Thursday, it was time to go low in Southampton, N.Y. – although relatively few players managed to break par during the first round of the U.S. Women's Open, Ha-Neul Kim and Inbee Park did exactly that to lead the way.
Friday morning, the lead changed hands from one Kim to another as I.K. Kim shot 69 to move to 7 under and take the top spot on the leaderboard. She's being chased by Park, among others, in the afternoon rounds.
Some of the sport's biggest names, however, had a mundane start – or worse – to the season's third major. Cristie Kerr is even par and Paula Creamer is 1 over after two rounds. Stacy Lewis opened with a 1-under 71 and Karrie Webb opened with a 1-over 73 as both look to move into contention during their Friday-afternoon rounds, while Suzann Pettersen is on the outside of the projected cut line, looking in.
- Notes: Kim leads by 1; Korda's family tags along; more
- Stanford in contention for her first major victory
- PHOTOS: Gallery of images from Sebonack.
- For social-media updates throughout the tournament: Follow Beth Ann Baldry on Twitter here || Follow Julie Williams on ...
When Inbee Park stepped to Sebonack’s 10th tee early Thursday, she was greeted by a shockingly shortened U.S. Women’s Open setup. The 10th, her first hole of the day, played 21 yards shorter than expected in Round 1, prompting Park later to use the word "generous" in describing the setup. It's an adjective that doesn’t often come into play at the national championship.
At the 10th, Park’s first hole of the day, she and caddie Brad Beecher adjusted to the new yardage. Park wedged to a foot, made birdie and the two moved on. By now Park is famous for her lack of emotion, but Beecher maintains a beginning birdie has more effect on Park than she may let on.
“If she ever birdies the first hole,” Beecher said after the round, “she feels it’s going to be a good day ahead.”
Perhaps more surprising than Park’s opening 67 on a steamy Long Island day was the gift the U.S. Golf Association gave the entire field. The course played about 300 yards shorter than the advertised 6,821 yards.
Park, the 24-year-old South Korean who won the season's first two ...
Paz Echeverria draws an imaginary box with her hands to describe how her mind works. Echeverria is a left-brain thinker, exceedingly practical for a 28-year-old and brutally honest.
Echeverria’s honesty was most apparent Thursday when, in response to a question about Sebonack, she shrugged her shoulders and pursed her lips.
“I’m not impressed about this course,” Echeverria said. “If you hit it good, you are in the right spot. You can use the slopes.”
It wasn’t a knock on the Women’s Open venue, but simply an observation. Echeverria is playing in her first Women’s Open this week and posted a 3-under 69 Thursday, good for a tie for seventh. The native Chilean, whose first name means “peace” in Spanish, is only the second of her countrywomen to find a place on the LPGA tour. Nicole Perrot, whose only career victory came in 2005 at the Longs Drugs Challenge, was the first. After spending the past two years on the Symetra Tour, Echeverria earned conditional status last December with a tie for 32nd at LPGA Q-School.
The timing for that next step couldn’t have been better, because with Echeverria’s practical nature comes the realization ...
The LPGA isn’t leaving the Rochester, N.Y., area, but it is ending a 37-year relationship with Locust Hill Country Club. Wegmans LPGA Championship tournament organizers signed a one-year contract with Monroe Golf Club, located in nearby Pittsford, the LPGA announced Thursday.
The tournament’s dates also will move to the week of Aug. 11 to accommodate changes in the tour’s schedule. With the U.S. Women’s Open scheduled for mid-June in 2014, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan wanted to create more space between the majors. The LPGA will play one major in each month from June through September next year.
“As this extraordinary major continues, the LPGA would like to extend a very sincere ‘thank you’ to Locust Hill Country Club, which served as a challenging venue, a fantastic host, and most importantly, a wonderful friend to our players, staff and fans,” Whan said.
Wegmans will enter its fifth year as title sponsor for the tournament, which generated rumblings of change a couple of weeks ago. Monroe will be the 16th course to host the LPGA Championship, dating to 1955.
Shortly after Rory Sabbatini withdrew from the AT&T National after 12 holes due to a back injury, Davis Love III ended his stay at Congressional prematurely.
Citing a hip injury, Love withdrew following an opening-round 12-over 83, which included 10 bogeys and a triple bogey. His one birdie came at his first hole of the day, the par-4 first hole.
Love missed much of the earlier part of this season following a two-level disk fusion to alleviate pain in his neck. He returned to action at the Players Championship, where he finished T-48. He had made the cut in three of his four starts since the surgery, too.
Karrie Webb walked off the ninth green flushed from the heat. The “feels-like” temperature Monday afternoon at Sebonack Golf Club was a steamy 94. Webb gave the thin crowds a pass, given the weather, but wondered how many would come out to watch the first U.S. Women’s Open held on Long Island once competition began.
