Bunker Shots Big Tests - COPIED

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2010, 6:21 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from mighty Oakmont to a Scottish test before the British Open.

LPGA TOUR

LPGA Tour _new

U.S. Women's Open

There was once a golf 'massacre' at Winged Foot in the women’s game, too.

Back in 1972, Susie Berning won the U.S. Women’s Open there at 11 over par for the championship. 

With the U.S. Women’s Open being played at Oakmont this week, players are bracing for what could be another memorably punishing test. It seems almost a given that the event’s winning score will be over par for just the third time in the last 26 years. We just can’t be sure how punishing the U.S. Golf Association will dare to make it until play begins Thursday.

Basically, it will come down to how fast USGA officials set it up. Oakmont’s greens are among the most challenging in the world. Will they be manageable at 12 on the Stimpmeter? Or will the USGA push this test to the limit at 13.5, rivaling what the men faced there three years ago? Weather, of course, will play a factor. Patty Sheehan won at even par when the U.S. Women’s Open was played at Oakmont in ’92.

Bunker shot: Cristie Kerr, coming off her 12-shot romp at the LPGA Championship, is the overwhelming favorite. She isn’t a true bomber, but she’s one of the longest straight hitters on tour. What sets her apart is a velvet putting touch, maybe the best on tour. If she can win this week, she solidifies her legitimacy as the No. 1 player in the women’s game and begins a run to succeed Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa as the LPGA’s next dominant player. Kerr doesn’t lack the desire or temperament to dominate. The question is whether she’s reached another level and can muster her best more consistently.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Jiyai Shin. Contender – Cristie Kerr. Darkhorse – Jee Young Lee.

  • Course: Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa. Par 71, 6,598 yards (Designed by Henry Fownes and opened in 1904).
  • Purse: $3.25 million (winner’s share, $585,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, ESPN, 3-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, NBC, 3-6 p.m.
  • Last year: Eun-Hee Ji rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the final hole to defeat Candie Kung by a shot at Saucon Valley.

    PGA TOUR

PGA Tour (75x100)

John Deere Classic

There’s a quality consolation prize up for grabs this week.

Anyone finishing among the top five who isn’t otherwise qualified for the British Open earns a spot at St. Andrews and next week’s major championship.

Bunker shot: John Deere Classic officials make the most of their tough spot a week ahead of the British Open by offering a non-stop charter flight for players who want to play both events. This year’s transcontinental fliers will include a batch of players who are capable of winning on both sides of the Atlantic. Steve Stricker, the defending champ at the John Deere Classic, has a seat on that charter if he wants it. Among others, so do 2001 British Open champ David Duval, K.J. Choi, Tim Clark, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Kenny Perry and Bubba Watson. The odds of somebody winning both events aren’t good. Though the John Deere Classic hasn’t always been played the week before the British Open, none of the 39 previous winners of the John Deere Classic has ever won the British Open.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Zach Johnson. Contender – Steve Stricker. Darkhorse – Jason Dufner.

  • Course: TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Ill. Par 71, 7,257 yards (Designed by D.A. Weibring and opened in 2000).
  • Purse: $4.4 million (winner’s share, $792,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m., replay 8:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, CBS, 3-6 p.m.
  • Last year: Steve Stricker fashioned a final-round 7-under-par 64 to beat Zach Johnson, Brett Quigley and Brandt Snedeker by three shots.

EUROPEAN TOUR

2009 European Tour

The Barclays Scottish Open

A lot of fuss is made that the European Tour doesn’t stage the event leading into the British Open on a links course, but the winner at Loch Lomond will carry the momentum of knowing he beat a quality field when he heads to St. Andrews for next week’s major.

Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell are among 10 players among the top 25 in the world competing.

Bunker shot: Mickelson nearly won this event three years ago, coming up short in a playoff with Gregory Havret. The confidence gained in playing so well in Scotland, however, didn’t translate in Mickelson’s British Open quest that year. Mickelson missed the cut at Carnoustie. Mickelson’s struggles at the British Open are well documented with just one top-10 to his credit in 16 tries in the championship. He was third at Royal Troon in ’04. His next best finish at the British Open? That would be a tie for 11th at St. Andrews in ’05.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Francesco Molinari. Contender – Phil Mickelson. Darkhorse – Soren Kjeldsen.

  • Course: Loch Lomond Golf Club, Glasgow, Scotland. Par 71, 7,149 yards (Designed by Doug Carrick and opened in 1971).
  • Purse: 3 million euros (winner’s share, $500,000 euros).
  • TV times: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., replay 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m., replay 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., replay 7-9:30 p.m.
  • Last year: Martin Kaymer posted four rounds in the 60s and defeated Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano by two shots.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

Nationwide Tour

Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic

A field of 160 players will compete on two courses.

A whopping 10 sponsor exemptions get into this field, as do the top five players off the Canadian Tour’s Order of Merit.

Bunker shot: Jamie Lovemark got a taste of winning claiming the Mexico Open Bicentenary in the last Nationwide Tour event and leaped to second on the money list behind Chris Kirk. Watch for a terrific battle for the tour money title into the fall.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Tag Ridings. Contender – Jamie Lovemark. Darkhorse – Hunter Haas.

  • Course: Georgian Bay Club (Par 71, 7,139 yards) and Raven Golf Club (Par 72, 7,105 yards), Thornberry, Ontario, Canada.
  • Purse: $800,000 (winner’s share, $144,017).
  • TV times: Golf Channel, 1-3 p.m., replay midnight-2 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m., replay midnight-2 a.m.
  • Last year: Roger Tambellini won by a four-shot margin over Blake Adams.
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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who led by three shots at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.

Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''

He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.

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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.