Bauers Star Continues to Rise
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
With baby on the way, Piller WDs from Zurich
AVONDALE, La. – With wife Gerina set to give birth to their first child, Martin Piller figured he’d need to check his phone every few holes at the Zurich Classic.
He didn’t even make it that far.
Piller withdrew before the start of the first round Thursday.
Piller’s partner, Joel Dahmen, who only got into the field because of Piller’s status as the team’s A player, was allowed to remain in the event.
Piller was replaced in the field by Denny McCarthy. The new team of McCarthy-Dahmen will tee off at 2:36 p.m. ET.
The birth of a child is way more important than any golf tournament. Wishing the best to the Pillers. https://t.co/IWwhKwWLrS— Joel Dahmen (@Joel_Dahmen) April 26, 2018
The format change at the Zurich should make things easier for the new teammates. The first round is now best ball, not alternate shot.
The only event that Gerina, a three-time U.S. Solheim Cupper, has played this season was the Diamond Resorts Invitational in January. The couple’s baby was due May 3, and she said that she plans to take off the entire year.
China's Jin (64) leads by one in Beijing
BEIJING – Daxing Jin took a one-stroke lead at the China Open after shooting an 8-under 64 Thursday in the first round.
Jin's bogey-free round at the Topwin Golf and Country Club included six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 eighth. The 25-year-old Jin is playing in only his eighth European Tour event and has made the cut only once.
Matt Wallace (65) had an eagle-birdie finish to move into a tie for second with Nino Bertasio, who also produced a bogey-free round. Alexander Bjork and Scott Vincent (66) were a further stroke back.
Defending champion Alexander Levy, who won last week's Trophee Hassan II in Morocco, is in a large group five shots off the lead at 3 under.
Putting prepared Park's path back to No. 1
Inbee Park brings more than her unshakably tranquil demeanor back to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week.
She brings more than her Olympic gold medal and seven major championships to the Mediheal Championship on the outskirts of San Francisco.
She brings a jarring combination of gentleness and ruthlessness back to the top of the rankings.
Park may look as if she could play the role of Mother Teresa on some goodwill tour, but that isn’t what her opponents see when she’s wielding her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet.
She’s like Mother Teresa with Lizzy Borden’s axe.
When Park gets on one of her rolls with the putter, she scares the hell out of the rest of the tour.
At her best, Park is the most intimidating player in women’s golf today.
“Inbee makes more 20- and 30-footers on a regular basis than anyone I know,” seven-time major championship winner Karrie Webb said.
All those long putts Park can hole give her an aura more formidable than any power player in the women’s game.
“A good putter is more intimidating than someone who knocks it out there 280 yards,” Webb said “Even if Inbee misses a green, you know she can hole a putt from anywhere. It puts more pressure on your putter knowing you’re playing with someone who is probably going to make them all.”
Park, by the way, said Webb and Ai Miyazato were huge influences on her putting. She studied them when she was coming up on tour.
Webb, though, believes there’s something internal separating Park. It isn’t just Park’s ability to hole putts that makes her so intimidating. It’s the way she carries herself on the greens.
“She never gets ruffled,” Webb said. “She says she gets nervous, but you never see a change in her. If you’re going toe to toe with her, that’s what is intimidating. Even if you’re rolling in putts on top of her, it doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s definitely a player you have to try not to pay attention to when you’re paired with her, because you can get caught up in that.”
Park has led the LPGA in putts per greens in regulation five of the last 10 years.
Brad Beecher has been on Park’s bag for more than a decade, back before she won her first major, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open. He has witnessed the effect Park can have on players when she starts rolling in one long putt after another.
“You have those times when she’ll hole a couple long putts early, and you just know, it’s going to be one of those days,” Beecher said. “Players look at me like, `Does she ever miss?’ or `How am I going to beat this?’ You see players in awe of it sometimes.”
Park, 29, won in her second start of 2018, after taking seven months off with a back injury. In six starts this year, she has a victory, two ties for second-place and a tie for third. She ended Shanshan Feng’s 23-week run at No. 1 with a tie for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open last weekend.
What ought to disturb fellow tour pros is that Park believes her ball striking has been carrying her this year. She’s still waiting for her putter to heat up. She is frustrated with her flat stick, even though she ranks second in putts per greens in regulation this season.
“Inbee Park is one of the best putters ever,” said LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Haynie, a 42-time LPGA winner. “She’s dangerous on the greens.”
Haynie said she would rank Park with Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Nancy Lopez as the best putters she ever saw.
Hall of Famer Joanne Carner says Park is the best putter she has seen since Lopez.
“I thought Nancy was a great putter,” Carner said. “Inbee is even better.”
