Connect with us

Tour News

Kraft recap: Slipped through the net

Published

on

By Vince Robitaille

GolfWRX Contributor

As I started writing this, right around the 16th hole on Sunday, Jack Nicklaus’ old mindset of lying low, letting others beat themselves and hand him the championship came to my mind. That being said, when those words sprung forth in my brain, I.K. Kim was the beneficiary of the present given up by Karin Sjodin and Hee Kyung Seo, not the generous soul … but then, there was the 18th green.

Career-defining moments are just that, career-defining. Whenever a name is brought up in the conversation, there’s that sudden flash, that vivid image of the highlight, whether grandiose or not, of one’s work. Tiger’s merry-go-round chip in at the 16th in the 2005 Masters, Nicklaus’ putt on the subsequent hole 19 years before, and Watson’s wedge from the rough on the 17th at Pebble Beach that led to his first U.S. Open victory, are, but a few of those glorious moments. Distressingly, I.K. Kim’s missed 1-footer on the 18th green seems to be more appropriately placed in the as exclusive, yet immensely undesirable group of those whose missed opportunity forever hunted them and forged their legacy. While she negotiated the par-5 final hole in perfect fashion up until then, thus distancing herself from Jean Van de Velde’s Carnage in Carnoustie, she couldn’t avoid pulling a Doug Saunders. Obviously heartbroken and shaken from the event, Kim went on to succumb, in a 1-hole playoff, to the hands of Sun Young Yoo; the latter draining a 15-foot birdie en route to her second LPGA Tour win and first triumph in a major. Hopefully for I.K. Kim, who hit all 18 greens in regulation on Sunday, her sixth top 5-finish in a major will only spark a Roryesquerun that will see her bouncing back in July on the grounds of Blackwolf Run.

I don’t know what’s more surprising, that missed putt or the fact that 314 words into this recapitulation of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the name Yani Tseng had yet to be mentioned. In fact, while the World No.1 seemed poised to make it four-straight, this weekend, with opening rounds that had her comfortably sitting in first place at 8-under, a stroke ahead of Haeji Kang. That being said, one couldn’t help but to pick up on the exacerbation of her short-distance putting woes; Tseng, much like her past few weeks, missed several putts under 10 feet, on Thursday and Friday, on her way to 31 and 30 putts respectively, while recording 28 and 29 through the weekend. Putts per round, however, as we’ll show soon enough, can be misleading if taken independently. Her flatstick issues, this time around, yielded more consequences as her showcase of ball striking, while still stellar in comparison to the field, wasn’t up to the level that she accustomed us to, namely near-perfection. As an example, going back to her putts per round, this statistic, which would seem to indicate an improvement through the tournament, was offset by the fact that Tseng hit 16 greens in regulation during each of the first two rounds in opposition to solely 12 and 11 on Saturday and Sunday. It goes to show how dominating a figure Tseng is, when a sub-par performance still had her in the last threesome on the first major Sunday of the season with her sight -not her hands – set on the Dinah Shore Trophy. The lone golfer in front of her, at that point, was one longing to get back in the winner’s circle, a luxurious spot she hadn’t visited since her days in Stillwater, Okla.

After six winless years on the LPGA Tour and an uneventful start to the championship, the ever-smiling Karin Sjodin had two days that would have anyone grinning. On Friday, after a quick start with a birdie on the par-5 2nd hole, the Swede shaved four additional strokes around the turn at Nos. 7, 9, 10 and 11, before exchanging birdies and bogeys on the last two holes of the day to hand in a 5-under 67.  Moving day was more of the same for the former All-American who carded a 4-under 68 — the lone blemish coming by way of a bogey on the par-4 12th – highlighted by a bombing 287.5 yards driving average that enabled her splendid iron work to takeover and net her 17 greens in regulation. Then, for yet another one of our characters, there was Sunday.