Webb, a two-time USWO champion, said the Jack Nicklaus-Tom Doak design didn’t favor one person. For those hitting it well, Webb said, there’s “a bit of freedom off the tee.”
As the winner of last month’s ShopRite LPGA Classic, Webb comes into the year’s third major feeling confident. She said when one part of her game goes awry, other parts have stepped up to offset the issue, allowing her to score. That can be part of the puzzle for winning a Women’s Open – managing mistakes.
• FRIENDLY FOES: Less than 24 hours after Inbee Park defeated good friend So Yeon Ryu in a playoff in Arkansas, the two were together again for a practice round at Sebonack. No hard feelings there, apparently. Both are past champions of this event.
• ZEN ZHANG: Joining Park and Ryu in that power foursome ...
U.S. Open champion Justin Rose will take a week to rest and prepare for the Open Championship rather than play in the AT&T National, according the latest field list distributed.
Rose's cancellation gets Brendon Todd into the tournament. The former Georgia Bulldog has made his last four Tour cuts.
It's not unusual for the winner of a major to skip the next week's event, but Rose played in the Travelers Championship last week after numerous media appearances and finished T-13. Multiple reports said Rose cited fatigue in pulling out. The week off can give Rose, an Englishman, time to get ready for the Open Championship at Muirfield on July 18-21.
Reigning Masters champ Adam Scott is among the stars who remain in the field, as well as Jason Day, Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker. Tournament host Tiger Woods cited an elbow injury when he withdrew last week.
Todd finished T-17 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and T-18 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. D.J. Trahan is the next alternate.
– Senior writer David Dusek contributed
PGA Tour pro Ken Duke, in winning the Travelers Championship on Sunday in a playoff against Chris Stroud, earned his first Tour victory at age 44.
Such a career accomplishment naturally earned support from his colleagues far and wide across the Tour – praise that stretched into the next day. Here's a sample of social-media posts from Tour players' Twitter accounts:
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Brandt Snedeker, @BrandtSnedeker: "Congrats to @DukePGA aka"the godfather" for his first PGA tour win.. We all knew you could just glad you finally realized it old man!!"
William McGirt, @WilliamMcGirt: "@DukePGA congrats on your win @TravelersChamp! Well deserved for one of the best guys on Tour!"
Justin Rose, @JustinRose99: "@DukePGA congrats on the win bud! Really pleased for you."
John Senden, @JohnSendenGolf: "Congrats to ken duke winning @TravelersChamp . #masters! Very Natural 'old school' golf swing. Plays with freedom.!!!! …"
Bob Toski, @BobToski: "Hey Ken Duke @TravelersChamp - See you at the Masters."
Lee Westwood, @WestwoodLee: "Well done Ken Duke! Top ball striker."
Greg Norman, @SharkGregNorman: "@DukePGA Congrats on a well deserved and warranted victory. Use this one to go onto others. #attacklife and golf."
Bob Estes, @BobEstesPGA: "@DukePGA Great playin' Duke! Congrats to you & Bob Toski!!"
Steve Wheatcroft, @wheatiePGA: "@DukePGA ...
And now for something completely different.
When the world’s best women golfers tee it up this week at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., for the national championship, they’ll be playing on a decidedly retro new course that looks like it’s been there for a century.
Good thing Sebonack has that classic feel, because its immediately adjoining neighbors are a couple of legendary Long Island living museum pieces: Shinnecock Hills, home to U.S. Opens in 1896, 1986, 1995, 2004 and again in 2018; and National Golf Links of America, which was home to the inaugural Walker Cup in 1922 and gets that event again later this summer, Sept. 6-8.
This time, it’s Sebonack’s time to shine – and to debut on the international scene. It’s got an unusual pedigree, not only for its upscale location in the Hamptons but also thanks to its status as the collaborative product of two of golf’s most iconoclastic designers, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak. They combined their efforts on a sparkling, dunes-flecked site along Great Peconic Bay. Credit goes to owner/founder Michael Pascucci for his commitment to getting the two architects to work together. The ...
Third-round co-leaders Graham DeLaet, Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson were passed Sunday by Ken Duke and Chris Stroud, who dueled in a playoff as each sought his first PGA Tour win at the Travelers Championship.
Duke –- a veteran of 19 professional seasons -– emerged victorious with a birdie on the second playoff hole on a sunny day at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
Here are 5 Things to Know from the Travelers Championship:
• • •
1. DUKE'S DART: Well back of Chris Stroud in the fairway on the second playoff hole, Duke nonetheless took dead aim at the bunker-guarded pin with his approach on No. 18.
It was dead-on, clearing the sand and settling inside 3 feet.
