Pettersen Makes Most of Mulligan

By Mercer BaggsJune 10, 2007, 4:00 pm
McDonalds LPGAA mulligan, as we as know, is a do-over. But more so than denoting a chance to hit a secondary tee shot, the word, in general, stands for a chance to right a wrong.
 
It is officially unknown as to mulligans origin. Most, though not all, of the stories in some way involve golf. And it is the sport with which the word is most often associated.
 
Suzzan Pettersen
Suzann Pettersen celebrates her first major victory. (Getty Images)
Mulligan seems to have an unfavorable connotation. It implies that you have done something negative and need another opportunity to turn it into something positive. But in many situations, whether in golf or in life, a mulligan is a good thing.
 
Because its not about whats happened in the past; its about having the opportunity for atonement. And what you do with it.
 
A few ladies had such a chance Sunday at the McDonalds LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md.
 
There was Karrie Webb, who lost this very tournament in a playoff to Se Ri Pak a year ago. A seven-time major champion and Hall of Fame member, she was the favorite in many eyes to win. Trailing by two to start the final round, Webb was in the shadows of the lead all day.
 
Still two back on the 72nd hole, she coaxed in a fantastic right-to-left curler for birdie. Alas, once again, it wasn't quite enough as she finished runner-up for the second straight year.
 
Thats the one thing about a mulligan: just because you have a second chance doesnt mean it wont result in the same outcome.
 
There was Lorena Ochoa, who lost a big lead in the final round of the Ginn Tribute and was trying to overcome a big deficit one a week later. Ochoa has done everything in golf with the major exception of winning a major championship. She started Sunday five back, but with measured confidence.
 
Its been done before, she said Saturday of erasing a quintet of strokes.
 
But not this time.
 
Without the pressure of playing from the front, which has hampered her at times, Ochoa managed to get within two of the lead on three separate occasions but no closer.
 
There was Na On Min, who was trying to follow in the footsteps of countrywoman Pak. In 1998, Pak, a then 20-year-old rookie from South Korea, captured the McDonalds LPGA on her way to a Hall-of-Fame career. Min, 18, was in position to do the same ' at least the win-the-McDonalds-as-an-unheralded-rookie thing.
 
Min led by one entering the final 18 holes and actually managed to extend that to two at one point during the front nine. Then she missed a short par putt at No. 6. And another at No. 7. And another at No. 8. She dropped down the leaderboard faster than Michelle Wies Q-rating.
 
Even four straight birdies on the back nine weren't enough to match her idol's accomplishment.
 
Min, a non-exempt player, likely had no reason for a mulligan at the start of the week. She leaves, however, hoping for one in the future.
 
And then there was Suzann Pettersen, who wasted a four-shot lead with four holes to play in losing the first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Pettersen managed to win her first-ever LPGA Tour event three starts after her Rancho Mirage meltdown but winning a regular event doesnt quite make up for blowing a major.
 
The Michelob Ultra Open is kind of like the tours fifth major. The McDonalds LPGA is a real major.
 
Pettersen grabbed sole possession of the lead after the seventh hole Sunday. This time she would lead by as many as two shots down the stretch. And this time she would not self destruct ' nor would she be caught.
 
Pettersen's lead coming home wasn't nearly as advantageous as it was at the Kraft Nabisco. But bouyed by that experience, and armed with her mulligan, Pettersen played the back nine in 4-under-par 32, with nary a bogey.
 
Ten weeks after a loss that left her in tears, Pettersen made the most of her mulligan, which shouldn't be too surprising, seeing as this is the same woman who overcame a severe back injury, one in which doctors told her she would never play golf again.
 
'This is amazing,' Pettersen said upon receiving the trophy. 'I'm still trying to get a grasp on this. I mean, this is a major.'
 
Golf, like any sport, has its winners and losers. When you're among the latter all you can do is hope that the game offers up another occasion for atonement.
 
'Sure I'm disappointed,' Pettersen said in the wake of her Kraft Nabisco loss. 'I mean, I guess my time will come.'
 
And so it has.
 
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Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - McDonalds LPGA Championship
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  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.