One good week

By Mercer BaggsMay 3, 2011, 7:58 pm

It’s time for a break. Not that Jack Newman necessarily wanted one, but he’s not complaining either.

Newman attempted to Monday qualify for this week’s Stadion Classic at UGA on the Nationwide Tour. He shot 5-under 66 at the par-71 Achasta Golf Club in Alpharetta, Ga., but it wasn’t quite enough to make it to Athens.

“Usually, it takes 6 or 7 under to make it through Mondays,” Newman said on his drive to Oxford, Ohio. “I was hoping to make it in this week, but now I have two weeks off.

“I’m just going to practice, play some, work on my swing and get some rest.”

Newman is coming off his second consecutive missed cut on the NGA Hooters Professional Tour. Two weeks ago, he shot 70-74 at the Whitewater Creek Open. Last week, it was 68-75 at the Savannah Lakes Village Classic.

“It seems like the afternoon rounds have been getting me,” Newman said.

“I’m going to start doing more practice sessions during those days to fill up the time – go practice early, grab something to eat, then practice a little more before my tee time. I need to do that instead of sitting around and watching ‘SportsCenter’ five times in a row.”

Newman has been working with noted golf instructor Mike Bender for less than three months, so it would be easy for him to blame a swing transition for his inconsistent play – but he's taking ownership of his performances.

“It’s up to me to make it happen,” he said. “I have to be able to trust what I’m doing and get comfortable on the golf course. It’s not the swing. I’m the one that has to make it happen.”

As Newman was attempting to Monday qualify for this week’s Nationwide Tour event, the recent success of fellow Hooters Tour players on the circuit served as motivation.

Ted Potter, Jr., who has won twice this year on the Hooters Tour, captured his first Nationwide Tour title last week after Monday qualifying. Two weeks prior, Russell Knox nearly did the same. He was one shot off the 54-hole lead outside of San Francisco when the final round was canceled due to fog.

“You just need the chance and then take advantage of it. If you can get into the event, you never know what can happen. If you’re playing well at the right time, everything can change,” Newman said. “One week you could miss a cut on the Hooters Tour and the next you could be exempt on the Nationwide.”

Newman knows well what one great week can get you. He won the 2008 U.S. Public Links Championship to earn an invitation to the ’09 Masters.

While on the road during this year’s final round at Augusta, Newman noticed his smartphone was blowing up.

“Friends kept shooting me text messages and then I started getting a bunch of calls after Tiger (Woods) stuck it on 8 and gave that big fist pump (after making the eagle putt),” Newman said.

“I was able to pull it up on my Droid. I held it next to my ear and listened to it while I was driving and then watched it on my phone when I stopped to get gas.”

Newman’s next travels – tour-wise – will take him to Georgetown, Ky., in two weeks and then to Windsor, N.C. For the time being, he’s staying with his former assistant coach at Michigan State University, Casey Lubahn, who is currently the head golf coach at Miami University.

“It will be good for me,” Newman said. “He’s a good set of eyes for me and he’s good with the mental aspect – he knows how I tick.”

Newman will continue to stay in touch with Bender and has some DVDs of his swing that he’ll be watching and analyzing.  He knows that he’s not far off, his Monday 66 was indicative of that. He just has to put it all together for one tournament – and who knows where that could lead?

“Like I said,” he reiterated, “I just have to get it done.”

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.