Park uses a left-hand low grip, with a mostly shoulder move and quiet hands.
Lopez used a conventional grip, interlocking, with her right index finger down the shaft. She had a more handsy stroke than Park.
Like Lopez, Park prefers a mallet-style putter, and she doesn’t switch putters much. She is currently playing with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. She won the gold medal with it two years ago. She used an Oddysey White Ice Sabertooth winged mallet when she won three majors in a row in 2013.
Lopez hit the LPGA as a rookie in 1978 with a Ray Cook M1 mallet putter and used it for 20 years. It’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame today.
“I watch Inbee, and I think, `Wow, that’s how I used to putt,’” Lopez said. “You can see she’s not mechanical at all. So many players today are mechanical. They forget if you just look at the hole and stroke it, you’re going to make more putts.”
Notably, Park has never had a putting coach, not really. Her husband and swing coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, will look at her stroke when she asks for help.
“When I’m putting, I’m concentrating on the read and mostly my speed,” Park said. “I don’t think mechanically about my stroke at all, unless I think there’s something wrong with it, and then I’ll have my husband take a look. But, really, I rely on my feel. I don’t think about my stroke when I’m out there playing.”
Hall of Famer Judy Rankin says Park’s remarkably consistent speed is a key to her putting.
“Inbee is definitely a feel putter, and her speed is so consistent, all the time,” Rankin said. “You have to assume she’s a great green reader.”
Beecher says Park’s ability to read greens is a gift. She doesn’t rely on him for that. She reads greens herself.
“I think what impresses me most is Inbee has a natural stroke,” Beecher said. “There’s nothing too technical. It’s more straight through and straight back, but I think the key element of the stroke is that she keeps the putter so close to the ground, all the time, on the takeaway and the follow-through. It helps with the roll and with consistency.”
Park said that’s one of her fundamentals.
“I keep it low, almost like I’m hitting the ground,” Park said. “When I don’t do that, I miss more putts.”
Beecher believes the real reason Park putts so well is that the putter brought her into the game. It’s how she got started, with her father, Gun Gyu Park, putting the club in her hands as a child. She loved putting on her own.
“That’s how she fell in love with the game,” Beecher said. “Getting started that way, it’s played a huge role in her career.”
Teams announced for NCAA DI women's regionals
Seventy-two teams and an additional 24 individuals were announced Wednesday as being selected to compete in the NCAA Division I women's regionals, May 7-9.
Each of the four regional sites will consist of 18 teams and an extra six individual players, whose teams were not selected. The low six teams and low three individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 18-23, hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
The four regional sites include Don Veller Seminole Golf Course & Club in Tallahassee, Fla., hosted by Florida State; UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas; University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., hosted by the University of Wisconsin; TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., hosted by Stanford University.
Arkansas, Duke, UCLA and Alabama are the top seeds in their respective regionals. Arizona State, the third seed in the Madison regional, is the women's defending champion. Here's a look at the regional breakdown, along with teams and players:
|Austin Regional||Madison Regional||San Francisco Regional||Tallahassee Regional|
|Michigan State||Arizona State||South Carolina||Arizona|
|Auburn||Illinois||Oklahoma State||Wake Forest|
|Houston||Iowa State||Colorado||Florida State|
|East Carolina||Notre Dame||San Diego State||Kennesaw State|
|Texas Tech||Old Dominion||Pepperdine||Denver|
|Virginia Tech||Oregon State||Oregon||Coastal Carolina|
|UTSA||Idaho||Long Beach State||Missouri|
|Georgetown||Murray State||Grand Canyon||Charleston|
|Houston Baptist||North Dakota State||Princeton||Richmond|
|Missouri State||IUPUI||Farleigh Dickinson||Albany|
|Brigitte Dunne (SMU)||Connie Jaffrey (Kansas State)||Alivia Brown (Washington State)||Hee Ying Loy (E. Tennessee State)|
|Xiaolin Tian (Maryland)||Pinyada Kuvanun (Toledo)||Samantha Hutchinson (Cal-Davis)||Claudia De Antonio (LSU)|
|Greta Bruner (TCU)||Pun Chanachai (New Mexico State)||Ingrid Gutierrez (New Mexico)||Fernanda Lira (Central Arkansas)|
|Katrina Prendergast (Colorado State)||Elsa Moberly (Eastern Kentucky)||Abegail Arevalo (San Jose State)||Emma Svensson (Central Arkansas)|
|Ellen Secor (Colorado State)||Erin Harper (Indiana)||Darian Zachek (New Mexico)||Valentina Giraldo (Jacksonville State)|
|Faith Summers (SMU)||Cara Basso (Penn State)||Christine Danielsson (Cal-Davis)||Kaeli Jones (UCF)|