Pain motivates Kerr, Lewis for 2013 Solheim Cup

By Randall MellMarch 13, 2013, 2:47 pm

PHOENIX – The Solheim Cup’s shadow looms over the American start to the 2013 LPGA season this week in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

Though still five months away, the biennial competition shapes this season in so many ways for the Americans here.

Nobody feels it more than Stacy Lewis and Cristie Kerr.

They are Nos. 1 and 2 on the United States Solheim Cup points list, respectively, but they probably ranked first and second in frustration endured in the American loss in Ireland two seasons ago.

Photo gallery: Europe wins 2011 Solheim Cup

Lewis struggled on and off the course in her first Solheim Cup.

She was 1-3. She and playing partner Angela Stanford got routed in their first two matches, and Lewis lost a pivotal early singles match to Sophie Gustafson.

Off the course, Lewis had issues with captain Rosie Jones and some of her decisions. There were uneasy interactions between them.

Pain, ultimately, is a merciless teacher. Lewis, who grew up with scoliosis, knows this. She learned in the Solheim Cup that emotional pain is just as instructive.

In the end, Lewis turned Solheim Cup negatives into positives.

“I think if that Solheim Cup week hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t have won Player of the Year last year,” Lewis said. “I wouldn’t have had the year I had. I learned so much from that week.

“A lot of it was just handling the pressure and the emotions of it. I didn’t handle it well. I didn’t handle things with Rosie well. The team was on edge; we were stressed out all week. I really learned just how things off the course can affect what happens on the course.

“Off the golf course, that should be your time to relax. It wasn’t that way in this last Solheim Cup. We were all stressed out when we were away from the course. That’s one thing I took away from the experience. When you get on the golf course, you have to leave everything else that’s going on off the course. When you’re on the course, you play golf, and you worry about all the other stuff later.”

Lewis, 28, learned lessons about managing emotions and adversity that helped her win four times last season and once already this season.

“I’m fired up to go back to the Solheim Cup,” Lewis said.

Kerr left Ireland with aches that were physical and emotional, with disappointment that fuels a motivating sense of unfinished business as she enters this Solheim Cup year.

Though Kerr claimed 2½ points for the Americans, she broke down in tears before the team’s Sunday singles collapse even began. She wept on the driving range after deciding the pain in her right wrist was too much and she couldn’t play. Kerr was in the anchor match, but she conceded the point to Karen Stupples. Kerr struggled through her first four matches with pain. To this day, she doesn’t know how she hurt herself but suspects it might have been hauling luggage on the way to Ireland.

In the end, the Americans would have retained the cup if Kerr had been able to deliver a singles victory.

“I had a photo of my teammates in my yardage book to motivate me, but, unfortunately, I just couldn’t go one more round,” Kerr said. “Words can’t really express the way I felt. I let my teammates down, my country down, my captain down. I didn’t let myself down, because I gave it all I had. I played four matches in a lot of pain.”

Kerr, 35, looking to make her seventh Solheim Cup team, ended a two-year winless spell last November, claiming the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She tees it up at this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup looking for her 16th LPGA title.

“It was huge for my confidence,” Kerr said of winning last fall. “Golf’s a sport where you can put in a lot of work and often not see a lot of reward. I’ve been fortunate. I’m pretty talented. I work hard, and I’ve seen a lot of success over the years. But to have a period of time where I’m doing a lot of things right, and not get a win, it was frustrating. You kind of want to lose your confidence a little bit. Winning showed me you have to persevere, that you can’t lose the faith just because you don’t win.”

Kerr will be looking to use that resolve to help the Americans win back the Solheim Cup when it is played Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club, just outside Denver.

“I definitely think we – myself and our team – have something to prove this year,” Kerr said.

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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who led by three strokes at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.

The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.

Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.

On that occasion, Noren closed with a 10-under 62 - one of the best rounds ever on the European Tour - and the Swede embarked on another last-day charge 12 months later, a fifth birdie of the day at No. 12 briefly drawing him to within two shots of Molinari.

It was the closest he came, with a bogey at the next virtually ending his bid for victory.

Molinari played safe and error-free golf, establishing a three-shot lead by the turn with birdies at Nos. 3, 4 and 8, and there were no dramas on the back nine - until the final hole, which he played holding a three-stroke cushion over McIlroy.

With McIlroy on the green in two and facing a 20-foot putt for eagle, Molinari sent in his third shot that span back toward the water protecting the green, only for the ball to rest in the fringe.

McIlroy left his putt inches short and Molinari two-putted for par.

McIlroy, the four-time major winner and former No. 1, played what he described as one of his best rounds of 2018 on Friday, a bogey-free 65 that left him as an overwhelming favorite to follow up his victory here in 2014.

He struggled off the tee in shooting 71 on Saturday and started the final round with errant drives on Nos. 1 and 3 (both right, into spectators) and No. 4 (left). After a bogey at No. 10, he was the only player in the top 10 over par but he birdied the three par fives coming home to salvage what was otherwise a disappointing Sunday.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.