#AskLav mailbag: Sneds, meth labs and spiderwoman

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 14, 2013, 6:46 pm

These are peculiar times in golf, not least because a pop-up meth lab was found in a porta-potty on a golf course. (Editor's note: Aforementioned porta-potty not shown here.)

If you haven’t yet seen the story, a Purcell, Okla., muni was at the center of a police investigation Tuesday after authorities found a “shake and bake” meth lab near one of the holes. (Full story here.) There is no truth to the rumors that the bunkers were actually made of bath salts.

Anyway, that ridiculous news brief almost makes the story of Daniela Holmqvist seem ordinary. The rookie on the Ladies European Tour was bitten by a black widow spider at a pre-qualifier, and not only did the 24-year-old dig a tee into her ankle and squeeze out the poisonous venom, but she also kept playing, shot 74 and didn’t visit the local hospital.

A 74 under those unusual conditions is extraordinary, really, but keep in mind it’s also 11 strokes higher than what Lydia Ko posted in Round 1 to take the early LPGA lead. Already Ko is 30th in the Rolex Rankings – ahead of Sandra Gal, ahead of Morgan Pressel, ahead of Michelle Wie. A reminder: She’s only 15 years old. Not old enough to drive. Not old enough, technically, to see an R-rated movie by herself. Barely old enough to be your babysitter.

The only golfer hotter at the moment? Brandt Snedeker, who broke through after consecutive runner-up finishes and set the tournament scoring record at Pebble Beach … only two days later, he revealed that he’s been playing through a rib injury and could miss the next month. In hindsight, how remarkable is that stretch of golf?

And, lastly, the USGA announced it would begin drug testing at this year’s amateur championships. Smart move, because if the feigned uproar is any indication, many disenchanted players likely turned to illegal substances after learning that the Publinx would be retired. Or, you know, this is simply the USGA’s reaction to the explosion of golf-course porta-potty meth labs across the country. 

Yes, what a strange, intoxicating week it has been. With that, here are your questions in this week’s #AskLav mailbag:

Love the idea, far-fetched or not. Rory picks his opponent for Round 1, then Tiger makes his selection. It’s Survivor: Dove Mountain. Think of all the back-room deals, the psychological ploys. Think of all the bruised egos!

Well, at least under the anti-doping policy the Tour is required to name the offender and suspension levied. But that’s all we get. Unlike other sports, there is no disclosure of fines, no disclosure of suspensions. Camp Ponte Vedra wants to protect the image of the sport, transparency be damned.

There is no shortage of spectacular finishing holes on the regular Tour schedule – PGA National, Pebble, Hilton Head all come to mind – but the 18th at the Riv is in my personal top 5. Unless you’ve stood on the tee, it’s impossible to comprehend how difficult that drive is on the 18th, especially for a right-hander. And the natural amphitheater surrounding the 18th green is one of the most hair-raising scenes in golf, as this euphoric fan from last year’s event demonstrates here.

Just mowed the living-room carpet to 12 on the Stimpmeter. I’ll be ready for 2015.

Uh, if you’re flying all the way over to Scotland, you might as well play golf with a few buddies, no? Just make sure you’re on-site Sunday, in case there’s a reprisal for Medinah.

Getty Images

Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

Getty Images

Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

Getty Images

Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.