Woods Survives Els Falls

By Sports NetworkFebruary 26, 2003, 5:00 pm
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Ernie Els, the hottest player in the world with four wins in five starts worldwide in 2003, was cooled off by Phil Tataurangi Wednesday in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Tataurangi, ranked 16th in the Gary Player bracket, bounced Els, 1-up, on the 20th hole in their first-round match at LaCosta Resort & Spa.
'I thought I struck it well, I thought I putted well,' said Els. 'I didn't get the ball close enough to the holes today. I felt I was playing pretty decent golf.'
Els was not the only No. 1 seed that was eliminated on Wednesday. Retief Goosen, the top-ranked player in the Ben Hogan bracket, fell to the oldest player in the field of 64, Jay Haas, 4 and 3.
Goosen, who rose to a No. 1 seed after Vijay Singh withdrew, fell apart on his second nine and after air-mailing the green and flubbing a chip at 15, the 2001 U.S. Open champion conceded the match to Haas.
Tiger Woods, the top-ranked player in the world and No. 1 seed in the Bobby Jones bracket, earned a 2-and-1 victory over Carl Pettersson. Woods already has surpassed his performance from a year ago when he was bounced in the opening round by Peter O'Malley.
'Obviously my expectations are pretty high,' said Woods, who needs this tournament to complete a career sweep of the World Golf Championships events. 'As far as last year is concerned, I put that away. You've got to focus on the shots and sometimes they're pretty tough out here.'
Phil Mickelson survived his opening-round contest with Robert Karlsson. Mickelson, the top seed in the Sam Snead bracket, took a 1-up lead when Karlsson bogeyed No. 17 and held on for the 1-up victory.
After nearly four inches of rain pounded La Costa over the last two days, Wednesday's action was played with lift, clean and place rules. That did not stop the upsets that seem to prevail in this match-play tournament.
Els did not take the lead in his match until the 17th hole. He needed to hang on at the par-5 closing hole to win the match but Els found trouble in the rough with his third shot.
The South African duffed his third into a greenside bunker but played a beautiful blast just short of the hole, forcing Tataurangi to concede par. Tataurangi, who entered the field after Nick Faldo withdrew with the flu, holed a 30-foot birdie putt at 18 to force the extra session.
On the first playoff hole, Tataurangi found a bunker but blasted out to five feet and made the gutsy par save. At the par-3 second, Tataurangi stuck his tee shot two feet from the hole while Els found a sand trap. After Els missed his bunker shot, he conceded the match to Tataurangi.
'So be it,' said Els. 'I'm disappointed, but this is what happens with 18 holes of match play. I knew he was going to make that putt (on 18).'
Pettersson, who finished second to Woods at the Buick Invitational two weeks ago, showed some nerves with a horrible tee shot at the first but those nerves seemed to leave on the walk to the green. Pettersson ran home a 30-foot birdie at the hole to go 1-up.
Woods built a 2-up lead at the par-3 16th tee and hit a beautiful 8-iron 15 feet right of the flag. He looked to be in great shape to make birdie and end the match but Pettersson, who missed the green short, chipped in and put pressure on Woods to halve the hole. Woods drained the putt then lagged his first putt to tap-in range at the 17th, forcing Pettersson to concede.
'I needed to make that putt,' said Woods, referring to his stroke at 16. 'It looked like I had that putt to win that match then it looked like I might lose the hole. I figured if I made that putt, I'd win the match.'
Defending champion Kevin Sutherland was 3 down to No. 2 Sergio Garcia in the Ben Hogan bracket as the two played 13. Sutherland won the next five holes to bounce the young Spaniard from the tournament and keep open his chances for a repeat.
'I played really poor on the front,' said Sutherland, who defeated David Duval in similar fashion last year, coming back from 2 down. 'I was hitting it all over the place. But match play is a funny thing. You get some momentum, and I definitely got it, and I was riding it pretty well. Sergio seemed like he was struggling a little bit and I was able to come back and win.'
Sutherland went on to a 2-and-1 victory and will face Justin Rose in the second round. Rose squandered a 2-up lead to Duval but prevailed on the 20th hole.
Duval was 2 down with three to play but birdied the 16th and 17th to draw even. He looked to be in command on the first extra hole, No. 1, but left a birdie putt six feet short.
Rose sank an eight-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole to win the match and bounce Duval out in 20 holes for the second straight year.
'It doesn't matter how it happened. I lost,' said Duval, who is mired in a slump since the beginning of 2002.
Mike Weir, a two-time winner on tour this season, and Loren Roberts engaged in the longest match in the tournament's history since it came under the World Golf Championships umbrella. Weir finally won 1-up on the 26th hole to set up a second-round contest with Jerry Kelly.
Colin Montgomerie's woes at this event continued on Wednesday. He was trounced by Alex Cejka 4 and 2 and for the second year in a row, the Scotsman made an early exit after a first-round loss to Scott McCarron in 2002.
Monty was not the only 3 seed to be beaten in the first round. Chris DiMarco lost 2 and 1 to Toshi Izawa in the Bobby Jones bracket.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Getty Images

    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



    Getty Images

    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

    Getty Images

    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

    Getty Images

    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”