Deutsche Bank hopes for a storm-free finish

By Rex HoggardSeptember 4, 2016, 11:41 pm

NORTON, Mass. – While the vast majority of the United States enjoys BBQs, football, fireworks and the swan song for white shorts, the PGA Tour and those in the traveling circus’ radius will be enduring a quintessential manic Monday.

There will be a champion crowned at the Deutsche Bank Championship, some clarity added to the U.S. Ryder Cup picks race, a potentially dramatic FedEx Cup shuffle and a dead sprint to beat Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine to the clubhouse.

So much for holidays.

Of course, all of those plans could get blown off course if Hermine, which is forecast to turn to the northeast and just brush New England, blows the best-laid plans into a Tuesday finish.

Officials made the proactive move to send players off earlier than scheduled in threesomes from the first and 10th tees with the hope of finishing at 2 p.m. (ET), but with gusts expected to reach 45 mph around brunch time it promises to be an eventful day whether they complete the second playoff stop as scheduled or not.

But the forecast, and the prospect of a Tuesday finish, was the last thing on most players’ minds, not with so many other moving parts to track.

For the likes of Kevin Chappell, who is tied for third place heading into Monday’s tempest, the final turn at TPC Boston represents yet another chance to break through the grass ceiling after finishing second three times this season.

“I have stuff to pull from in my past so in that sense it's easier,” said Chappell, who shot a third-round 71. “Answering these questions every week doesn't make it any easier though. I look forward to getting [a win] tomorrow and hopefully having it stop.”

Or Smylie Kaufman, the rookie who is tied for third with Chappell and Jimmy Walker, to pick up where he left off when he won his second start as a Tour member last October.

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Both will be chasing Paul Casey, your 54-hole leader at 15 under par and three strokes clear of the field following a torrid finish that included an eagle at the last hole. The endearing Englishman has three consecutive rounds of 66 in his search for his first Tour victory since 2009, if not the final chapter of a comeback that has been ongoing for the better part of two years.

“There were many a times that I questioned not if I was going to play golf but certainly to what level I would play golf,” said Casey, who leads Brian Harman by three strokes. “Sometimes I believed I could get back to a certain level and other times I didn't see much hope.”

It’s been a strange year for Casey, who turned down his European Tour membership this season and with it a potential spot on the Continent’s Ryder Cup team. He replaced the lingering drive to play for country and cup with a different goal – advance to the Tour Championship with a chance to win the FedEx Cup.

A victory on Monday would vault Casey from 59th on the points list to fourth with two stops remaining on the 2015-16 schedule.

“I've been to the Tour Championship before and you just want to be there in the top 5 and control your own destiny,” he said. “Being outside that top 5 and having other guys in control is not something you really want to be part of.”

Jim Furyk will also have an eye on the FedEx Cup algorithms, but for vastly different reasons.

Furyk is 84th on the points list and unless he finishes inside the top 20 this week his season, and perhaps his Ryder Cup hopes, are over. U.S. captain Davis Love III has repeatedly mentioned Furyk, who is currently scheduled to serve in the role of vice captain at Hazeltine National, as a potential pick, but if the veteran failed to advance to the final two postseason events it would be difficult to justify him as a selection.

If the math and leaderboard holds, there are currently six players projected to play their way into the top 70 and next week’s BMW Championship, including Billy Hurley III and Steve Stricker, adding an entirely different level of intrigue to an already busy and blustery day at TPC Boston.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Rory McIlroy moved to add a measure of star power to the proceedings with a third-round 66 that moved him to within six strokes of the lead and into a tie for seventh place.

The guy who teamed with a new putting coach last week and has repeatedly said it’s going to be a process – adding that he hopes to be back to his old self by next April – has rolled in 178 feet of putts the last two days to post his first back-to-back sub-pars rounds on Tour since June.

Not bad for a player who started his week 4 over par through his first three holes.

“The way I'm looking at it is how good a tournament would this be to win being 4 over through three,” said McIlroy, who is 9 under. “It's a great opportunity to do something that I've never done before.”

It’s all part of a potentially frenzied day at TPC Boston. That is, of course, if Hermine cooperates.

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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

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Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”