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Crosby leads inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open

By Randall MellJuly 13, 2018, 12:35 am

They turned back the clock to some of the golden eras in women’s golf Thursday at Chicago Golf Club.

First up at the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open, Hall of Famer JoAnne Carner made her peers proud. The 79-year-old striped the first tee shot to open the event.

For fans who saw her win as “Big Mama” in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, Carner’s return made for an emotional start to the first rendition of this special event. She shot her age to lead a parade of grateful women relishing a chance to win, or just compete in, another USGA event.

“This is a who’s who field of women’s golf,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said at the gala dinner earlier in the week. “Instead of calling it the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, let’s call it 'The About Time Senior Women's Open.'”

Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez couldn’t play after undergoing knee replacement surgery, but she was on the first tee at day’s start. She introduced players as the ceremonial starter.

Hollis Stacy, whose eight USGA titles include three U.S. Women’s Open titles and three U.S. Girls’ Junior titles, savored starting in the first group with Carner and Sandra Palmer.

“It means a lot, because as I've said all along, the USGA has been the custodians of golf,” Stacy said. “They've done a great job, and they want to do what's right. Having a Senior Women's Open is the right thing to do, and they did it in such a first-class way, coming to Chicago Golf Club and making it first class.”

Laura Davies and Juli Inkster, favorites to win the event, moved into early contention, but Elaine Crosby topped the leaderboard at day’s end.

A two-time LPGA winner, Crosby opened with a 3-under-par 70. She plays the LPGA Legends Tour, but she had to play her way into the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. She earned a spot in one of the 17 sectional qualifiers staged around the country.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


“I wasn't exempt, but I think that made me work even harder to make sure I played well enough to get here, because it's history for women's golf,” said Crosby, 60. “We've worked really hard.

“I've been involved with the Legends Tour a lot, trying to help grow that, and I think this can really help. ... I think this is just awesome, and they've treated us very well here, and what a great venue to come to for our inaugural.”

Davies, 54, eagled the 18th hole to open with a 71, leaving her tied for second with Liselotte Neumann, the 1988 U.S. Women’s Open champ, and Trish Johnson, a three-time LPGA winner and 19-time LET winner.

Davies said playing alongside Neumann and Inkster made this first event even more memorable.

“Two of my best friends on tour, really,” Davies said. “I was just saying I've known Lotte for 37 years. We played junior golf together, and, Juli, since I turned pro she's been out here. So it's two constants in my career.”

Inkster, 58, opened with a 73.

While players have been talking about how the week feels like a reunion, Inkster captured just how competitive these players remain.

“I hit the ball like crap,” Inkster said. “I've been hitting the ball so good, and I drove the bad really bad today. I played defensive all day.

“It’s a long four days. I’m just ecstatic I shot even par.”

Helen Alfredsson, a seven-time LPGA winner, is just two shots off the lead.

Golf Channel’s Kay Cockerill, the 1986 and ’87 U.S. Women’s Amateur champ, is tied for 10th after opening with a 74.

“I feel like I've been treated like a queen here with the reception,” Cockerill said.

That seemed to be the theme among a field grateful for the new opportunity this event brings to women’s golf.

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Paisley (61) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

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Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.


Current FedExCup standings

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.