures Tour, I gained back the belief that I was good enough to compete. The Futures Tour helped me adjust to the life of a professional golfer.
The 2002 season was no walk in the park for the native Floridian. After a very successful year on the developmental tour, she was now playing in the big league and was struggling with her game. Her best finish in the first seven events she played was a tie for 23rd. Her worst period fell during the months of April and May when she missed three cuts.
Inconsistency was her greatest foe. Bauer was shooting rounds in the 60s, yet recording at least one round in the high 70s that would lead her awry.
She struggled early in the year, persevered and the second half of the year she came on strong, LPGA Tour rules official Janet Lindsay said. Despite frustration, she never gave up.
Everything started to click at the Asahi Ryokuken International. It was there that she recorded four lackluster yet consistent rounds that resulted in a tie for 16th and a double-digit paycheck of $15,937.
Asahi was a huge tournament for me mentally ' to breakthrough and get a top 20, the former Duke All-American (1999-2000) said. That tournament was huge for my confidence.
The following week Bauer made it into the top 10 for the first time in her LPGA Tour career when she finished in second place, just two strokes behind the winner.
Everything started to come together and I started playing well,' she said.
By the end of this summer she would record her second top-10 ' a second-place finish at the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.
Beths a good player. I really like her as a player and as a person, Hall of Fame member Beth Daniel commented. Shes real solid - her short game is very, very good. She's a solid driver of the ball and she uses her irons well. But her short game puts her over the top.
Six top-10 finishes and a lot of perseverance got her to where she is today: Rookie of the Year, 19th on the money list with $460,659 in seasons earnings, and the only rookie to make it into the season-ending ADT Tour Championship.
Once I knew that I would retain my tour card, I started to focus on higher achievements like moving into the top 30 on the money list and winning the Rookie of the Year award, Bauer said.
I exceeded my own expectations and it was such an honor to receive the award, and to be the first American in years to accomplish that feat was an incredible feeling.
The last American to win the Rookie of the Year award was Dorothy Delasin in 2000.
Now that shes made it through her first year on tour, mentally stronger for the ride, Bauer is planning a physical overhaul during the off-season.
I want to get physically stronger. I just got a physical trainer a month and a half ago. And I might look into finding a swing coach to help me,' she said.
Full Coverage of the ADT Championship
Getty Images

Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

Getty Images

Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

Getty Images

DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

Getty Images

Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.