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2007 U.S. Women’s Open Preview

Story lines abound as the LPGA prepares for their third major of the year, the U. S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Golf Club in North Carolina. Will Ochoa win her first major? Can Annika bounce back from injury to defend her title? Can Wie make the cut?

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The 2007 U.S. Women’s Open Championship returns to Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, June 28-July 1, this the third time in 11 years. Pine Needles has been recently renovated and now packs 300 more yards for this year’s competitors, tipping out at 6,664 yards and par 71.

There are a myriad of intriguing stories at this year’s Women’s U.S. Open including a 12 year old qualifier, a wrist injury, an emerging superstar, a defending champion looking to return to form, and the new number one coming to Pine Needles fresh off of her first playoff victory.

The biggest story thus far has to be the 12 year old qualifier, Alexis Thompson. Thompson who hails from Coral Springs, Florida will not graduate high school until 2013, yet this week she will be competing on the grandest golf stage in the world. She became the youngest qualifier for the open ever, edging out Morgan Pressel, by 7 months and 20 days. There will definitely be a buzz around this young potential superstar this week; the only question will be whether she is ready for the test?

Morgan Pressel who was the youngest player to ever qualify for a Women’s Open, before Thompson, comes to Pine Needles looking for major number two, after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this year.  She returns to Pine Needles, six years removed from when she was the story of the week, and the young phenom. Now established as one of the favorites and emerging stars on the LPGA Tour, Pressel can reflect on what she did 6 years ago. "I remember looking down the fairway and thinking, ‘Wow, this is wild,’" Pressel said. "I was so nervous, but excited. It’s so beautiful there," Pressel said. "It’s a special place." Maybe Pine Needles is ready to let her complete the journey that she started here 6 years ago.

Michelle Wie enters this year’s Open coming off of one of her poorest performances as a professional, and amidst a firestorm of controversy, stemming from an early withdrawal at The Ginn Tribute, an early exit that some saw as an escaping of the “88 Rule”. The wrist injury also hampered her the following week at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship where she finished dead last at 21 over par. She has been working in Orlando with swing coach David Leadbetter, and assuming that her wrist is healed, should be in better form here this week at Pine Needles. She still does have her sense of humor though, when asked about what she heard about Pine Needles, Wie replied “That there are a lot of pine trees.” Let’s hope that her golf game is back on par with her sense of humor.

Annika Sorenstam goes to Pine Needles as not only a previous winner there, but as the defending champion of the U.S. Women’s Open, winning in a playoff at Newport Country Club, by seven strokes, against Pat Hurst.  Sorenstam has been a little off form this year, due primarily to a bulging disk in her back and ruptured disk in her neck; injuries that have kept her sidelined since April. "Pine Needles has a special place in my heart for several reasons," Sorenstam told reporters yesterday. "I love that whole area … and I love coming back." The US Women’s Open would not be the same without her. Let’s just hope that her back and neck allow her to compete the way that she has for her entire hall of fame career.

The world’s number one player, Lorena Ochoa comes into this week’s major red hot, winning last week at the Wegmans LPGA, beating South Korean rookie In-Kyung Kim in a playoff. Ochoa was quite positive after the win saying, "This is really a good turning point winning a playoff," adding that "I like my chances for next week [at the U.S. Women’s Open]." Despite her struggles in the final round of majors in recent  years, Ochoa remains the favorite this week, entering the tournament fresh off of a win and as the number one ranked player in the world. Ochoa has 3 wins this season and also 9 top ten finishes, including three second place finishes.

 

Television Coverage

Date                Network        Broadcast Hours
June 27            ESPN2           5:30-6 p.m. (Preview Show)
June 28            ESPN             2-6 p.m.
June 29            ESPN             2-6 p.m.
June 30            NBC               3-6 p.m.
July 1               NBC               3-6 p.m. 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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GolfWRX is live on site this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for the PGA Tour’s one-and-only two-man team event.

As usual, general galleries, WITBs, and pullout albums — including some pretty spicy custom putters and headcovers — await your viewing.

Be sure to check back for more photos from the Big Easy, as we’ll continue to update this page with additional galleries throughout the week.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying about our photos from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in the forums.

 

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Morning 9: Tiger’s TGL teammates | Woosnam’s criticism of Cantlay | Rory’s return to tour policy board

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as the PGA Tour heads to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic.

1. 15-year-old finishes top 20 on KFT

Jay Coffin for Golf Digest…”During a week when most eyes were on Scottie Scheffler and Nelly Korda, the 15-year-old lefty finished off an incredible week with a five-under 66 in the final round of the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic at Lakewood Ranch in Florida.”

  • “After opening with 68-66-70, Russell finished at 14-under-par total to tie for 20th place. The finish in which he jumped 28 positions on the leaderboard on the final day, gives him an exemption into next week’s Veritex Bank Championship at Rangers Park in Arlington, Texas. He’s the youngest player to finish inside the top 20 on the PGA of Korn Ferry tours, according to records that go back to 1983.”
Full piece.

2. Understandably, Nelly WDs

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Nelly Korda’s bid for a record-setting sixth consecutive win will have to wait a few weeks.”

