Daly-Donofrio Coasts to Victory

By Sports NetworkNovember 14, 2004, 5:00 pm
SEMMES, Ala. -- Heather Daly-Donofrio posted a 2-under 70 on Sunday to cruise to victory at the Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions. She finished at 19-under-par 269 and won by four over Laura Diaz at Magnolia Grove Crossings Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
'This is huge for me,' said Daly-Donofrio, who pocketed $130,000 for the win. 'I can't believe this happened. I won it and have another three-year exemption on tour.'
Daly-Donofrio only got an invitation into the field this week because tournament officials relaxed the qualification process. Her only other win on tour was in 2001 and officials decided to open the tournament to Hall of Famers and winners from this season and the last three years.
Diaz birdied her final two holes to polish off a 3-under 69. Her second-place finish got her enough money to get into the field next week at the ADT Championship, which is reserved for the top-32 on the LPGA Tour money list. Wendy Ward, who tied for 16th, collected enough money to grab the final spot next week.
Reigning Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples and Candie Kung each bogeyed the final hole Sunday for rounds of 1-under 71. The duo shared third place with Sophie Gustafson, who carded an even-par 72, at 14-under-par 274.
Daly-Donofrio brought a three-shot lead into the final round and parred her first two holes to maintain her advantage. At the par-4 third, Daly- Donofrio found the fairway then hit a 9-iron from 132 yards. The ball landed 15 feet short of the hole, but rolled in for an eagle-two and a five-stroke lead.
'I thought maybe I can't do anything wrong today,' admitted Daly-Donofrio, referring to what she thought after the improbable eagle. 'That was a bonus. It was great.'
Daly-Donofrio parred her next three holes before she sank a 20-footer for birdie at the seventh. Gustafson, her playing partner on Sunday, made things a bit more interesting with a birdie at the seventh and a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 9. Daly-Donofrio had 45 feet for birdie at the ninth, but left her putt 15 feet short. She calmly drained the par-saving putt to maintain a three-shot edge.
Gustafson found serious trouble at the par-5 13th. Her drive went well into the trees on the right side and after several struggles, was in the fairway hitting her fifth shot from 216 yards. That landed in the front bunker, where she got up and down for a double bogey.
Daly-Donofrio had a five-shot lead and coasted. She hit a terrible drive at the 15th and missed the green short with her second. Daly-Donofrio's chip hit the hole and rolled 6 feet past, where she converted the par putt.
Diaz got within five as Daly-Donofrio reached the last. Daly-Donofrio's drive split the fairway, but her approach came up so short and left, Daly-Donofrio laughed at the approach. She chipped 45 feet right of the flag, then two-putted for bogey.
'I hung in there and putted really well again today,' said Daly-Donofrio. 'Everybody in this field are tournament winners. I was a nervous wreck all day.'
The bogey on the closing hole cost Daly-Donofrio a piece of the tournament record. Se Ri Pak posted a 268 in 2002, but Daly-Donofrio recorded her second victory on tour to go along with the Betsy King Classic in 2001.
Daly-Donofrio came into the event 84th on the money list with only one top-10.
'It's been a grind. I've fought for every single dollar I've made this year,' said Daly-Donofrio. 'It was really a tough year. I figured this week I had nothing to lose. I'm used to finishing last here and anything I did was going to be better than that.'
Hee-Won Han fired a 5-under 67 and finished alone in sixth at 13-under-par 275. Cristie Kerr (69), Karrie Webb (70) and Carin Koch (70) shared seventh place at minus-8.
Liselotte Neumann posted a 2-under 70 and tied for 10th place with Lorie Kane, who carded a 1-over-par 73 on Sunday. The pair was knotted at 7-under-par 281.
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    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.

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    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”