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ANA playoff halted: Park, Lindberg to return Monday

By Randall MellApril 2, 2018, 3:20 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Somebody fill Poppie’s Pond with champagne.

The winner of the ANA Inspiration is going to deserve more than a bottle of vintage bubbly to celebrate on Monday, when this championship finally ends.

If this championship ever ends . . .

The bid to crown a winner Sunday was historic, with tournament officials cranking up lights to try to complete the sudden-death playoff in the dark.

It will be remembered as the first major championship played under the lights, but even that dramatic effort wasn’t enough.

Inbee Park and Pernilla Lindberg will return Monday at 11 a.m. ET to the Mission Hills’ Dinah Shore Course to resume their epic battle.

Seventy-two holes wasn’t enough.

And four playoff holes wasn’t enough to boil this championship down to one deserving winner, with so many players giving themselves chances to the bitter end of regulation.

Park, Lindberg and Jennifer Song ended up in the first three-way playoff in this championship’s 47-year history. They played the 18th hole four times, with Song eliminated with a par on the third playoff hole.

With the lights up aside the 18th green for that fourth playoff hole, Park two putted from 35 feet for par and Lindberg two-putted from 15 feet for par.

There was no chance to start a fifth playoff hole, with darkness fully descended.

The playoff was set to move to the 10th tee. That’s where it will resume on Monday, with the rotation 10-17-18 the rest of the way.

It’s all down to a battle of legend vs. journeywoman, though it doesn’t seem a fair assessment of Lindberg, the 31-year-old Swede who is playing this week as if she has won a bunch of majors. She has delivered one clutch shot and putt after another, through all four rounds. She’s still alive to be the wire-to-wire winner of this event.

Full scoring from the ANA Inspiration

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Lindberg posted a 1-under-par 71 Sunday, making birdie at the last to get into the playoff. Park came from four shots back to catch Lindberg.

Park is seeking to win her eighth major championship.

Lindberg is seeking to win her first tour title in her 250th start in LPGA, Ladies European and Symetra tour events.

It was a crazy day.

Lindberg took a three-shot lead into the final round, but her lead was gone before she even broke a sweat.

She bogeyed the first and third holes to fall into a six-way tie for the lead.

The poor folks hanging numbers at the old-fashioned wooden scorecard aside the 18th green should have thrown up their hands and gone home.

The electronic scoreboards should have blown fuses.

The lead seemed to change every hole.

Nine players led or shared the lead in the final round.

In the end, a half dozen players walked up the 18th fairway knowing they had a chance to win.

Ariya Jutanugarn, trying to erase the memory of a tough loss here two years ago, mounted a terrific final-round charge. She was seven shots back at day’s start but posted a 65, to get to 14 under as the leader in the clubhouse.

Jessica Korda was brilliant all day. She holed a wedge from the ninth fairway for eagle. She holed out from a bunker at the 14th for birdie. She shot 66 to equal Jutanugarn at 14 under.

They waited at the practice putting green to see who might meet them in a playoff, or beat them.

The drama was only beginning.

Song sent them home.

She knocked a wedge to the back of the green, spinning it backward to 5 feet. She made birdie to post at 15 under.

Park was in the pairing behind Song. She one-upped her, knocking her approach to 4 feet. She made the birdie to join Song at 15 under.

Linderg followed in the final pairing, lasering her approach to 3 feet to make birdie and complete the playoff lineup.

The drama will continue with some more history being made. It will mark the first time this championship ends on a Monday.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”