The merry Swede took a running start, on the faithful day, by sinking an eagle putt on the par-5 2nd, a hole on which she totaled 5-under through the Championship. Although not even Tom “Durrr” Dwan could have read the slightest of worries on Sjodin’s face after dropping back the aforementioned two shots before the turn, one could feel the wind shifting, both literally and figuratively. As a matter of fact, gusting winds proved themselves to be, as predicted, a major player on Sunday as World No.1 Yani Tseng suffered, much like other high ball hitters amongst the last pairings, through the first two thirds of her final round, while earlier threesomes, revered wind-players and players with low ballflights shone. Whereas our pre-tournament favorites to put an end to the “Tseng Streak”, Stacey Lewis and Angela Stanford, were of those making a late surge — both of them finishing on the first two pages of the leaderboard with cumulative scores of 7-under and 5-under – it was 2011 Rolex Rookie of the Year, Hee Kyung Seo, that managed to ride the prevailing breeze. The South Korean nestled herself in first place, by way of 5 birdies over her first 12 holes, before crumbling rapidly to an aggregate result of 7-under through four consecutive bogeys, starting on 15th.  Just like this, the one golfer who seemed to be on the receiving end of a nicely wrapped Nicklaus-type present, relinquished it, leaving the prize unattended on the kitchen table and us, bewildered onlookers, ever puzzled.

And so, we’ve come full circle. Four were, at one point, in a tie for first place at 9-under, I.K. Kim, then, distancing herself from the pack and looking like the obvious champion, was ultimately left there shell-shocked, a mere foot away from victory. Having gone unnoticed throughout the final day and posting a 3-under 69 to establish the benchmark score of 9-under a few groups before Kim, Sun Young Yoo quite amazingly sneaked in and came out on top. To be quite honest, had I not seen it with my own eyes and had I simply read a recap of April 1st events, I would have dismissed it as a good April Fool’s prank. After all, one laughed hysterically as she got out of Poppy’s Pond, one smiled throughout the day no matter what was thrown her way, and one simply couldn’t believe that she had been caught.

Click here for more discussion in the “LPGA/Ladies golf talk” forum.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Kraft recap: Slipped through the net | Augusta Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tour News

REPORT: Tiger Woods to play in the Genesis Open on Feb 15

Published

on

Last season, Tiger Woods withdrew from a press conference at the Genesis Open due to back spasms. This season, Woods will reportedly play in the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades, California from February 15-18.

By withdrawing from the 2017 Genesis Open — an event which his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts — Woods ensured that a promising comeback was not to be. At the start of 2017, Woods committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic… an aggressive schedule for Woods, who hadn’t played much competitive golf in the previous year due to back injuries and surgeries. Things didn’t go as planned, however, as Woods missed the cut at the Farmers, withdrew after an opening-round 77 in Dubai, and withdrew from the Genesis Open and the Honda.

Since then, Woods has had spinal fusion surgery, and he recently finished T9 at the 18-player 2017 Hero World Challenge. It was there he showed the golfing world — and probably himself, too — that he can still compete among the world’s best golfers when he’s healthy.

At the Hero World Challenge, Woods was consistently hitting 179 mph of ball speed off the tee with his driver, and despite some early concerns with the wedge, he showed prowess around and on the greens. He was yip-less, fast, healthy, and finished 8-under through four rounds. A Tiger Woods comeback seems more plausible now than it has in three years.

Woods will continue to test his game at the 2017 Genesis Open — a start that will come 26 years after competing as a 16-year-old amateur in the 1992 Nissan Open at Riviera. Much like 26 years ago, Woods comes to Riviera as a golfer who needs to prove himself… it’s just that this time around, he has 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins to his name.

Your Reaction?
  • 43
  • LEGIT6
  • WOW2
  • LOL3
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP2
  • OB1
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Popular Photo Galleries

Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

Published

on

GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

Your Reaction?
  • 16
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Popular Photo Galleries

Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

Published

on

GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

Related

Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending