Stadler Positioned for Another Win

By Sports NetworkSeptember 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 SAS ChampionshipCARY, N.C. -- Craig Stadler posted a 4-under 68 Saturday to extend his lead to four strokes after the second round of the SAS Championship. Stadler, who is seeking his third consecutive victory on the Champions Tour, finished at 11-under-par 133.
Tom Jenkins fired a 65 to take second place alone at 7-under-par 137. Defending champion D.A. Weibring managed an even-par round of 72 to join Stewart Ginn and John Harris in a tie for third place at 5-under-par 139.
Stadler has four victories on the elder circuit this season, two of which have come in his last two starts, including the Tradition last month. The 2003 Rookie of the Year can move closer to earning Player of the Year honors with another title this week.
'I'm playing well now,' he said. 'I've played pretty consistent this year. It's fun to play out here every week with these guys.'
Stadler held a two-shot lead to start the day at Prestonwood Country Club but struggled early with a bogey at the par-4 fourth. He recovered with a birdie at the par-5 seventh and hit his second shot to 4 feet for a birdie at the ninth to open a three-shot advantage around the turn.
'I didn't get off to a good start again,' said Stadler. 'I've been 1 over after six holes the last couple of days but have turned it around.'
The 51-year-old kept plugging along in the inward half and played his tee shot to the back fringe at the par-3 11th. Stadler then ran home the 15-foot birdie putt to move to 9 under.
Stadler was unflappable down the stretch and dropped his approach inside 10 feet for a birdie at the par-4 15th. He then reached the par-5 17th in two and left his eagle try within a few inches of the cup. Stadler tapped in for birdie to stretch his lead to four with one round to play.
Jenkins was seven shots off the pace after the opening round and collected a pair of birdies over his first nine holes to make the turn at 2 under.
The 56-year-old continued to climb up the leaderboard with a birdie at the par-3 11th and back-to-back birdies from the par-4 14th. Jenkins then landed his second shot to the par-5 17th inside 9 feet of the hole and drained the eagle putt to finish within four of the lead.
'Certainly a wonderful round,' said Jenkins, a five-time winner on the Champions Tour. 'Felt good today and just wanted to shoot a good round and get back in the red.'
Wayne Levi had a chance to move within five of Stadler with a clear look at the green on the 18th. The 52-year-old left his second shot in a bunker en route to a bogey, however, and a round of 73.
Levi was joined by Larry Nelson and Lonnie Nielsen in a tie for sixth at 4-under-par 140.
Tom Kite, Doug Tewell, Des Smyth, Allen Doyle, Walter Hall and Mike Reid share ninth place at 3-under-par 141.
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    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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    Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

    Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

    Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

    Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

    By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

    Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

    This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

    Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

    Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

    Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

    “I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

    “It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

    The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

    The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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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.