Preparations for the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club will continue as normal. That’s good news, after a line of storms tore through the Chicago area, uprooting trees and detaching roofs.
An official at Olympia Fields said the club suffered almost no impact from the storms and was east of the hardest-hit areas. Golf carts were sent out for Wednesday play, and more than 200 rounds were registered.
Suburbs north of Chicago were among the hardest-hit areas, and the Chicago Tribune reported that 288,000 customers were left without power because of the storms, which produced winds upward of 80 mph. Chicago O’Hare International Airport canceled more than 300 flights Tuesday night, and another 30 were canceled from Chicago Midway.
The National Weather Service did not confirm any tornadoes in the area, according to the Tribune.
The Girls’ Junior is scheduled for July 18-23, and will be contested on the South course. The USGA returns to Olympia Fields in 2015 for the U.S. Amateur.
When Kendall Prince couldn’t play golf, she dreamed about it.
“I literally played 18 holes in my dreams every night,” she said, adding that she’s better in real life than she is in slumber. The recent graduate of Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Ore., is No. 25 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings.
An immune disease (most likely autoimmune hepatitis, but doctors couldn’t say for sure) took her away from golf for months.
At the end of an American Junior Golf Association tournament in August, Prince’s parents told her that she seemed tired. She put her clubs away and took a break. Then things got worse.
She started sleeping 20 hours a day and couldn’t even walk around her block. Tests revealed a sky-high enzyme count in her liver – her body was rejecting its own organ.
An antibiotic she was taking might have caused the reaction. She came off the medicine and rested for months, with doctors monitoring every shift.
Besides dreaming about golf, she spent her time in bed reading golf books – “Putting Out of Your Mind” and “Zen Golf” were her favorites.
In December, she felt strong enough to pick up her driver ...
History wasn’t going to repeat itself for Erynne Lee this year during U.S. Women’s Open qualifying. Last year, Lee earned her place among the most elite female golfers in the country by winning a playoff for a spot in the Women’s Open at Oakmont, only to find out minutes later that she had used two wedges that might have illegal grooves.
Lee had been under the impression that her pair of Ping Tour-W wedges were conforming when she entered the qualifier near Seattle. When tournament officials couldn’t find the clubs on the U.S. Golf Association’s conforming list, they were sent to USGA headquarters. Eventually, the wedges were deemed non-conforming, and Lee was unable to take the spot she had earned.
“The past is the past,” Lee said after qualifying for this year’s Women’s Open out of Industry Hills, Calif. “I still think about it here and then, but it didn’t really distract me. Before I came down to the qualifier, I made sure I checked my clubs. I made sure I talked to my parents and made sure they checked as well, just in case.”
Lee, of Silverdale, Wash., posted ...
Take a look at the list of past champions at any AJGA invitational. Odds are, many of them now enjoy a comfortable spot on the PGA Tour money list.
But even with the impressive number of child prodigies and academy standouts on those past champion lists, history was made this week at the Thunderbird International Junior, as Brad Dalke, 13, became the youngest AJGA invitational winner and the third-youngest winner in AJGA history. With a gutsy up-and-down for par on the final hole May 31, Dalke defeated Billy Kennerly and Jake Higginbottom by one shot at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
If Dalke’s name sounds familiar, here’s why: Last August, he made the college and junior golf worlds take a collective gasp when he gave a verbal commitment to Oklahoma at age 12. While opinions on the situation were understandably polarizing, Dalke’s family history made his decision to attend OU a foregone conclusion by the time he was old enough to point out Norman on a map. And after his biggest victory to date, he’s anything but regretting the commitment.
“There were some people who congratulated me and there were also some people criticizing me ...
After making birdie at the par-4 10th hole in the final round of last year’s HP Byron Nelson Championship, Jordan Spieth was within three shots of a Sunday PGA Tour lead.
Rather than moving slowly and taking in the experience, Spieth, 16 at the time, was focused on keeping the mood light.
“It was just completely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” Spieth said recently. “I think what stuck out the most was that I was really into it with my caddie. We were going back and forth, and I didn’t really understand how big the stage was until after.”
The gallery understood how big of a moment it was for the hometown kid, who grew up in Dallas. Jason Day, the tournament’s eventual champion, noticed how much attention Spieth received.
“I was walking to the fourth hole, and it looked like there was a thousand people following him,” Day told reporters after the tournament. “It took a little bit of pressure off my shoulders knowing that the good majority of the fans that were following me were close friends and family.”
Spieth struggled down the stretch on that Sunday, making two bogeys and a double in ...
