European Notebook

By Tom AbbottJanuary 22, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editors Note: Tom Abbott is the host of Golf Central UK. He will be filing a bi-weekly column on with news, opinions and his inside knowledge of the European Tour.
Rose Slightly Wilted but Ready to Bloom Again
It couldnt have happened to a nicer guy, but being nice doesnt really count for much when youre coming down the stretch on the PGA TOUR. Justin Roses pulled driver on the 18th Sunday at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic will no doubt haunt him for a few weeks but I think Justin will come through with a victory very shortly in America. Hes putting together good golf tournaments and if he keeps doing what hes been doing then theres no reason why he wont pick up his first win before the TOUR moves east. Roses coach, Nick Bradley, whos a regular contributor to Golf Central UK told me, Im very happy with the way Justin has been playing, and if you look at the result, third is a pretty good start for 2007.
Fortunes Change for Hanson
In November last year, Swedens Peter Hanson was struggling around the Hombre Golf Clubs Good and Ugly courses in Panama City Beach, Fla., with just a couple of playing partners and the odd scorer to keep him company during the PGA TOURs second stage of qualifying. Hanson had already made it through the first stage in Palm City, Fla., leaving behind a pregnant wife in Sweden. He ended up finishing tied for 45th in the second stage and went back to Europe for another season on the European Tour. The New Year came, daughter Stella was born on January 2nd, and after a couple of weeks at home with the new baby he set out for Abu Dhabi. A fantastic weeks golf saw him record his best finish (T2) since the spring of 2005 and Hanson looks as though hes ready for a good year in Europe. Funny how fortunes change, isn't it?
A New Breed of Stars
Catriona Matthew has given birth to a baby daughter. Katie was born a couple of weeks ago and the World No. 47 is overjoyed at the birth of her new child. Meanwhile, Janice Moodie is back on tour having had her son, Craig, in September. Moodie teamed with Mhairi Mckay to represent Scotland at the Womens World Cup of Golf; the pair finished tied for 4th. Englands Karen Stupples will complete the trio of new babies; shes due April 13th. Stupples has now officially started her break from the game; her last outing was at Dottie Peppers tournament a couple of weeks ago, where she told me shes trying to make it back in time for the Ladies English Open at Chart Hills which begins on July 6th. Stupples main craving, a typical British meal of pie and chips -- the problem is shes living at Lake Nona in Orlando, where pie and chips are hard to come by!
New Man on The Bag
Ian Poulter has a new caddie. Mick Munday will be looping for the English star this season. Munday spent a number of seasons with Laura Davies and is married to LPGA Tour player Johanna Head. With Head out on the womens tour and Munday dividing his time between the PGA and European tours with Poulter, it seems the pair would not be able see too much of each other, but when I bumped into Head at Champions Gate recently, she said it wasnt too bad. Poulter and her schedules are very similar which means theyll have the same weeks off.
Oh, Canada??
Marty in St. Johns, Newfoundland e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago to ask whether Canada has any hope of hosting a European Tour event. The answer I think is no, most certainly not, but what about a Challenge Tour event? Personally, I think this would be a marvelous move for both the Challenge Tour and the Canadian Tour. The current Challenge Tour schedule doesnt really kick into high gear until May and even when it does there are still gaps, so why not co-sanction events with the Canadian Tour. Granted the Canadian Tour itself doesnt play all of its events in Canada; the tour heads to winter sunshine for the early part of its schedule. But by co-sanctioning a few events through the season, the Challenge Tour would give its members more opportunities to play and would also encourage young players from North America to play more on Europes version of the Nationwide Tour. The benefits for Canadian Tour players would be tremendous, giving them the chance at placing high on the Challenge Tour Rankings and the possibility of starts on the European Tour.
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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.”