Bunker Shots

By Randall MellJune 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
Michael Jackson left this world last week, but his music is still with us.
 
Some of his lyrics help tell the stories waiting to unfold this week:
 
Thriller
(An Ode to Anthony Kim)
 
Cause this is a thriller, thriller night
And no ones gonna save you from the beast about to strike
You know its a thriller, thriller night
Youre fighting for life inside a killer, thriller tonight

 
Anthony Kim is the defending champion at the AT&T National, but the big question isnt whether he will repeat. Its whether he will finally finish ahead of Tiger Woods in a tournament.
 
In two-and-a-half seasons on the PGA Tour, Kim has never played in a PGA Tour event with Woods and finished higher than Woods.
 
Kims 0 for 16.
 
When Kim won a year ago at Congressional Country Club, Woods was in his first year as tournament host, but Woods wasnt even on the grounds. He was at home recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. Woods leads a field this season that includes four of the top 10 players in the world rankings. Paul Casey (No. 3), Vijay Singh (No. 9) and Jim Furyk (No. 10) are the only other top-10 players in the field.
 

 
I Cant Help It
(Lorena Ochoas Refrain)
 
Looking in my mirror
Took me by surprise
I cant help but see you
Running often through my mind

 
Lorena Ochoa returns to the LPGA at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic outside Toledo, Ohio, after being bumped from atop the Rolex Player of the Year standings.
 
With her victory Sunday at the Wegmans LPGA, rookie Jiyai Shin moved to the top of the standings. Ochoa didnt play last week. Shin also leads the Rookie of the Year race with a real chance to join Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win top rookie and top player honors in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Shins also atop the LPGA money list.
 
With 13 victories around the world over the last 18 months, five of them LPGA titles, Shin is more than a victory machine. Shes a legitimate threat to Ochoas No. 1 world ranking. Shin moved up a spot to No. 3 this week with Yani Tseng holding on at No. 2.
 
With South Koreas rise to power in the womens game, it seems just a matter of time until a player from that country seizes the top ranking. Shin, as humble and sweet off the course as Ochoa is, looks like the odds-on-favorite to eventually be that South Korean player.
 

 
Cant Let Her Get Away
(USGAs Ode to Paula Creamer)
 
If I let her get away
Though Im begging
On my knees
Ill be crying everyday
Knowing the girl
That got away

 
The U.S. Golf Association has to be watching with intense interest to see how Paula Creamers left hand holds up this week in her title defense at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
 
Losing Creamer for next weeks U.S. Womens Open would be another blow to that event.
 
Creamers bid to win her first major championship will be one of the top storylines going into a week that needs some good tales to tell.
 
Unless Michelle Wie or Natalie Gulbis win the Jamie Farr on Sunday, the U.S. Womens Open will be played without two of the biggest attractions in golf. Wie and Gulbis didnt meet U.S. Womens Open exemption standards and neither made it through sectional qualifying. Their last chance to qualify for the U.S. Womens Open is by winning on Sunday.
 
Creamer injured her left thumb in the middle of the second round of the Wegmans LPGA and withdrew. She was diagnosed with inflammation and tendinitis of the thumbs joint capsule and received a cortisone shot on Monday. A hand and wrist sports specialist cleared her to play, but shell be tested by the pounding that thumb will endure this week.
 

 
Wanna Be Startin Somethin
(John Dalys theme song)
 
I said you wanna be startin somethin
You got to be startin somethin
Its too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
Youre stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder

 
John Daly will tee it up in Europe again this week at the Open de France.
 
Though he missed the cut at the BMW International Open in Germany last week, he has to believe even more strongly that the European Tour is the best place for him to rebuild his life and his game.
 
After tying for 59th at the St. Jude Championship, where his estranged wife complained about the restraining order he issued to keep her off the course, the negative news didnt slow in the states. There was that accident where he tore off part of the roof of his RV driving through a tunnel in Mobile, Ala. And last week, there was the news from a judge ordering Daly to pay almost $272,000 in legal fees for his unsuccessful libel lawsuit against the Florida Times-Union.
 
Dalys made the cut in three of six events on the European Tour since heading over to play the Spanish Open in late April. Hes looking for some momentum as he gears up for the British Open, one of two major championship titles he has claimed.
 

 
Beat It
(The path to the British Open)
 
Just beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin how funky and strong is your fight
It doesnt matter whos wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it

 
The AT&T National offers a last chance to qualify for the British Open.
 
The top two players off a special PGA Tour money list who arent already exempt to the British Open earn a trip to Turnberry. The money list is created from a six-tournament series (The Players Championship, the Memorial, St. Jude, U.S. Open, Travelers and AT&T National).
 
Paul Goydos leaped to No. 1 on the list with his tie for second at the Travelers last weekend with Ricky Barnes moving up a spot to No. 2.
 
Also still in the running are No. 3 John Mallinger, No. 4 Kevin Na, No. 5 Bryce Molder, No. 7 Ryan Moore and No. 8 Matt Bettencourt.
 
Ben Cranes No. 6, but he isnt playing this week.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - AT&T National
  • Full Coverage - Jamie Farr
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
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    Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

    IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

    Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

    Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

    Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

    Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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    Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

    By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

    Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

    Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

    And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    “The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

    Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

    Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

    Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

    “I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

    Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

    A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

    It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

    There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

    Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

    The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

    Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

    “I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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    Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

    By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

    In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

    Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

    With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    "Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

    So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

    "I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

    Getty Images

    Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

    Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

    On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

    And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

    "I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

    "I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

    He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

    Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

    With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

    But he isn't celebrating just yet.

    "It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

    "So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."