Lewis after 67: 'It was such an easy day'

By Randall MellJune 19, 2014, 8:19 pm

PINEHURST, N.C. – Stacy Lewis took her time in the practice rounds getting ready for the U.S. Women’s Open this week.

It wasn’t so much the extra balls she was hitting, but all the extra time she was taking to sign autographs as she made her way around Pinehurst No. 2.

Joe Hallett, Lewis’ swing coach, couldn’t help asking her about it.

“I’m just building a lot of good karma out here,” Lewis said.

All that goodwill Lewis built came flooding back to her Thursday in a brilliant start to this historic week. With a 3-under-par 67, Lewis shot to the top of the leaderboard among those off in the morning wave. She is hoping to pick up where Martin Kaymer left off when he won the U.S. Open here last week. She might not be as far out front as Kaymer was early, but, like Kaymer, she seemed to be playing a different course than everyone else.

“It was such an easy day,” Lewis said.

Somebody cover the ears of the USGA executive director Mike Davis, who oversees setups. Easy? Well, yeah, when you hit every fairway except one, and every green in regulation except one, it feels easy. That wasn’t the case for most of the women slugging it around Pinehurst No. 2.


U.S. Women’s Open: Articles, videos and photos


Don’t tell world No. 2 Inbee Park it was easy. The defending champion opened with a 76, nine shots worse than Lewis and just two better than 11-year-old Lucy Li.

Park, winner of the first three majors last year, walked off Pinehurst No. 2 bewildered over how many shots got away from her around those turtleback greens. When Park won the U.S. Women's Open a year ago, she bested Lewis by 12 shots in their pairing together over the first two rounds. Lewis seems determined to return the favor this week. They're playing together again.

“It’s beyond disappointment,” Park said. “It happened so quickly, I don’t know what happened. I was just really shocked at how the golf course played. I didn’t feel like I played horrible, but the score is bad. It’s so easy to make a lot of big numbers here.”

Tell Emma Talley about it. The U.S. Women’s Amateur champ had a share of the early lead but needed three shots to get out of the bunker in front of the fifth green and made triple bogey. She shot 75 playing alongside Lewis and Park.

With the U.S. Women’s Open being played for the first time on the same venue as the U.S. Open in back-to-back weeks, Lewis would relish following the Kaymer script in a wire-to-wire victory.

“I liked watching the men last week,” Lewis said. “I like to hit a cut a lot like Kaymer does. So on a lot of those holes, it was cool to see the plan I had laid out in my head. He was kind of doing the same thing. So it was nice coming into the week, knowing that my plan was going to work on this golf course.

“I thought that somebody can run away with this. If you're hitting the ball well enough, you can definitely run away with it. At the same time, you have to know par is a good number and keep grinding away.”

Kaymer opened with back-to-back 65s and never looked back in his eight-shot runaway. Like Kaymer, Lewis came here with a hot hand. She has two LPGA titles already this season and has finished among the top 10 in all but two of her 13 starts this year. That form doesn’t bode well for a field that knows how she can close.

“Stacy is playing unbelievable,” said Juli Inkster, who opened with a 71. “I don't know if anybody can catch her.”

Before Lewis headed out to the first tee early Thursday morning, she bumped fists with Hallett, her swing coach.

“Remember, brains equal birdies,” Hallett told her.

Nobody played smarter than Lewis on Thursday. With the course playing dry and firm in what felt like a furnace, with temperatures rising to 96 degrees, Lewis was the only player who didn’t make a bogey in the morning wave. She never got herself in trouble hitting 17 of 18 greens and 13 of 14 fairways.

“She didn't make many mistakes today, from tee to the green,” Park said. “She was really good at making clutch par putts today. I think that was really strong part of her game today.”

Lewis, 29, a two-time major championship winner, tied for third in the first U.S. Woman’s Open she ever played back in 2008 at Interlachen. Having just turned pro that summer, she led through 54 holes before faltering in a final-round 78. She hasn’t finished better than a tie for 14th in this championship since.

Every part of Lewis’ game, however, is becoming more suited to winning majors. She wasn’t a terrific putter when she joined the tour, but she leads the tour in putts per greens in regulation this year, ranking just ahead of Park. She was middle of the pack in driving distance when she joined the tour. She ranks 16th in driving distance today, hitting the ball farther and higher than she ever has. She is even working diligently on her demeanor, on being calmer and less upset in a round when circumstances turn against her. She thinks it's an integral component in winning majors, especially a U.S. Women's Open. She has noted how cool and unshakeable all the South Korean winners of the U.S. Women's Open seem, and they have won five of the last six of them.

Inkster sees how driven Lewis is to be the best.

“She's got the heart for it,” Inkster said. “She's got the want. She wants it. Golf right now is a big part of her life. She wants to be No. 1. There's a lot of people out there who say they want to be No. 1, but I'm not really sure they really do. She wants to be. I think it's great for our tour. She's a phenomenal player.”

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Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


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


The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.


Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

The week was more than nostalgic. 

It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

“I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

“It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


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


The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

“It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

“Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

“Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

“A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

“It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.