Pak Holds Slight Advantage

By Sports NetworkOctober 3, 2003, 4:00 pm
LINCOLN, Calif. -- Se Ri Pak fired a tournament-record tying 8-under 64 Friday to grab the lead after two rounds of the Longs Drugs Challenge. Pak completed 36 holes at 9-under-par 135.
 
First-round leader Sophie Gustafson posted a 2-under 70 and stands one stroke behind Pak at 8-under-par 136. Michelle Ellis, Jamie Hullett, Suzann Pettersen and Wendy Ward share third place at 5-under-par 139.
 
Pak bogeyed the first and 18th at Lincoln Hills Club during an opening-round 71. She began her second round on the back nine and drained back-to-back birdies from the 11th. She later hit a sand-wedge to 15 feet for birdie at the par-5 15th to help her make the turn at minus-4.
 
On the front side, she converted a four-foot birdie at the first. She followed with a long two-putt birdie at the next and made it three straight when she sank a two-footer for birdie at the third.
 
Her hot streak was halted with a bogey at the par-3 fourth. She responded from that mistake by draining a 50-foot birdie putt at the seventh that got her back to 7-under. She followed by knocking a fairway-wood within 18 feet of the cup to set up eagle on the par-5 eighth to grab first place.
 
'My swing feels great and I am hitting my driver really well,' said Pak, who's 64 matched the 18-hole tournament record set by Kelly Robbins and Amy Fruhwirth in 1996 at the Twelve Bridges Golf Club. 'Thursday was kind of a struggle off the tee. So I practiced in the afternoon after my first round. I feel much better now.'
 
Pak, who has won three times this season and 21 times overall on the LPGA Tour, is still chasing her goal of finishing number one on the money list, but knows Annika Sorenstam will be hard to catch.
 
'One of my goals every year is to try to be number one,' said Pak, who trails Sorenstam by $404,878 on the money list. 'My offseason goals are still there, but last week Annika made it harder (with her victory). I still have six more tournaments left, so there's still a chance.'
 
Gustafson got on the board when she rolled home a 25-foot birdie putt at the third. She missed the green at the par-4 fifth and that led to her lone bogey of the day.
 
She came right back with a birdie on the sixth and closed out her scoring when she drained a five-foot birdie putt at the 16th.
 
'I didn't play as half as good as I did on Thursday,' said Gustafson. 'I didn't hit many fairways, which meant that I couldn't reach any of the par- fives. That also made it much harder to get it close.'
 
Karen Stupples fired a 5-under 67 to climb into a share of seventh place. She is joined at 4-under-par 140 by Patricia Baxter-Johnson, Beth Daniel, Tracy Hanson, Pat Hurst, Gloria Park, Grace Park, Michele Redman, Rachel Teske, Karrie Webb and Jung Yeon Lee.
 
Defending champion Cristie Kerr heads a group of nine players at 3-under-par 141 after a round of 3-under 69.
 
The cut line fell at 3-over-par 147 with 80 players advancing to the final two rounds.
 
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


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    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”