Damron Dazzling Up North

By Marty HenwoodJuly 25, 2003, 4:00 pm
VICTORIA, British Columbia -- American Patrick Damron finds himself in unfamiliar territory as he carries the lead into Saturdays third round of the Canadian Tours Victoria Open.
 
The Canadian Tour rookie, who carried a two-shot lead into the second round, didnt bend under the pressure Friday, posting a 3-under 67. His 36-hole total of 10-under 130 is two shots clear of Steve Schneiter of Utah. Former PGA Tour champion Richard Zokol of White Rock, B.C., drained a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to come in at 7-under 133.
 
A total of 66 players made the cut with a two-day total of 2'over 142 or better.
 
Damron, the younger brother of PGA winner Robert, has made three of five cuts in his rookie campaign and has not finished higher than 13th. Robert Damron played on the Canadian Tour back in 1996, and the experience was something he was able to pass on to his younger brother, advising him to kick off his professional career north of the border. The suggestion was echoed by longtime Tour member Kevin Baker, one of Damrons closest friends.
 
I play with Kevin almost every day, and both he and Robert told me to come up here, it was the best place to get the experience and improve your game, said the 24-year-old. Ive met a lot of the guys out here before, and you know you are going to have to play well to win.
 
Schneiter played on the Canadian Tour from 1992 through 1994 before plying his trade on what is now known as the Nationwide Tour for the next four seasons. With no place to play this year, he was urged by good friend and Canadian Tour player Brad Sutterfield to request a sponsors exemption into this event. He has attended PGA Tour Qualifying School for 16 consecutive seasons but has never been able to play full-time on golfs biggest stage.
 
With Saturdays always referred to as moving day in the world of golf, Schneiter wouldnt bite when asked if he would rather be the hunter or the hunted heading into round three.
 
Its always fun to come from a little bit behind and sneak up on someone, but you cant think like that. Ill take what I can get. Im just going to stay in the present and worry about my own game.
 
As he sails off into unchartered waters Saturday, Damron admits he is looking forward to the challenge of playing with Zokol, a seasoned pro who happens to be a friend of his brother. While he isnt sure how he will react playing in the final group, he seems to like the feeling a whole lot better than the alternative.
 
Well I like the idea of being chased, since usually its me doing the chasing, added Damron. I just want to go out there and keep doing what Ive been doing. Who am I to say? Ive never been in this position before. Id like to try it from here and see what happens.
 
Harris, with four second place finishes in the past year, once again finds himself sniffing around the top of the leaderboard. A thunderous roar echoed throughout Royal Colwood Friday when Harris, wearing a microphone for a Golf Channel broadcast, aced the 175-yard, par-3 13th, his fourth hole of the day. Despite hitting a couple of speed bumps later in the round, including a double-bogey six on number three, Harris feels confident heading into Saturday.
 
I took my lumps where I did, now I just have to get ready for the weekend, he said. Theres just two good rounds left and I can walk away with the trophy Sunday.
 
Schneiter had a rollercoaster round himself, carding five birdies with a pair of bogeys. His day was typified on the par-5 15th beginning with an errant tree shot that sailed left and landed a foot from the base of a tree. Kneeling down, Schneiter then backhanded a chip onto the fairway before cranking a 3-iron left once again. He then pulled off his shot of the day, chipping his fourth stroke over a bunker, with the ball bouncing off the bank of a hill and rolling to within five feet of the cup to save par.
 
That was certainly an up and down round, said Schneiter. It was pretty adventurous, but I just hung in there. That 15th hole was a grind, and I was lucky to get out with par.
 
If things dont work out this weekend, Schneiter will head over to the mainland and try to qualify for next weeks Greater Vancouver Classic on Monday. With a win here, he will be exempted through the end of the 2005 season. He can board the ferry to Vancouver Sunday night $28,000 richer, and knowing he doesnt have to get up early for the qualifier.
 
Yeah, well thats the plan, he said with a smile Friday. Just dont tell anyone.
 

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    Even with broken driver, Salinda beats Hagestad at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 17, 2018, 2:52 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.


    Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


    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.

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    Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech

    By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 12:50 am

    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.


    Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


    ''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.''

    Getty Images

    Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

    By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

    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.

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    Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals

    By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

    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.


    Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    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.