Wie Bit of Trouble at 84 Lumber

By Sports NetworkSeptember 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicFARMINGTON, Pa. -- PGA TOUR rookie Nicholas Thompson fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the 84 Lumber Classic at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa.
Michelle Wie, the 16-year-old phenom who finished dead last at the European Masters on the European Tour last week, continued her struggles against the men.
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie is tied for 125th, 13 shots off the lead.
She only managed a 5-over-par 77 on the longest course she has played with men. Heavy overnight rain also left the greens vulnerable, but did not give a lot of run in the fairways.
Wie began on the back nine Thursday and parred her first three holes. Then problems arose for the youngster. She bogeyed three holes in a row from the 13th and things did not get much better.
After that she parred out on her opening nine, Wie hit an ugly tee shot off the first tee. She could not reach the green with her second, but the 16-year-old gave herself a look at par from 18 feet behind the hole. Wie missed the putt to fall to 4 over par.
Wie played solid golf on the second nine, but missed some opportunities late in her round. She missed a 17-foot birdie putt at the seventh, then her 9-footer at No. 8 stayed above ground.
At the par-4 ninth, Wie landed on the putting surface with her second, but stared at a 50-foot birdie putt. She did not hit a good putt, then missed a 7-footer to save par.
The putter was the problem on Thursday as Wie needed 34 putts.
'I feel like if I can make some putts tomorrow, I can really shoot a low score,' said Wie. 'It all feels good. I'm hitting my irons good. It didn't feel like I shot a 5-over today.'
Wie trails Thompson by 13 shots, but several players closed the gap during the first round.
Will MacKenzie, the winner of the Reno-Tahoe Open last month, shot a 6-under-par 66 and is tied for second place with Greg Kraft, Robert Gamez, Ted Purdy, Nissan Open champion Rory Sabbatini and this year's Booz Allen Classic winner and former British Open champion Ben Curtis.
Three winners this season trail a fairly unheralded TOUR rookie, whose best finish on this season was a tie for sixth at the B.C. Open, played opposite the British Open.
Thompson flew out of the gate on Thursday. At the opening hole, he chipped in for birdie from off the green, then drained a 15-footer at the second. Thompson made it three in a row at the par-3 third when his 4-iron tee ball stopped 4 feet from the stick.
He parred the fourth hole, then returned to making birdies. Thompson reached the green in two at the par-5 fifth and nearly made eagle from 20 feet, but settled for a birdie.
At the sixth, Thompson hit a gap-wedge inside 4 feet and made the birdie putt. He hit another beautiful iron shot close to set up another birdie at the seventh.
All totaled, it was six birdies in his first seven holes.
'It was kind of throwing darts out there,' admitted Thompson.
Things cooled for Thompson at the eighth. He missed the fairway off the tee, then three-putted to fall back to minus-5. Thompson three-putted the ninth for another bogey, but he righted the ship immediately on the back nine.
At the par-4 10th, Thompson hit a wedge to 5 feet to set up birdie. He made it back-to-back birdies at the par-5 11th when his third stopped 6 feet short of the cup and he holed the putt.
Thompson hit a poor approach to the 15th and made bogey to fall back to 5 under par. He atoned for the error by knocking a 4-iron to 3 feet to set up an eagle at the 16th and hitting a 7-iron to 6 feet for a birdie at the 17th.
'I played well,' acknowledged Thompson, who is 181st on the PGA TOUR money list and desperately could use a big paycheck in hopes of keeping his card for next year. 'I hit a lot of good shots and I can't say much bad about the round.'
Reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Sean O'Hair, Charles Howell III, Tag Ridings, Hunter Mahan, Robert Garrigus and Marco Dawson are knotted in eighth place at minus-5.
Defending champion Jason Gore struggled to a 1-over-par 73 and is part of a group tied for 70th place.
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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.

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    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”