Rumors started to circulate around the hallways of Gilmour Academy last year.
“Did you hear? Justin Bieber’s brother just moved to town!”
True, a 16-year-old kid named Bieber had moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, but if there is any relation to the teenage pop star, Andrew Bieber is not aware of it.
“I get asked about (my name) a lot,” Bieber said, laughing. “It can be kind of fun at times. Sometimes, I’ll tell people he’s my cousin and that we drive around in his Range Rover together.”
Be it ambition or differing musical tastes, Bieber said he hopes to one day be known for the success of his golf career, rather than his last name. What better way to put himself on the nation’s radar than gaining a spot in one of golf’s biggest shows – the U.S. Open?
Bieber advanced out of U.S. Open local qualifying at Beechmont Country Club in Cleveland on May 10, shooting 1-under 70 and finishing second to Kent State junior Mackenzie Hughes, this year’s Mid-American Conference champion. Bieber will play his sectional June 6 at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif., for a chance to advance ...
OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. – Two bunker adventures almost ruined Al Dickens’ shot at the biggest title of his young career. Instead, the high school senior gritted his teeth, shook the sand out of his shaggy blonde hair and donned his rally cap for a hard-fought victory at the Palmetto High School Championship.
Dickens, a senior at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day, walked away with the individual title Saturday at the super-sized high school event. After cruising through the first 16 holes at Ocean Ridge Plantation’s Tiger’s Eye course in 2 under, Dickens hit a snag that nearly cost him the title. A bogey at the par-3 17th was followed by a sprayed drive at the par-4 finishing hole. His ball deep in a bunker on the right side of the fairway, Dickens was unable to get out on the first try. Two shots later, he found himself putting for bogey and what he thought was a tie for medalist. A miss left Dickens briefly disappointed, until he discovered minutes later that it instead left him tied with good friend Charles Spry, a senior at Forsyth High School (Lewiston, N.C.).
“If I ...
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – When it came to the leaderboard, Thursday’s qualifying round at the Palmetto High School Championship just served as a preview of things to come. The boys from Forestview High School, out of Gastonia, N.C., continued to chase the title that got away last year during Friday’s opening round at Legends Resort’s Parkland Course. Forestview, the low qualifier, holds a slim two-shot lead on Forsyth Country Day (Lewisville, N.C.), with Charlotte Country Day and Providence Day School (both out of Charlotte, N.C.) another shot back.
Looking at Friday’s weather map, it couldn’t have been much different than the previous day. Sunny skies were replaced with a cold, steady downpour as players fought to keep their clubs in their hands and their heads in the game. The enormous green blob covering the majority of South Carolina’s east coast finally moved out from on top of Legends Resort as the first groups were coming off the course.
“It’s been a tough spring with the wind and rain,” said Forestview High head coach Ken Beaty.
Forestview was able to count four sub-80 rounds, including ...
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Taylor Dickson has a rare combination of skill and demeanor that make him predestined for success on the course. Built like a linebacker, but with incredible balance for the amount of power he generates in his swing, Dickson displays a mechanically sound technique that immediately separates him from the field at the Palmetto High School Championship. To watch Dickson is the only way you’ll find out about his sheer talent, however. The 18-year-old would prefer to play first, talk later.
Overheard on the 16th tee at Barefoot Resort’s Love Course on Thursday was some meaningless banter between playing competitors that said a lot about Dickson’s character.
“Have you ever played this course?” one asked.
“Yeah, last year at this tournament,” Dickson answered, nonchalantly. End of story. Pull the driver, and put it in another zip code. What wasn’t mentioned on that tee box is the fact that Dickson is the defending champion this week at the Palmetto. Sure, he’d like to repeat, but it isn’t all-consuming. And it isn’t mentioned until after the round.
Dickson prevailed in a scorecard playoff at last year’s event, only after shooting a ...
I played my first round at the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open yesterday and shot 76. My goal was to enjoy this experience, and I can honestly say that I learned a lot and am looking forward to taking what I have learned into Round 2.
When I was warming up on the range, I was feeling pretty good and went through my regular warm-up routine. I got on the first tee and felt surprisingly calm. But I think I may have been a bit tense without even realizing it. With all my mental training at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, I know that self awareness and being able to manage my tendencies is the key to being able to just go out and play my best golf, but it isn’t always that easy.
A bogey on No. 1 was not a great start, but I knew there was a lot of golf left to play. I hit a good drive on No. 3 and made a birdie putt to take it back to even. Some errors off the tee – probably due to tension in my swing from the pressure of my first PGA event – and a few ...
