Kerr Fires 61 to Overtake Annika

By Sports NetworkSeptember 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 John Q Hammons Hotel ClassicBROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- Cristie Kerr had the round of her career on Saturday and moved one shot ahead of Annika Sorenstam at the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic.
 
'You can't really examine it too much, because there is a mystical element to it that you can't put your finger on,' Kerr said after shooting a career-best 10-under 61 in the second round.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam trails Cristie Kerr by one stroke heading into the final round.
Kerr also set the course record, the 18-hole tournament scoring record and the 36-hole scoring record by reaching 11-under-par 131. Among her 10 birdies, four came on putts of 25 feet or more.
 
After rolling in a 35-footer at the 13th, she showed off a lasso move for the gallery.
 
'[W]hen you're shooting a low round you just know everything's going to go in. I don't know how to explain it,' said Kerr, whose previous low round was a 62 at the 2005 Longs Drugs Challenge.
 
'I wanted to give the crowd a little acknowledgment that I knew they were there. It's business out there, definitely, but that was a lot of fun to make that putt the way I did. And I just wanted to let them know that I knew they were there.'
 
Kerr stole the show from Sorenstam, the two-time defending champion who has won this event three of the last five times it has been held. Sorenstam had a 3-under 68 on Saturday after opening with a 64 on Friday.
 
Playing one group ahead, Sorenstam began following Kerr's progress.
 
'[At] the seventh or eighth hole I started to see Cristie's name up there and then I saw she was 8-under when I was nine...and then all of a sudden she's at 11,' recalled Sorenstam, who is at 10-under 132.
 
'I think Cristie obviously had a fantastic round and made my round not look so great. But I'm happy with 68.'
 
Tied for 13th place overnight, Kerr had to make a 10-foot putt to save par at the first hole. Then, she turned it on.
 
Kerr began climbing the leaderboard with three consecutive birdies from the second hole -- all on putts within 7 feet. She added a 10-foot birdie putt at the sixth, a 30-footer at the seventh and a 25-footer at the ninth to make the turn at 7 under.
 
'[I]t was kind of a shaky start on the first hole,' Kerr said. 'Then I got in a groove with my swing and hit it close a bunch of times and made a bunch of close putts, made some really good putts.'
 
Kerr birdied the 10th from 7 feet, then made putts of 30 and 35 feet at the 12th and 13th. She found her final birdie at the par-5 14th after she knocked a wedge within 9 feet.
 
'I knew I had to shoot 4- or 5-under to move up, to have a chance for tomorrow,' said Kerr, a two-time winner this season. 'So to shoot 10-under is absolutely an added bonus, gravy. I love the position I'm in.'
 
Sunday, it'll be Kerr and Sorenstam in the final pairing.
 
'I expect a lot of birdies,' Sorenstam said. 'It'll be fun.'
 
Allison Hanna is alone in third place at 5-under 137 following a 69.
 
Tour money leader Lorena Ochoa had a second consecutive 69 and shares fourth place with Diana D'Alessio (72) and Jill McGill (71).
 
The cut fell at plus-4 with 73 players moving on to Sunday.
 
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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.”