On the edge of history

By Randall MellJune 26, 2011, 1:00 am

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s a giant task.

So large that if Cindy LaCrosse pulls the improbable upset Sunday at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, women’s golf will have its version of Jack Fleck.

The game will have its most stunning upset since Fleck marched out of the cornfields of Iowa to defeat Ben Hogan at the ’55 U.S. Open.

LaCrosse, 24, stepped out of golf’s shadows and into its brightest spotlight with her play Saturday at Locust Hill Country Club.

She played her way into a final pairing of a major championship and now faces the challenge of trying to come from five shots back to knock off the No. 1 player in the Rolex world rankings.

At No. 168 in the world, LaCrosse faces the daunting challenge of trying to stop Yani Tseng from making history. Tseng is on her game and aiming to do something Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg and Mickey Wright never did. She’s aiming to do something no champion’s ever done. She’s bidding to win her fourth major championship by the age of 22.

Moments before the Sunday tee times were set, LaCrosse was asked what it would be like to play with Tseng?

“It would be pretty cool,” LaCrosse said. “I am going to focus on what I need to do and see what happens. I had a really good time today.”

LaCrosse had a good time making a strong Saturday move while paired with Paula Creamer for the first time. She said the galleries were by far the largest she’s ever played in front of, and yet LaCrosse was unbowed. She rode a hot putter to a 3-under-par 69 and into a tie for second with Morgan Pressel. LaCrosse outplayed Creamer, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champ, by three shots.

“It was nice having people clap for you when you walked up to every green,” LaCrosse said. “Then I realized it was more for Paula than for me.”

Five of the top eight players on the leaderboard have won majors. LaCrosse? Before this week, she had only played in one major.

Nobody expected LaCrosse to play her way into this position so quickly, even with her credentials as last year's Futures Tour Player of the Year. Even LaCrosse didn’t expect this.

“I would like to say, `No, it doesn’t surprise me,’ but I don’t know,” said LaCrosse, a University of Louisville graduate from Tampa, Fla. “It’s kind of cool I’m in contention.”

Technically, LaCrosse isn’t a rookie, but she’s playing in just her 13th LPGA event and in her first full season on tour. She’s never recorded a top-10 finish in an LPGA event. Her tie for 11th at the ShopRite Classic three weeks ago is her best LPGA finish.

“I like the confidence she’s playing with,” said Mike Berger, LaCrosse’s caddie. “She just doesn’t get rattled.”

LaCrosse said she doesn’t try to look too far ahead in life.

“I guess kind of every step I’ve taken in golf, I had no expectations going into it,” LaCrosse said. “In college, I was a walk-on, then started playing really well. Same thing going out to the Futures Tour. I didn’t know what to expect. That was kind of my advantage, that I didn’t have anything to lose.”

LaCrosse has some good New York mojo going for her. Two of her three Futures Tour titles last year came in the state of New York. She caddied for her father, Doug, when he played in the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester three years ago.

“I definitely like New York,” LaCrosse said. “I don’t know what it is.”

There’s some good help in LaCrosse’s corner. Her father was a three-time Florida State Amateur champ who turned pro at 50 and played some on the Champions Tour. Her coach is Sean Foley, the same swing coach who works with Tiger Woods. Cindy said her father is friends with NBC TV analyst Gary Koch, who helped steer LaCrosse to Foley at the start of this year.

“My dad and I talk after every round,” LaCrosse said.

What was his advice for the weekend?

“Just keep doing what you’re doing,” papa LaCrosse told his daughter. “Remember where you came from and how you got here.”

That advice has LaCrosse on the edge of history.

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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.”