Well, it’s really good to be back in Puerto Rico, and it’s incredible to be playing on the PGA Tour. From the moment I arrived at the course and walked into the locker room, the feeling was so different than anything I have ever experienced at a tournament before.
I’ve been working hard the last two weeks at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy to prepare for this event knowing that it is not going to be technical preparation that will help me, but the ability to deal with the pressure of playing in this environment with great players such as Stewart Cink and Boo Weekley. My goals this week are to really enjoy the experience and to learn as much as I can about playing on the PGA Tour, as this is my ultimate dream and goal.
I had my practice round yesterday and had the opportunity to play with Joe Ogilvie. It was such a good experience, and I learned a lot watching him and his caddie, Chip, as they planned their way around the course. They were so friendly and helpful – it was awesome.
Although I have already played the course quite a bit for ...
When I went to Puerto Rico at the beginning of the year to play in the AJGA Puerto Rico Junior Open, I knew there was a PGA Tour tournament exemption on the line for the winner, but didn’t really give it much thought.
I had been working on my game for most of the fall and had been home to South Africa for Christmas where I just had fun playing golf with family and friends.
After the first round of the event, I found myself a few shots behind the leader, however. I wanted to get myself in position to win, but I decided to just stick to my game plan and focus on the things I could control. It would be tempting to think about score, and the pressure of the high stakes could cause me to try too hard to win.
So I tried my best to play one shot at a time and stay concentrated and focused on each shot.
I was able to do some catching up after a 2-under 70 in the second round and found myself tied for the lead halfway though the final 18 holes. Before I knew it, I wound up ...
REUNION, Fla. – In the past year, Simin Feng has been to rock bottom, but now – with a smile on her face – she’s working her way back.
Feng, 15, fell victim to a swing change last year, and hit her lowest point at the AJGA’s Thunderbird Invitational. Her final-round 103 caused heads to turn in the once junior-phenom’s direction. On the two-year anniversary of her AJGA breakthrough – she won the inaugural Annika Invitational in 2009 – Feng was itching for revenge.
“The only thing was that being so long time in the dip, I have to find myself more confidence coming back and stuff,” Feng said.
Such an exaggerated dip is unusual for Feng. Already in her career, she’s made two LPGA starts. During the latter of those, the 2009 Hana Bank Kolon Championship, Feng scored a second-round pairing with Lorena Ochoa. It amounted to a huge learning experience for Feng, who plays and practices out of Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla.
Feng, who doesn’t even need to start thinking about college as she won’t graduate until 2013, describes the swing changes she underwent with coach Henry Reis as necessary for the overall health of her ...
After a breakout performance last spring, Jordan Spieth has been invited back to play the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship. The event will be held May 26-29 at TPC Las Colinas, less than 30 minutes from Spieth’s home in Dallas.
Spieth, the No. 2-ranked junior in Golfweek’s rankings, tied for 16th last year in becoming the sixth-youngest player to make the cut at a PGA Tour event. He will play for the University of Texas in the fall.
Spieth, 17, remains one of the game’s rising stars, and earlier this week won the HP Boys Championship in Houston in his final AJGA start. The 2009 U.S. Junior champion recently lost in a playoff at the Jones Cup Invitational, and he is vying for a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team.
Last year at the Nelson, Spieth shot rounds of 68-69 to make the cut, then moved within three strokes of the lead on the back nine Sunday before dropping into a share of 16th. A few weeks later, he missed the cut by one at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
Spieth is one of three juniors in the class of 2011 to ...
REUNION, Fla. – Never let it be said that the French don’t celebrate in style. After a hard-fought victory at the Annika Invitational on Monday, French national team member Celine Boutier was met by four shrieking teammates at the 18th who proceeded to chase her off the green and douse her with champagne, creating a scene not often observed at AJGA events.
Here are five more things you need to know about a down-to-the-wire final round at Reunion Resort’s Independence Course:
1.) Evolution of a lead
After Boutier dropped a 5-foot bogey putt on the 18th, her shoulders dropped and she became visibly relaxed. After entering the final round of the Annika with a four-shot lead, Boutier saw it dwindle through the first nine holes until it became necessary to don her rally cap at the turn. Her resulting two-shot victory over Doris Chen was anything but easy.
Boutier, who hails from Montrouge, France, missed back-to-back 5-footers for birdie at Nos. 1 and 2 to start her day, and allowed the field back into the tournament when she made four consecutive bogeys at Nos. 4-8. A player who wears her emotions on her sleeve, Boutier’s head went down ...
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