Ghims form special father-son team at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 18, 2017, 2:22 am

LOS ANGELES – Doug Ghim was firmly in control of his Round of 16 match Thursday when he sailed his drive into the right rough on Riviera’s 13th hole.

Sizing up his options, he determined that he needed to hook his 200-yard second shot up and around a row of trees. It was his only chance of holding a green that slopes severely from back to front and right to left.

Ghim’s father and caddie, Jeff, handed him a 5-iron.

“Too much,” Doug said.

Hooking a 5-iron, he explained, would de-loft the club too much and send his ball screaming over the green. Instead, he asked for a 7-iron, and he ripped the shot through the trees and onto the back edge of the green.

Watching in awe, Jeff Ghim approached his son, cupped his face in his hands and laughed.

“Holy moly,” Jeff said later. “Amazing!”

This is likely Doug Ghim’s final U.S. Amateur appearance before he turns pro next summer, and the 21-year-old is cherishing every moment alongside the man who has played a multitude of roles in his life.

After growing up in South Korea, Jeff didn’t pick up a club until he was about 30. Instantly he was hooked, and it took him only six months to become a single-digit handicap. Jeff harbored ambitions of playing professionally until he woke up one morning and couldn’t move. Doctors later determined that he needed a laminectomy, his first of three back surgeries. These days, he only plays sparingly.

With his pro dreams dashed, Jeff focused on teaching the game to others. His most promising student became his only son, Doug.

Three months after he first started hitting balls, and only after promising to quit baseball so he didn’t mix two wildly different swings, Doug, then 6, won his first tournament – in the 10-12 age division.

“Maybe this boy was meant to play golf,” Jeff said.

But the family fell on hard times, and Doug’s parents couldn’t afford to buy him a junior membership or enter him in any tournaments near their home in Arlington Heights, Ill., about 40 minutes northwest of Chicago.

So they improvised. Jeff built his son a hitting bay in the backyard. For years, all Doug knew were the afternoon sessions beating balls into a tennis net three feet away.

“In hindsight, it was probably the best thing for me,” Doug said. “I’d beg my dad to let me play tournaments, but there was no pressure of winning. I practiced because I loved it, and it was all about my growth. That was an advantage for me. That’s why I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder to get better.”

A few years later, the Ghims took full advantage of The Arboretum Club’s twilight rates. Most afternoons, Doug would change into golf clothes before his final class of the day, and his dad would be waiting outside with the rest of the parents, his passenger-side door already open.

They’d speed to the course and play 18 as quick as they could, making pit stops only to hit pitch shots around the 17th green or fish Pro V1s out of the pond.

The AJGA offers an ACE Grant program to families in need of financial assistance, and Doug took full advantage of those extra playing opportunities, rising to No. 5 in the high school class of 2014 when he committed to play at Texas.

But arriving in Austin, and competing against players who grew up in the TrackMan era, was an eye-opening experience.

“I didn’t grow up with a range. I had so much to learn,” Doug said. “That’s why I’ve seen the improvement that I have over the past couple of years, learning how to effectively practice and what works for me.”

Indeed, Ghim has become one of the most consistent college players over the past three years, and last season he earned Big 12 Player of the Year honors. The Longhorns senior is currently ranked No. 7 in the world.

Ghim has enjoyed plenty of success in USGA events, too. He reached the semifinals of the 2013 U.S. Junior. He lost in the finals of the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links (with a Masters berth on the line), when he blocked his tee shot out of bounds on the final hole and eventually lost in a playoff. And now he has reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur at Riviera.

His dad is the only swing coach Doug has ever had, and one of the only caddies he has used in these amateur tournaments.

Doesn’t that dynamic ever get awkward?

“No,” Jeff said, “he’s a really good boy.”

Well, there were a few incidents …

Jeff said there was one six-month period when father and son butted heads.

“Puberty,” he said with a smile.

And Doug said he was playing in a junior tournament once when he went for a par 5 in two, found the water, and looked over to see his dad kicking the base of a tree in frustration. Later, when he saw his dad limping, Doug smiled and said, “What’s wrong?”

“Ah,” Jeff said, shaking it off, “I must have stepped on something wrong.”

Oh, and there was that time they accidentally swapped wedges. Jeff receives all of Doug’s hand-me-downs, and somehow an old 60-degree wedge – the shaft was about 15 grams lighter – found its way back into Doug’s bag before the start of the Trans-Miss Amateur. Doug spent the first round avoiding 100-yard shots and shot 7 over.

“It’s fun to have him on the ride,” he said. “He knows me better than anyone. I know him. We have a lot of chemistry, so there’s no awkwardness.

“But the disadvantage is that it’s family. We both want it so bad, and he arguably wants it more than I do. But we ride this rollercoaster together. When it gets going in the wrong direction, sometimes it’s tough, as you can imagine. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

This week at the U.S. Amateur, Jeff has expertly played the role of dutiful caddie. He judges the wind. He reads every putt. And he celebrates enthusiastically, bumping fists and hollering, “Let’s go!” and “Yes!” and “That’s what I’m talking about!” after his son makes birdie.

When Doug closed out his Round of 16 opponent, Joey Vrzich, 3 and 2, Jeff held his boy tight and planted a kiss on his cheek.

“After I started in golf, that was my dream,” Jeff said. “And now he does that for me. He does my dream. When I walk with him in the fairway, I’m most happy.”

Jeff turns 58 on Sunday, and Doug still hasn’t found him a gift.

Then it hit him.

“It’s tall and shiny and has lots of names on it,” he said.

Yes, for this father-son team, the Havemeyer Trophy would make the perfect present.

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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.”