Five Survive Rough Ride
Weather on Thursday was as perfect as the golf course was. And conditions at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Ca. are up to par for a major championship.
Overall I thought I played fairly well, Hall of Famer Juli Inkster said. I hit one bad swing on No. 14, but I thought the course was playing tough out there. The wind was up. The greens were hard. The rough is up. It was extremely tough to get the right club in your hand. Inkster made three bogies and six birdies during the first round. Her final birdie on the par-3 16th gave her what she needed to tie the lead.
She has won this event twice before ' in 1984 and again in 1989. Her best finish in the 1990s came in 1992 when she finished second.
Mission Hills, which is already difficult was made more so by the height of the rough. It is as thick as I remember in a long time, Inkster, who finished tied for 17th last year said. But for a major championship it should be tough, I mean, there is plenty of room to drive it out there.'
You know, the rough is pretty thick out there this week, and I remember it being thick at times and other times it hasn't been this thick, '98 champion Pat Hurst said after shooting 35-35 in the first round. But I think it depends on where you are and which way it has been mowed and how much it is sitting down. So there were times today when I can get a club on the ball and then there were times when I couldn't get a club on the ball. So it is pretty thick.
The rough hasnt been mowed since last Sunday but it is rumored that it will be after completion of the second round.
Dottie Pepper and amateur player Lorena Ochoa are tied with Tina Barrett, Laura Davies, and Laura Diaz at 1-under-par.
Pepper has been playing great as of late. So far this year she has played in five of the seven official LPGA Tour sanctioned events. Her best finish was at the Welchs/Circle K where she finished tied for second. Twice this season she has finished third and this week Pepper is one of many American born players who will be looking to add a win to their record.
The 17-time winner shot 33 on the front nine to jump into the lead after a spectacular hole-in-one on the par-3 fifth. On the back nine the wind picked up and she had some trouble carding three bogies before all was said and done. A lone birdie on the 11th was her last of the first round.
Annika Sorenstam shot 35-37 finishing tied for 13th at even par. The eight-year veteran has never done well in the first round of this major but has been able to make up ground over the weekend. Last year Sorenstam shot 76 during the first round. She followed with rounds of 72-73-71 292 to finish tied for 17th and earn $14,321.
Those that had morning tee times on Thursday had a slight advantage as the wind picked up in the afternoon making low scores less attainable.
Karrie Webb, winless on the LPGA Tour this season, and Se Ri Pak ' both of whom had afternoon tee times - did not have stellar first rounds. They are presently tied in 23rd position at 1-over-par 73 along with ten other competitors in the field.
The Wongluekiet twins also teed off in the afternoon. Aree Song Wongluekiet is currently 4-over-par. She managed to card a 39 of the front nine and didnt do much better on the backside. Naree Song Wongluekiet shot 37-37 2-over-par to finish two strokes better than her sister.
Full-Field Scores from the Nabisco Championship
Lewis says she's expecting first child in November
Stacy Lewis is pregnant.
The 12-time LPGA winner confirmed after Thursday’s first round of the Mediheal Championship that she and her husband, University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, are expecting their first child on Nov. 3.
Lewis learned she was pregnant after returning home to Houston in late February following her withdrawal from the HSBC Women’s World Championship with a strained oblique muscle.
“We're obviously really excited,” Lewis said. “It wasn't nice I was hurt, but it was nice that I was home when I found out with [Gerrod]. We're just really excited to start a family.”
Lewis is the third big-name LPGA player preparing this year to become a mother for the first time. Suzann Pettersen announced last month that she’s pregnant, due in the fall. Gerina Piller is due any day.
Piller’s husband, PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, withdrew from the Zurich Classic on Thursday to be with her. Piller and Lewis have been U.S. Solheim Cup partners the last two times the event has been played.
“It's going to be fun raising kids together,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they're best friends and they hang out. But just excited about the next few months and what it's going to bring.”
Lewis, a former Rolex world No. 1 and two-time major championship winner, plans to play through the middle of July, with the Marathon Classic her last event of the year. She will be looking to return for the start of the 2019 season. The LPGA’s maternity leave policy allows her to come back next year with her status intact.
“This year, the golf might not be great, but I've got better things coming in my life than a golf score.” Lewis said. “I plan on coming back and traveling on the road with the baby, and we'll figure it out as we go.”
Coach scores in NFL Draft and on golf course
To say that Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a good day Thursday would be an understatement. Not only did his team snag one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft - Georgia outside linebacker Roquan Smith, who the Bears took with the eighth pick of the first round - but earlier in the day Fangio, 59, made a hole-in-one, sinking a 9-iron shot from 125 yards at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.
Perhaps the ace isn't so surprising, though. In late May 2017, Fangio made another hole-in-one, according to a tweet from the Bears. The only information supplied on that one was the distance - 116 yards.
Who knew defensive wizard Vic Fangio was also a golf wizard? He sank a 116-yard hole-in-one over the weekend. Congrats, Coach! pic.twitter.com/qNQTMfDsDF— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 30, 2017
Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby
AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.
Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.
Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.
“It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”
The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.
“I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.
A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.
“I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.
He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.
“It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”
Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury
AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.
Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.
“It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”
The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.
He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.
Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.
“I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”