Stroud reached the green from the fairway, but was left with a long birdie putt; his effort on the green would have made for a good lag putt, just missing low, but with Duke at can't-miss range he needed to make it.
Duke seemingly took a moment to collect himself while reading the short putt, then rolled it in for the win. He had won twice on the Web.com Tour and earned three runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour.
Duke had gotten ...
Ken Duke, 44, applied the pressure at the turn and never looked back, holding off Chris Stroud on the second hole of a playoff to win his first PGA Tour title on Sunday at the Travelers Championship.
Duke fired a 4-under 66 to vault past Bubba Watson over the final nine holes -- with Watson helping with a triple-bogey 6 at the par-3 16th -- and then hitting his approach shot at No. 18 to 2 feet on the second hole of the playoff.
Stroud forced the playoff with a dramatic chip-in birdie on No. 18 to tie Duke at 12 under in regulation.
See how it all unfolded on Sunday:
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Update No. 33: 6:20 p.m. EDT
PLAYOFF, SECOND HOLE: PAR-4 18TH
• Off the tee: Another bomb here for Chris Stroud, leaving another sand wedge. Ken Duke finds the fairway, coming up just short of the cart path that runs across the fairway.
• Approach shot: Ken Duke applies the pressure here, landing his less than 2 feet from the hole. Stroud hits a solid shot, but will have 20 feet for birdie. A likely must-make.
• On the green: Stroud gives it a chance, but his birdie putt slides by on ...
Low numbers returned Saturday at the Travelers Championship. But unfortunately for the players in the top two groups, red numbers didn't come their way.
Second-round leader Bubba Watson shot even-par 70 in his third round at TPC River Highlands while his playing competitor Patrick Reed carded a 73. The players in the penultimate group, Padraig Harrington and Tag Ridings, combined to shoot 3 over.
Watson enters Sunday in a three-way tie for the lead at 10 under alongside Charley Hoffman, who shot 66, and Graham DeLaet, who equaled the best score of the day with a 65.
We kept you posted on the top developments during Saturday's third round at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
See how it all unfolded:
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Update No. 19: 5:39 p.m. EDT
Bubba Watson has lost his outright lead after a bogey at the par-4 17th. That's three bogeys in his last five holes. Watson is now tied for the lead with Graham DeLaet and Charley Hoffman at 10 under. The four players in the last two groups (Watson, Patrick Reed, Padraig Harrington and Tag Ridings) are a combined 8 over today.
• • •
Update No. 18: 5:23 p.m. EDT ...
CROMWELL, Conn. – All things relative, of course. We’re not talking Merion and the 2013 U.S. Open tough, nor suggesting that TPC River Highlands flashed vicious fangs Friday.
But, it wasn’t exactly the soft touch it was Thursday.
“It was totally different,” said Webb Simpson, who shot 65 Thursday morning and barely broke a sweat, but shot 69 Friday afternoon when he tried to keep it together coming in.
With winds picking up and greens firming up, “it was hard to know what shape you wanted to hit (your shot),” said Padraig Harrington.
Harrington (66-66) and Brendon de Jonge (67-67) are the only names among the top 11 on the leaderboard who at least matched their score from Thursday afternoon when they went out Friday afternoon. Hunter Mahan, for instance, backed up his opening-morning 62 with a 71 in the tricky Friday afternoon winds, and Simpson was four strokes higher.
No surprise, but of those who went out in gentle conditions Thursday afternoon and again Friday morning, Bubba Watson took the greatest advantage. With a 63-67 to get to 10-under 130, Watson – who won here in 2007 – leads Patrick Reed (66-66) and Harrington by two, while a four-way ...
Leader Bubba Watson will bring up the rear of the pack Saturday alongside Patrick Reed, with Padraig Harrington and Tag Ridings in the group ahead for the third round of the Travelers Championship.
Other top groups Saturday will include first-round leader Charley Hoffman alongside Hunter Mahan. The two shot 61 and 62 in the opening round followed by 73 and 71, respectively, putting Mahan T-4 and Hoffman T-8. Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson will be in the group ahead of them.
Reigning U.S. Open champ Justin Rose tees off at 12:45 p.m. alongside J.J. Henry, both T-12, while 2013 Masters runner-up Angel Cabrera tees off at 9:33 a.m. alongside Andres Romero, both T-53.
• • •
Complete tee times and pairings for the third round of the Travelers Championship (all times EDT):
1:55 p.m.: Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed
1:45 p.m.: Padraig Harrington, Tag Ridings
1:35 p.m.: Nick O’Hern, Tommy Gainey
1:25 p.m.: Hunter Mahan, Charley Hoffman
1:15 p.m.: Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson
1:05 p.m.: Brendon de Jonge, Ricky Barnes
12:55 p.m.: Graham DeLaet, William McGirt
12:45 p.m.: J.J. Henry ...