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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    As Tour heads to NJ, legalized gambling comes into focus

    By Rex HoggardAugust 15, 2018, 4:42 pm

    It was New Jersey and then-Gov. Chris Christie who began the crusade to make sports betting legal beyond the confines of Las Vegas, so it’s no surprise that the Garden State would be the pointy end of the gaming spear.

    In May, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which had made sports wagering unlawful for the last 25 years, there was no small amount of interest among states to pave the way for a market that could be worth billions in revenue. Less than a month after the court’s ruling, New Jersey approved a bill legalizing sports gambling.

    About an hour’s drive south from Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., site of next week’s Northern Trust event, Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., was one of the first to open a sports book – generating an eye-catching $8.1 million handle in just 17 days after opening in mid-June – and the PGA Tour’s return to New Jersey for the first playoff tournament is sure to generate interest at the newly-minted book.

    But as sports, and particularly golf, wade into the betting pool, don’t expect a wholesale change just yet. Although New Jersey was among the first states to embrace sports betting, wagers are currently limited to a few casinos and racetracks.



    “I wouldn’t say the gaming would be any different than what’s currently being offered in Las Vegas or elsewhere, win bets and that type of thing,” said Andy Levinson, the Tour’s senior vice president of tournament administration.

    Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, most professional leagues, including the Tour, came out in support of sports betting, but they did so with a few important conditions. Many professional leagues, which have been speaking to state legislators across the country for months about any potential betting legislation, wanted to safeguard the integrity of the competition.

    The leagues also wanted to have a say in the types of bets that will be allowed – with the Tour looking to avoid what are called negative outcome bets, like a player missing a fairway or a green or making a specific score on a hole – and assure that sports books use official data generated by the leagues (in golf that would be ShotLink data).

    And the leagues also have proposed “integrity fees,” which would likely be 1 percent of the handle from betting operators.

    Last month, the NBA announced a partnership that made MGM Resorts the league’s official non-exclusive gaming partner, a move that could become the template for the Tour as the sports betting market matures.

    “With the NBA deal it’s nice to see an organization like MGM is committed to integrity and sharing specific betting information with the NBA. To see a gaming operator make that commitment is very positive,” Levinson said. “If it included those protections and had that balance between fan engagement while protecting the integrity of our competition, that’s a positive deal for the NBA.”

    For the sports leagues, the NBA deal is less about what kind of betting MGM will allow at its various casinos than it is a snapshot into what many see as the ultimate endgame. Part of every league’s plan is a robust online gaming element, which is seen as the only way to end illegal or off-shore betting.

    “When we are speaking with legislators across the country one of the important elements includes mobile betting in legislation. The vast majority of sports betting takes place online. The current black market in the U.S. is almost exclusively online,” Levinson said. “One of the goals in creating a legal sports betting market is to eliminate that black market. If it’s not easily accessible, people will continue to use that online service.”

    Other than New Jersey and Delaware, which are already developing guidelines for online sports betting, most states are taking a more measured approach. In fact, Levinson explained that since most state legislative sessions have already ended for the year it’s likely that they won’t begin to develop guidelines for sports betting until mid-2019.

     The Tour also has a few hurdles to clear. Under the circuit’s current regulations, players, partners and the Tour itself are prohibited from partnering with casinos or betting institutions. Before the circuit could move forward with any type of deal like the NBA and MGM agreement that regulation would have to be changed.

    “We are in the process of evaluating that category,” Levinson said. “We are looking at a wholesale evaluation of our endorsement policy. That’s for the Tour, players, networks, other constituents.”

    The Supreme Court’s ruling may have potentially opened vast new markets for the Tour and created an entirely new way to engage with fans, just don’t expect things to change yet, even as the circuit arrives on the front lines of the sports betting transformation next week in New Jersey.

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    Nadal checks phone for Tiger update after match

    By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 3:04 pm

    Even the greatest athletes in the world were captivated by Tiger Woods' Sunday run at the PGA Championship.

    After winning his match on Sunday to capture the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Rafa Nadal turned his attention to Woods. Cameras focused on Nadal scrolling through and surveying his phone. He then revealed that he was trying to get a Tiger update from the PGA Championship, where Woods made a spirited run to solo second place.



    Woods has often been seen at tennis events, watching Nike buddies Roger Federer (no longer primarily sponsored by Nike) and Nadal. Woods and his children watched from Nadal's box during the 2017 U.S. Open and Nadal was on hand at the 2017 Hero World Challenge, when Woods made his return from back surgery.

    For the record, Woods has 14 major wins and Nadal has 17 Grand Slam titles, both second all-time in their respective sports.

    Check out the video below as Golf World's Anna Whiteley talks to Nadal about his love of golf in the 2016 interview.

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    U.S. Amateur playoff: 24 players for 1 spot in match play

    By Associated PressAugust 15, 2018, 1:21 pm

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer and Daniel Hillier were tied at the top after two rounds of the U.S. Amateur, but the more compelling action on Tuesday was further down the leaderboard.

    Two dozen players were tied for 64th place after two rounds of stroke play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. With the top 64 advancing to match play, that means all 24 will compete in a sudden-death playoff Wednesday morning for the last spot in the knockout rounds.


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    They'll be divided into six foursomes and start the playoff at 7:30 a.m. on the par-3 17th at Pebble Beach, where Tom Watson chipped in during the 1982 U.S. Open and went on to win.

    The survivor of the playoff will face the 19-year-old Hillier in match play. The New Zealander shot a 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to share medalist honors with the 18-year-old Hammer at 6 under. Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas who played in the 2015 U.S. Open at age 15, shot 68 at Spyglass Hill.

    Stewart Hagestad had the low round of the day, a 5-under 66 at Pebble Beach, to move into a tie for 10th after opening with a 76 at Spyglass Hill. The 27-year-old Hagestad won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur and earned low amateur honors at the 2017 Masters.

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    Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

    Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

    Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

    “It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

    No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


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    On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

    “Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

    “Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

    A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

    “But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”