Bunker Shots Spotlight on Europe

By Randall MellMay 18, 2010, 8:42 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from the European Tour’s flagship event to the LPGA’s return to match play and the PGA Tour’s salute to Lord Byron ...


PGA Tour (75x100)

HP Byron Nelson Championship

Nobody in the top 10 in the world rankings will tee it up in suburban Dallas this week.

Hunter Mahan’s the highest ranked player in the field at No. 17.

There’s tough competition this week overseas, where the BMW PGA Championship in England is attracting a stellar field with the top international players competing in the European Tour’s big event.

Bunker shot: Who’s the best player under 30? According to the world rankings, it’s Rory McIlroy, who at No. 9 ranks highest in that age category. Anthony Kim (No. 10), Martin Kaymer (No. 11) and Camilo Villegas (No. 14) are next. If you’re going by PGA Tour victories, Adam Scott’s the best. With seven PGA Tour titles now, he’s more than doubled the totals of any other player under 30. But Scott’s leaving the ranks of the twentysomethings this summer. He turns 30 on July 16. None of those players just mentioned are in the field at the Byron Nelson, but there’s lots of young talent on display this week. That brings us to Dustin Johnson and Sean O’Hair, who are in the field. They’re tied with Kim and Villegas behind Scott with three PGA Tour titles each among players under 30. Mahan and J.B. Holmes, twentysomethings with two PGA Tour titles apiece, also are scheduled to play. Rickie Fowler doesn’t have a PGA Tour title, but the rookie arrives at the Byron Nelson No. 54 in the world rankings. Ricky Barnes, Michael Sim and Yuta Ikeda are in that young class worth watching this week.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Rory Sabbatini. Contender – Hunter Mahan. Darkhorse – Rickie Fowler.

  • Course: TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas, Irving, Texas. Par 70, 7,016 yards (Designed by Jay Morrish, opened in 1996, redesigned by D.A. Weibring in 2008).
  • Purse: $6.5 million (winner’s share, $1,170,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m., replay 8:30-11 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, CBS, 3-6 p.m.
  • Last year: With a 6-under-par 64 to close, Rory Sabbatini finished two shots better than Brian Davis.


2009 European TourBMW PGA Championship

Five of the top 10 in the world rankings lead a strong field in the European Tour’s flagship event.

No. 3 Lee Westwood, No. 6 Ian Poulter, No. 7 Ernie Els, No. 8 Paul Casey and No. 9 Rory McIlroy join Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson in an event that will feature lots of world ranking points.

Bunker shot: If it’s a big event, Westwood will be knocking on the door at the end, but will he finally barge through? Westwood’s enjoying a terrific run of contention in majors and quasi-majors, but there has to be frustration failing to win any of them. This season, Westwood became the first player in 33 years to lead the Masters and The Players Championship after 54 holes in the same year, but he came away without a trophy. He tied for fourth at The Players, finished second at the Masters. A year ago, he tied for third at the PGA Championship and the British Open. The year before that, he finished third at the U.S. Open. He’s come up a shot short of forcing playoffs at the U.S. Open and British Open in the past two years. Makes you wonder if the close calls inspire or frustrate, encourage or discourage. Only Westwood truly knows.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Lee Westwood. Contender – Rory McIlroy. Darkhorse – Francesco Molinari.

  • Course: Wentworth Club’s West Course in Surrey, England. Par 71, 7,261 yards (Designed originally by H.S. Colt and opened in 1927).
  • Purse: 4.5 million euros (winner’s share, $750,000 euros).
  • TV times: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., replay 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., replay 7-9:30 p.m.
  • Last year: Paul Casey defeated Ross Fisher by a shot.


LPGA Tour _newSybase Match Play Championship

After a two-year hiatus, match play returns to the LPGA.

Seon Hwa Lee (2007), Brittany Lincicome (2006) and Marisa Baena (2005) won this championship the first three times it was staged.

Sixty-four players will compete. In a bustling weekend, the round of 16 and quarterfinals are planned for Saturday with the semifinals and finals on Sunday.

Bunker shot: Asian dominance is the early storyline this LPGA season. Asians have claimed all six of the events played so far. Japan’s Ai Miyazato has won three of the titles, South Korea’s claimed two with Hee Kyung Seo and Se Ri Pak winning and Taiwan’s claimed a title with Yani Tseng a winner at the year’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco. This season also has been witness to South Korean Jiyai Shin’s rise as the first Asian to be No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Michelle Wie is the only American to win an LPGA title in the last 12 months.  

Mell’s picks: Winner – Brittany Lincicome. Contender – Morgan Pressel. Darkhorse – Azahara Munoz.

  • Course: Hamilton Farm Golf Club’s The Highlands, Gladstone, N.J. Par 72, 6,585 yards (Designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry).
  • Purse: $1.5 million (winner’s share, $225,000).
  • TV times: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 1-3 p.m., replay 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2-5 p.m., replay 9:30-11:30 p.m.
  • Last year: Was not played.


Nationwide TourThe Rex Hospital Open

There’s a new leader atop the Nationwide Tour money list.

Even with a bogey at his final hole last week at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, Kevin Chappel earned a tie for second and enough money to vault him to the top of the money list with $190,621 in earnings, a little more than $4,000 ahead of Bobby Gates.

Bunker shot: Jamie Lovemark’s doing everything but win his rookie year. The 2007 NCAA champ from USC tied for second last week at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, his fourth top-5 finish in eight starts this season. He jumped four spots to No. 8 on the Nationwide Tour money list and appears poised for a bigger move.   

Mell’s picks: Winner – Jamie Lovemark. Contender – Justin Hicks. Darkhorse – Jeff Gallagher.

  • Course: TPC Wakefield Plantation, Raleigh, N.C. Par 71, 7,257 yards. (Designed by Hale Irwin, opened in 2000).
  • Purse: $550,000 (winner’s share, $99,000).
  • TV times: No TV.
  • Last year: Kevin Johnson defeated Gallagher in a playoff for his fifth Nationwide Tour title.
Getty Images

Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

Getty Images

Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

Getty Images

Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

Getty Images

Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”