Creamer using simple formula to re-energize game

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2016, 11:13 pm

PHOENIX – Paula Creamer was chasing from behind before she reached the first tee Thursday at the JTBC Founders Cup.

She was nine shots back before hitting her opening shot of the tournament.

That’s how it is at the fast track known as Wildfire Golf Club, where a string of pars can leave you in somebody else’s dust.

With a 7-under-par 65 in Friday’s second round, Creamer was kicking up plenty of her own dust here in the desert. She was just one shot off the lead when the morning wave finished up.

“I hit a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of opportunities,” Creamer said. “Just played pretty solid golf.”

Creamer said being nine shots back before she was even introduced at the first tee Thursday got her attention.

“It was crazy,” Creamer said. “I looked over at the board, and I’m like, `Holy cow.’ You can’t really think too much about that. I feel like I’ve been out here long enough to know that, but it’s still hard. You don’t want to be nine back before you’ve teed off.”

Actually, opening the week like that was a good test of what Creamer and her new/old swing coach have been working on since they got together three months ago. Gary Gilchrist is a big believer in a simple formula that includes a dose of patience.

“You put in the work and trust in it and stay patient and good things will happen,” Gilchrist said.

Creamer patiently hit one good shot after another Friday in a steady climb up the leaderboard.

She was strong with her driver, hitting 11 of 14 fairways. She hit 14 greens in regulation and got up-and-down for pars every time she missed a green in her bogey-free round. She needed just 27 putts.

Creamer, 29, is seeking her 11th LPGA title, her first since winning the HSBC Women’s Champions two years ago. Sometimes change is rejuvenating, and Creamer is feeling energized since going to Gilchrist. Creamer had a lot of success under long-time coach David Whelan, winning all 10 of her LPGA titles with him, including the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont in 2010, but they amicably parted ways at the end of last year.

Gilchrist worked some with Creamer back when she was a student at the Leadbetter Academy and Gilchrist was the director of golf there. They have been focused on more than getting her club in balance at the top and working on her body turn and on sharpening her short game and putting.

“At the end of the day, a great mind set is always better than a great looking swing,” Gilchrist said. “If you have the right mind set, you can play with any swing.

“Paula’s strengths have always been her determination and her ability to handle competition, and we’re trying to get back to that, to enjoying the challenge of competition. She had become a little critical and judgmental and hard on herself because she wasn’t getting results. We’re getting her to enjoy the game, getting her focused on working, improving and trusting what she is doing.”

Creamer opened the year tying for fifth at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic in her first start since going to work with Gilchrist. She was T-15th in her next best start this season at the HSBC Women’s Champions two weeks ago.

“I'm excited,” Creamer said. “I love what I'm doing. I really believe in Gary’s philosophy of teaching me. I think he's brought the kid out of me, that's for sure. It's a great match. I really trust what he's teaching me, and I can go out and do it, which is kind of a big thing.”

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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.”