Three Tied at Asahi Ryokuken

By Sports NetworkOctober 8, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Asahi Ryokuken International ClassicNORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Liselotte Neumann, a 12-time winner on the LPGA Tour, posted her second 4-under 68 in as many days on Friday to share the lead midway through the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship.
Donna Andrews also carded a 68 and Becky Morgan, from Wales, shot a 3-under 69 in the second round to join Neumann in first at Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club. The trio is knotted at 8-under-par 136.
Cristie Kerr, a three-time winner this season, posted a 4-under 68 and shares fourth place with Jeong Jang (67) and Laura Davies (69). The group is tied at 6-under-par 138.
Neumann, a Swede who has played on six Solheim Cup teams, opened on the back nine Friday and broke into red figures with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 12th. She hit a poor approach at the par-4 14th, finding the greenside bunker, but she holed out from the trap for her second birdie.
At the par-4 17th, Neumann hit an 8-iron to 15 feet and drained the birdie putt. She made it two in a row with a 17-footer at No. 18.
Neumann kept her strong play going on the second nine. She ran home a 25-foot birdie putt at the first and tallied her fourth birdie in a row at two, when she sank a 30-footer.
'It's a bucket today,' said Neumann, referring to the size of the hole during her strong putting performance around the turn. 'Everything is dropping. Even though they were long, they were easier to read.'
Things fell apart quickly for Neumann, who won the 1988 U.S. Women's Open. At the fourth, her tee shot found a fairway bunker and her second landed in a greenside trap. She could not get up and down for par and missed the green at five. Neumann once again could not save par at the hole and fell into a tie for the lead.
'I have been putting really well these last two days,' said Neumann. 'I think yesterday I probably played better than I did today. But I made some crucial putts today to keep the momentum going, and I'm just very pleased to be 8 under par.'
Andrews hit a 9-iron over the green at the second hole, then missed her 4-footer to save par. She rebounded from there with a 15-foot birdie putt at the fourth.
Andrews had 50 feet for birdie at the par-5 ninth and after a few seconds of hanging on the hole, the putt dropped in the cup. She made it two in a row at 10 when she made a 20-footer, but things soon fell apart.
She bogeyed the 12th and 13th holes when her approaches missed the green in regulation. Andrews came back with three birdies in a row from the 14th, including a 40-footer at No. 15 to get a piece of first.
'I had a couple that got away from me today, but obviously I made a lot of putts,' said Andrews, who won the 1994 Kraft Nabisco Championship. 'I made some really long putts today and that was how I was able to score as well as I did.'
Morgan had a much calmer round compared to her fellow co-leaders. She opened on the back nine and birdied the 11th when her 11-wood stopped 8 feet from the hole. Morgan made a 15-footer for birdie at the 15th to reach 7 under par and joined the leaders with a birdie at the par-5 sixth hole.
While Neumann has 12 LPGA Tour wins and Andrews half that number, Morgan, 30, is winless since joining the circuit in 2001. She does not see her inexperience as a problem.
'Hopefully I'll play the way I have the last two days,' said Morgan. 'I kind of feel like this is about the best I've played all year. It's been pretty steady stuff.'
Beth Daniel (68), Joanne Morley (72) and Miriam Nagl (70) are tied for seventh at 5-under-par 139.
Grace Park and Kim Saiki, two of three first-round co-leaders, only managed 2-over 74s on Friday and are part of a group tied for 10th. Amateur Ya-Ni Tseng (69), Patricia Baxter-Johnson (70), Soo Young Moon (71), Joellyn Erdmann-Crooks (70) and Maggie Will (69) joined Park and Saiki at minus-4.
Silvia Cavalleri, the other co-leader with Park and Saiki, struggled to a 4-over 76 and is part of a group tied for 24th at minus-2.
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    USC's Gaston leaves to become head coach at A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

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    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.

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    Just like last year, Spieth in desperate need of a spark

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a turnaround. Again.

    Spieth’s playoff victory last year over Daniel Berger, complete with a bunker hole-out and raucous celebration, went down as one of the most electrifying moments of 2017. It also propelled Spieth to some more major glory, as he won The Open in his very next start.

    So it’s easy to forget the state of Spieth’s game when he first stepped foot on the grounds of TPC River Highlands a year ago. Things were, quite plainly, not going well.

    He was struggling on the greens, even going so far as to switch putters at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He then failed to contend at Erin Hills, only netting a T-35 finish thanks to a final-round 69 that came hours before the leaders teed off.

    So here we are again, with Spieth in search of a spark after a series of underwhelming performances that included last week’s effort at Shinnecock Hills, where he bogeyed the last two holes of his second round to miss the cut by a shot. Except this time, the climb back to the top may be even steeper than it was a year ago.

    “I’m not sure where the state of my game is right now,” Spieth said. “If I strike the ball the way I have been this year, then the results are coming. But the last couple weeks I’ve played Muirfield and then the (U.S.) Open, and I hit the ball really poorly and didn’t give myself that many opportunities to let the putter do the work.”

    While many big names play sporadically in the time between the Masters and U.S. Open, Spieth remained as busy as ever thanks to the Tour’s swing through Texas. So even after failing to contend much in the spring outside of a memorable finale in Augusta, and even after struggling for much of his week at TPC Sawgrass, Spieth looked out at his schedule and saw a myriad of possible turning points.

    There was the AT&T Byron Nelson, played in his hometown and at a venue on which he was one of only a handful with any experience (T-21). Then a trip across town to Colonial, where he had beaten all but two players in a three-year stretch (T-32).

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    Throw in the missed cuts at Muirfield Village and Shinnecock Hills, and Spieth has made it to the last leg of a six-event stretch that has included only one off week and, to date, zero chances to contend come Sunday.

    “I think here this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” Spieth said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had too much to do from here on.”

    That was certainly the case last week on Long Island, where Spieth’s hopes for a fourth major title evaporated well before course conditions became a focal point over the weekend. He was 4 over through his first two holes and spent much of the next 34 stuck in a fit of frustration. He gave himself a glimmer of hope with four late birdies Friday followed by a pair of bogeys that snuffed it out with equal speed.

    Spieth has continued to preach patience throughout the year, but there’s no getting around some eye-popping stats; he's 188th on Tour this year in strokes gained: putting and 93rd in fairways hit. It can foster a pressure to find a cure-all in any given week, especially given how quickly he got a middling summer back on track last year.

    “It’s something that you fight, sure,” Spieth said. “It’s been that way just about every tournament except Muirfield, because then you go to the U.S. Open and think you don’t even have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament. So as much as that kind of comes into your head, it’s not bothering me this time. I’m going to try and have fun, and make progress.”

    After this week, Spieth will have some down time with family before making the trip overseas to Carnoustie. He plans to have a few private dinners accompanied by the claret jug, one last toast to last year’s success before turning the trophy back over to the R&A.

    But even Spieth admitted that as it pertains to his chances to follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps by successfully defending a major title, he’ll be greatly aided by working his way into the mix this weekend. It represents the last chance in this early-summer swing to get his name back on the leaderboard, an opportunity to light fire to a pedestrian campaign like he did a year ago.

    No pressure.

    “It’s your basic stuff that sometimes gets off, that the harder you try to get them back on sometimes, the worse it gets,” Spieth said. “It can be frustrating, or you can just kind of wait for it to come to you. I think I’m OK with where things are, whether it’s the rest of this year or next year. I feel like there are good scores coming.”