Ochoa Davies Remain Deadlocked

By Sports NetworkApril 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Ginn OpenREUNION, Fla. -- For three days, Lorena Ochoa and Laura Davies have matched each other shot for shot at the Ginn Open, finishing every round knotted atop the leaderboard.
 
On Sunday, if Ochoa can pull away, she'll take home more than the $390,000 first prize.
 
The reigning LPGA player of the year shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday, remaining tied for the lead with Davies at 14 under through three rounds of the Ginn Open. Both birdied the final hole to move four shots ahead of Brittany Lincicome (67) and Natalie Gulbis (71).
 
If Ochoa gets the win, the 25-year-old Mexican star will pass Annika Sorenstam -- who withdrew from the Ginn because of ruptured and bulging disks in her back, problems that will keep her sidelined for at least a few weeks -- as the world's top-rankedplayer.
 
'It's something I would love to achieve,' Ochoa said. 'But I think it's more important to focus on the tournament, focus on my day, do my own thing, make sure I'm patient and just playing smart golf. And then everything will come with a good day tomorrow.'
 
Any other finish will keep Ochoa at No. 2 when the new list comes out Monday.
 
Sorenstam has been considered the best player in women's golffor several years, but the official ranking system has only been out since February 2006. She had a huge lead when the first list came out, but Ochoa has won seven times since to close the gap.
 
'She's the best player on form at the moment,' Davies said. 'I think even Annika would admit that. Tomorrow's not going to be easy.'
 
Ochoa and Davies flip-flopped on the lead throughout a 90-degree afternoon. Davies was flawless on the front side, using threebirdies to build a one-shot lead at the turn, then faltered on the back and temporarily gave Ochoa the upper hand.
 
Davies, who made two bogeys in her first 48 holes, took a double-bogey at the par-4 13th -- giving Ochoa a two-shot lead. After tapping in for par there, Ochoa walked off the green smiling and twirling her putter like a baton.
 
Then, though, it was Ochoa's turn to blink.
 
Bogeys at the 14th and 16th holes, combined with Davies making birdie at the par-5 17th, knotted them atop the leaderboard again, and they stayed there when both made short birdie putts at the 18th.
 
'I played very consistent all day,' Ochoa said. 'I'm very happy.'
 
There were a few Mexican flags waving in the galleries on Saturday, as is usually the case when Ochoa plays. She's said many times that she plays golf for those people, hoping her success can inspire kids to follow in her footsteps.
 
And while she's downplaying the rankings issue, other players know how much it'd mean to Ochoa.
 
'That's all she wants to do,' Lincicome said. 'She practices, she wants to be No. 1, and she does it for her country. She's got a lot to represent.'
 
Se Ri Pak (a bogey-free 68) is alone in fifth at 9 under, while Nicole Castrale (69) is another stroke back. Defending champion Mi Hyun Kim struggled, shooting 73 to fall into a tie for ninth, eight shots off the lead.
 
Lincicome -- the winner of last season's World Match Play championship -- started the day seven shots back, but used five birdies and an eagle to make a move and earn a spot in Sunday's final threesome with Davies and Ochoa.
 
'I've just got to go out and do the same thing I did today and Thursday,' Lincicome said. 'Hopefully the putter stays hot and I give myself a couple eagle chances. That's always fun.'
 
Based on the way the first three days have gone, she'll need them to catch the leaders.
 
Davies hasn't won an LPGA event in nearly six years. Ochoa hasn't won one in nearly three weeks. Yet here they are, tied entering the final round, one player who was the best in the women's game once and another on the cusp of officially wearing that crown.
 
'I fully expect not feeling too well on the first tee tomorrow,' Davies said. 'But that's what makes it fun.'
 
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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

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    Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

    By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

    SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

    The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

    Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

    In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

    Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

    Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

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    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

    It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

    Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.