Wacky day in Bahamas results in Choi out front

By Randall MellJanuary 25, 2014, 11:10 pm

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – All that was missing were pirate ships burning off shore.

Not since Blackbeard and Calico Jack roamed these parts has the Bahamas been witness to a wilder shootout for a substantial treasure.

The LPGA staged a free-for-all here on Paradise Island Saturday with some of the world’s best players taking turns holding the lead in the third round.

Five players held or shared the lead before Na Yeon Choi finally pulled away at day’s end.

“It was really set up for eagles today, and it was exciting,” said Rolex world No. 3 Stacy Lewis, who is among seven players within four shots of Choi going into Sunday’s final round.

Choi birdied three of the last four holes Saturday, including the 18th, to equal the low round of the day, a 7-under-par 66. At 15-under 204, she’s a shot ahead of Lizette Salas (66) and three ahead of Paula Creamer (71) and Jessica Korda (72).

Lewis (68), Amelia Lewis (66) and Monday qualifier Jenny Suh (71) are four back.

Lydia Ko (71) and Michelle Wie (72) are in a pack five back.

For Choi, Sunday is a chance to reassert her rank in the game. Choi looked poised to make a run at Rolex world No. 1 last year but never did. She never got into the conversation with No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 2 Suzann Pettersen and No. 3 Lewis, who pulled away as the game’s “Big Three.”

“When I started 2013, I was No. 2 in the world,” Choi said. “I was so much focused on being No. 1, and I forgot what I needed to do on the course and in practice.”

Choi ended the year No. 7, but she’s looking ready to win again. She prevailed on a crazy Saturday of shot making and shot shanking.

Lewis holed a wedge for eagle from 94 yards at the 13th to grab a share of the lead. Creamer holed a sand wedge from 82 yards at the 11th to make eagle and stay in the hunt.

Wie drove the sixth green with a 290-yard rocket and two putted for birdie, but she also missed her share of putts from point-blank range.

Nobody’s day was wilder than Creamer’s and Korda’s.

Korda, the second-round leader, shanked a wedge sideways and out of bounds at the 13th hole on the way to a double bogey.

“I’ve never shanked a shot in a tournament,” Korda said.

Korda, however, fought her way back, making birdie at the next hole and then carving a 5-iron from 196 yards to a foot for a closing eagle to stay in the hunt for her second LPGA title.

“It’s awesome I’m still in it,” Korda said.

Korda’s last shot at the 18th was made even more dramatic by the fact that she followed Creamer’s spectacular shot there. Creamer, who had her share of woe on Saturday, knocked a 5-wood from 209 yards to about 2 ½ feet at the closing hole. Korda stepped up and then hit hers inside Creamer. They both eagled. It means the duo will play together for a fourth consecutive day, this time in the second-to-last pairing, in front of the leaders.

“It was a roller-coaster day,” Creamer said.

Creamer pulled her tee shot at the 15th left into a hazard and made triple bogey.

“Overall, I’m proud of the way I finished,” Creamer said.

So was Salas, who has battled the flu for two days.

“The fact that I've been feeling a little under the weather kind of just makes my mind blank and just helps me focus on targets and just having fun,” said Salas, who is seeking her first LPGA title. “I'd rather be playing than lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself.”

Lewis, the highest ranked player in the field, would like nothing better than to send a message to No. 1 Park and No. 2 Pettersen with a win on Sunday.

“I definitely think it would [send a message],” Lewis said. “I think just playing well here, I think that would send a message. I don't know how much golf they're actually watching right now. They probably aren't paying attention to it, knowing those two.”

Beating a stellar leaderboard like this one will get a lot of people’s attention come Sunday.

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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.”