Reid proud of effort in solo match against Japan

By Randall MellJuly 22, 2016, 10:36 pm

GURNEE, Ill. – England’s Mel Reid lost her match Friday at the UL International Crown, but she won a legion of new American fans with the fight she put up at the Merit Club.

About 45 minutes before she was going to tee off, Reid learned her team’s star, Charley Hull, was probably going to be too ill to play. Hull began feeling an asthma attack coming on Thursday at a sponsor dinner, and she woke the following morning feeling worse, struggling with her condition and a fever. Under a doctor’s advisement after arriving at the course, she pulled herself out of the fourball match against Japan.

That meant Reid was left to take on the Japanese in a best-ball format all by herself.

Reid is No. 123 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but this challenge would have been daunting for a top-10 player.

“I would say that I am best when I'm really under severe pressure, not just in golf but in life,” Reid said. “I've been under quite a lot of pressure in many situations, and I did see that today. I could have quite easily said, `You know what? I'm on my own. I know I'm not going to win.’ But there's something that switches inside of me, where when I'm under severe pressure, I tend to just turn it on.”

Reid showed that quality four years ago, in the toughest challenge of her life.

UL International Crown: Articles, photos and videos

Back in 2012, Reid’s parents were on their way to watch her play in the Ladies German Open when they were involved in a head-on car crash near Munich. Reid’s father, Brian, survived, but her mother, Joy, did not. She died of internal injuries a day after the crash.

Reid, 28 today, was devastated and struggled emotionally in the aftermath, but she also achieved one of the more remarkable triumphs in Ladies European Tour history. She won the Prague Masters a month after the accident.

Japan’s best fourball team, Haru Nomura and Mika Miyazato, defeated Reid, 1 up on Friday, but players who know Reid weren’t surprised she pushed them to the limit.

Remarkably, the match came down to a final shot, a final putt.

After Reid holed a 35-foot birdie at the 18th, Nomura had to hole a 5-footer for birdie to beat her.

“She was great,” Nomura said.

Reid has been challenged all year after being dealt another blow late last year.

A five-time LET winner, Reid felt ready to take her game to the LPGA. She was going to play her way through LPGA Q-School late last year, but she never got the chance. Her manager forgot to register her for Q-School before the deadline expired.

“I’m still not over that,” Reid said.

It says something about Reid that she has the same manager today.

Through Friday’s match, Reid felt the American-dominated galleries getting behind her quest. She didn’t sense they liked her too much Thursday, when she and Hull were teaming to beat Americans Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, but she felt all that change as she battled steep odds against the Japanese.

“Today, we seemed to get more and more fans as it went along,” Reid said. “I must say a huge thank you to them, because walking up a few of the holes, they were just amazing, everyone cheering me on. I needed that. I felt kind of on my own a little bit out there. But the crowds were amazing, and they really kept my spirits up.”

Reid was 2 down through 11 holes when she rolled in a 10-foot birdie at the 12th to move 1 down. At the 13th she electrified the gallery holing a lob wedge from 70 yards for eagle to square the match. She blistered the back nine in 6 under.

“It was a perfect challenge for Mel,” Hall of Famer Karrie Webb said. “She sometimes needs a little inspiration or a little motivation, and I think as soon as she knew she was on her own, it doesn't surprise me that she gave herself a chance to win the match.”

Reid has been struggling with her game this year, and she struggled Thursday in the opening round, but she found something in herself Friday to muster her best with the odds against her.

“I’m extremely proud of myself,” Reid said.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”