U.S. 'best golfing nation' at International Crown

By Randall MellJuly 25, 2016, 12:32 am

GURNEE, Ill. – The words washing over Stacy Lewis were sweeter than any douse of celebratory champagne.

“To be called the best golfing nation is pretty satisfying, just to hear that being announced when we're getting those trophies,” Lewis said Sunday evening after the United States won the UL International Crown. “That was so cool for me, because we're under constant scrutiny of, `Why aren't the Americans playing well? Why aren't they winning?’ I don't know how else to say it, other than it's just really satisfying.”

This looked like it might be an epically bad year for the United States in women’s golf, when June rolled around and Lexi Thompson was the only American winner of an LPGA event. Now, there looms the possibility it might be an epically grand summer, with Brittany Lang winning the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks ago, with the Ricoh Women’s British Open next week and the Olympics a couple weeks after that.

All of a sudden, the Americans have momentum working for them.

“I think we're all pumped for the major next week,” Lewis said. “Everybody is playing well.

“I had a feeling that this could happen, because we were all playing well at the U.S. Open. Cristie Kerr and I kind of talked about that. Hopefully, the four of us can ride some momentum and bring another trophy back to the U.S.”

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The Americans beamed when they were “crowned as the best golfing nation” in the women’s game at the trophy presentation. They were literally crowned champions. UL CEO and president Keith Williams placed sterling silver Tiffany crowns upon the heads of Lewis, Kerr, Thompson and Gerina Piller in the festive aftermath.

Best golfing nation?

The Americans haven’t heard words like that to describe them in a long time.

“This week has been unbelievable for us,” Lewis said.

Just as they did at the Solheim Cup in Germany last fall, the Americans dug themselves out of a hole to win.

After getting swept Thursday in the opening round of fourballs at the Merit Club, the Americans rallied hard, losing just one of their next eight matches.

This comeback wasn’t as epic or historic as what the Americans mounted against the Europeans at St. Leon-Rot last September, but it was impressive nonetheless, given how a first-round sweep led to their elimination in the inaugural International Crown two years ago.

Lewis, Thompson, Piller and Kerr were all members of that winning Solheim Cup team last fall.

In fact, they were the best American pairings in Germany, going undefeated as partners. Kerr paired with Thompson at the Merit Club, just as she did for three matches at the Solheim Cup. And Lewis paired with Piller, just as she did for two matches at St. Leon-Rot.

Cumulatively, they were 4-0-1 in Germany.

So there was comfort and confidence carrying over from that Solheim Cup.

“We didn't really talk about that,” Piller said. “But I know for me, and I'm sure everyone else, that deep down inside, it was kind of like `We can do this. We've done this before. We've done the unthinkable, and now we're kind of in a similar situation.’ There wasn't a whole lot of panic going on within our team, which was great.”

Kerr, the veteran, clinched the victory with a two-putt birdie at the 16th hole in Sunday singles, defeating England’s gritty Mel Reid, 3 and 2. The Americans took three of their four singles matches.

“It's so complicated trying to figure out all the points, I was like, `Just handle my match, and we'll worry about it later,’” Kerr said.

The United States won the second rendition of the UL with 13 points, one point ahead of the Republic of Korea, the top seed. That’s the equivalent of winning by a halved match. England finished third with 11 points.

“We had zero points the first day, and we still ended up with the most,” Lewis said. “It's just a testament to [my teammates] and their will to want to win this thing.”

Lewis, the former Rolex world No. 1, led off for the Americans, defeating Japan’s Mika Miyazato. It was Lewis’ first singles victory as a professional golfer. She is 0-2-1 in Solheim Cup singles.

It was also Lewis’ first victory on American soil playing for a United States team.

It all made the victory that much more special to her.

“I never won an amateur event on U.S. soil, so it’s really nice,” Lewis said.

Piller came out after Lewis and defeated Chinese Taipei’s Yani Tseng, 4 and 3.

Thompson lost her match to So Yeon Ryu (2 and 1), but she was a force in fourballs, going 2-1 with Kerr.

“Being out here representing my country, it's always the highest honor,” Thompson said. “To be alongside these girls, it's the best. Words can't describe it.”

But the words “best golfing nation” were sweet anyway.

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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.”