Els Stays Hot Extends Lead

By Sports NetworkFebruary 14, 2003, 5:00 pm
PERTH, Australia -- Ernie Els used a torrid back nine to shoot a 7-under 65 on Friday and extend his lead after two rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic. The reigning British Open champion stands at 15-under-par 129 and owns a four-shot lead over Robert Allenby and Greg Owen.
Els, who is the hottest golfer on the planet with three wins in his last four starts, established a 36-hole record for this event, which is being staged for the second consecutive year at Lake Karrinyup Country Club. He set the previous mark of 132 at the 1998 event, which he lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods.
Australian Stephen Leaney and Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy are tied for fourth at 9-under-par 135.
Allenby and Owen, who shot matching rounds of 8-under 64 in Friday's second round, were in the clubhouse at 11-under par when Els went to the first tee for his round. Els went through the first nine holes at even-par 36 and trailed by three, but thanks to spectacular play on the second nine, the South African vaulted into first place.
He two-putted for birdie at the 11th hole and knocked his tee ball at the par- 3 12th to inches for a tap-in birdie and a kick-start to his nine.
'I didn't feel quite right with my game on the front nine, but I just tried to stay patient,' said Els, who owned a one-shot lead after the first round. 'I didn't want to force it, I just tried to get my rhythm back and when I two- putted for birdie on the 11th and then almost holed my tee shot at the 12th, I was off and running.'
Els kept it going with a 30-footer for birdie at 13 to tie for the lead then drove into a greenside bunker at the short par-4 14th. He blasted out to two feet for another birdie and sole possession of the lead.
At the par-5 15th, Els holed a 30-foot putt for eagle, his second at 15 in as many days. He narrowly missed birdie at the 16th but ran home a 30-foot birdie at the last to post his second consecutive 7-under 29 on Lake Karrinyup's back nine.
'I have done a lot of things in golf, but I have never scored 29 on the same nine holes two days running. It is quite something,' said Els, who is ranked No. 2 in the world. 'I didn't go out there with that aim but it just happened. My game must just really suit those stretch of holes so I must thank the designer for designing them that way.'
Els opened the 2003 PGA Tour season with a record-setting performance at the Mercedes Championships and a playoff victory over Aaron Baddeley the next week at the Sony Open. He finished one stroke out of first at the Caltex Masters three weeks ago but successfully defended his title at the Heineken Classic the following week.
Allenby was flawless on Friday with eight birdies and no bogeys.
'I have been hitting the ball very well since the start of the year and have continued that this week,' said Allenby, who shared fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii. 'I've had the last two weeks off and am feeling very fresh and strong. I have my swing right where I want it and I'm hitting a lot of good shots.'
Owen three-putted for bogey at the 16th, but collected seven birdies and an eagle to finish with his 8-under 64.
'All I'm going to do this year is try to do the right things on and off the golf course and if I work hard, practice correctly and train hard, I'll leave it in the lap of the gods as to what happens,' said Owen, whose best finishes on the European Tour were four third places.
Andre Stolz of South Africa is alone in sixth place at 8-under par.
Retief Goosen, who cruised to an eight-shot win in 2002, rebounded from an opening-round 72 with a 65 on Friday. He is tied for seventh at 7-under-par 137 with Terry Price, David Lynn, Michael Long, Justin Rose and 2002 WGC- NEC Invitational champion Craig Parry.
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-under-par 143 and Sergio Garcia, the sixth-ranked player in the world, will not be around for the weekend. He shot a 2-under 70 on Friday but missed the cut by one at even-par 144.
'I made a couple of stupid bogeys on the back nine and you can't do those sort of things,' said Garcia.
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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.”