Ko succeeds in winning and losing

By Randall MellJuly 26, 2016, 6:36 pm

WOBURN, England – Lydia Ko can wear a trophy as if it’s an accessory.

She really knows how to tote sterling silver cups and other prizes.

But she wears black and blue well, too.

At 19, with a staggering 14 LPGA titles, two of them majors, Ko doesn’t really have any competitive scars, but she has sported her share of bruises.

This remarkable journey she is on as she prepares for this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open hasn’t been without its share of hard blows in tough losses.

Ko isn’t just showing she knows how to win more than any teenager we’ve ever seen in the game. She knows how to lose, too.

Nobody in contention as often as she is today rebounds as quickly or effectively.

Take this year alone.

Ko has won five times around the world this season, rebounding from some gut-wrenching losses on her way to each of them.

At the LPGA season opener, Ko blew a share of the final-round lead at the Coates Golf Championship, unraveling as Ha Na Jang pulled away from her. Jang later said that Ko began encouraging her, cheering her on even as Ko slipped back in the pack.

Ko won her next start at the New Zealand Women’s Open.

At the Women’s Australian Open in February, Ko blitzed the difficult Grange Golf Club in the final round, shooting 67, but Haru Nomura played better, shooting 65 to win their duel. Ko hung around after her hard charge came up short and giddily helped douse Nomura in a celebratory shower on the 18th green.

A month later, Ko won the Kia Classic and the ANA Inspiration in back-to-back starts.

At the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in early June, Ko took the 54-hole lead into the final round in a bid to win her third consecutive major, but Brooke Henderson chased her down, catching her in regulation and beating her in a playoff.

Three weeks later, Ko won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.


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At the U.S. Women’s Open last month, Ko took yet another 54-hole lead into the final round, but she squandered it after chunking a shot from deep rough into a hazard midway through her round.

In Ko’s very next start, she won the Marathon Classic.

What’s her secret to rebounding?

“I think you just can’t punish yourself so much about those bad ones,” Ko said. “You’ve got to think, 'Hey, what have I learned from this?'

“I feel like every failure, every loss, there's meaning at the end of it. You're always learning from it. Even if you do win, I always feel like at the end of the week, there is a key thing that I learn from my game, or that I learned more about myself, or I learned more about advantages or disadvantages and things I need to work on. I always say every day is a new day. Every round is a new round.”

David Leadbetter, Ko’s swing coach, went to dinner with Lydia after that season opening loss at the Coates, where she faltered in the final pairing.

“You wouldn’t even have known she lost,” Leadbetter said of the dinner conversation. “She didn’t really talk about losing. She didn’t dwell on it. She doesn’t beat herself up when things don’t go her way. She recognizes other players work hard, too, and she understands she isn’t going to be perfect.”

Leadbetter says Ko has the ability to move on quickly, to process a loss in the healthiest way possible.

“She has the perfect temperament for this game,” Leadbetter said. “She plays with joy, a genuine joy for the game.”

Karen Stupples, the 2004 Women’s British Open champion, says that may be Ko’s real secret.

“When you watch her play, it's almost as if there really isn't any pressure,” Stupples said. “She just seems to enjoy the moment and just enjoys playing golf no matter whether it's for the win or for the loss. She's just playing to the best that she can possibly play for.

“She’s a psychologist’s dream. How she talks, it’s exactly how a sports psychologist talks to players, and she does it very naturally.”

Hall of Famer Judy Rankin thinks Ko chooses her thoughts well.

“She’s excellent at not looking back,” Rankin said.

Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz has probably watched Ko hit more shots in competition than anyone outside Ko’s caddie, Jason Hamilton, Ko’s parents or Leadbetter.

“Absolutely nothing seems to faze her and her positive attitude toward the game,” Foltz said.

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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.”