  • “A day after capturing the Chevron Championship during a marathon final round in Houston, Korda announced on social media that she was withdrawing from this week’s JM Eagle LA Championship.”
  • “It was not an easy decision,” she wrote. “After the unbelievable week at the Chevron and grinding through the mental and physical challenges of four events in the past five weeks, I am definitely feeling exhausted. With so much still to come throughout 2024, I feel I need to listen to my body and get some rest, so I can be ready for the remainder of the season.”
Full piece.

3. Scheffler’s impressive No. 1 feat

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”After Scheffler’s victory Monday morning at the RBC Heritage, Scheffler upped his points average to 15.016 and increased his advantage in the Official World Golf Ranking over No. 2 Rory McIlroy to more than double McIlroy’s 7.365 average, meaning Scheffler is ranked further ahead of No. 2 than No. 2 is ahead of the last-ranked player.”

  • “The last time a No. 1 player had a greater points average was Woods, who was at 15.4564 on Dec. 6, 2009. But Woods was less than seven average points ahead of No. 2 Phil Mickelson at the time. Earlier that year, Woods was 7.735 ahead of Mickelson, which is the last time the gap between Nos. 1 and 2 was greater than Scheffler’s current 7.651 advantage.”
Full piece.

4. Zurich field notes

PGATour.com’s Adam Stanley…”Rory McIlroy will make his tournament debut alongside good pal, Ryder Cup teammate, and Irishman Shane Lowry – a duo that was firmed up during a celebratory lunch after the Ryder Cup last fall… Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele will try to reprise their 2022 win here. Cantlay and Schauffele have both the Foursomes and Four-ball scoring records at this event… Davis Riley and Nick Hardy will defend their 2023 title. No team has gone back-to-back… Three sets of brothers (and two sets of twins!) will play together with twins Rasmus and Nicolai Højgaard and Parker and Pierceson Coody in the field along with Alex and Matt Fitzpatrick. Alex Fitzpatrick and Rasmus Højgaard are sponsor invites…”

  • “Billy Horschel, who won last week at the Corales Puntacana Championship, will be without his previous partner Sam Burns, as Burns and his wife are expecting their first child any day. Horschel will instead be paired with fellow University of Florida alum Tyson Alexander. Horschel has won the Zurich Classic when it was both an individual and team event… Other notable pairings include Collin Morikawa and Kurt Kitayama, Sahith Theegala and Will Zalatoris, and Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin. The Canadian duo finished runner-up a year ago and would like nothing more than to show Presidents Cup International Team captain Mike Weir how well they play together… Steve Stricker will play his second TOUR event this season (after earning his way into THE PLAYERS Championship), teaming up with Matt Kuchar.”
Full piece.

5. Tiger’s teammates

Field Level Media report…”Tiger Woods announced Monday that Max Homa, Tom Kim and Kevin Kisner have joined his Jupiter Links GC TGL team.”

  • “The virtual golf league headed by Woods and Rory McIlroy will begin its inaugural season next January. Woods also unveiled the team’s logo.”
  • “I have already shared my excitement and optimism for TGL as a league and product,” said Woods. “Now that we have finalized our roster with a team of world-class golfers, I am even more confident that this group will proudly represent the Jupiter (Fla.) area and connect with our fans for years to come.”
Full piece.

6. Woosnam questions Cantlay’s decision

Our Matt Vincenzi…”After the horn sounded to suspend play due to darkness, Cantlay, who’s ball was in the fairway on the 18th hole, had a decision to make. With over 200 yards into the green and extreme winds working against the shot, conventional wisdom would be to wait until Monday morning to hit the shot.”

  • “On the other hand, if he could finish the hole, he may just want to get the event over with so he could get out of Hilton Head.”
  • “Curiously, Cantlay chose neither of those options. After hitting 3-wood into the green, and still coming up short, the former FedEx Cup champion chose to mark his ball and chip and putt on Monday morning.”
  • “Ian Woosnam, who was watching from home, took to X to give his thoughts on Cantlay’s decision making.”
  • “Cantlay would end up getting up and down for par when play resumed at 8:00 am Monday morning.”
Full piece.

7. JT on Scheffler’s “weird” equipment choice

Our Matt Vincenzi…”After Justin Thomas’ third round of the RBC Heritage, the two-time major champion went in the broadcast booth alongside the CBS crew.”

  • “While Thomas was watching Scottie Scheffler play on the back nine of his third round, he wondered aloud why Scottie uses high-numbered golf balls.”
  • “Does anybody else think it’s weird that Scottie uses high numbers? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an elite player use high-numbered golf balls.”
  • “Amanda Balionis who was on the grounds chimed in, reporting that analyst Dottie Pepper had wondered the same thing earlier that day.”
  • “I’ve been going about this wrong my whole life,” Thomas jokingly said.
Full piece.

8. Rory to rejoin PGA Tour policy board

Mark Schlabach for ESPN…”Four-time major championship winner Rory McIlroy is poised to return to the PGA Tour’s policy board, pending a vote by the board, which could come as early as this week, sources confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.”

  • “One of the PGA Tour’s most vocal supporters during its three-year battle with LIV Golf, McIlroy abruptly resigned as a player director on the tour’s influential policy board in November.”
  • “He is expected to replace policy board player director Webb Simpson, who intends to step away before his two-year term expires in 2025.”
Full piece.

9. Weir names Presidents Cup assistants

PGA Tour report…”International Team Captain Mike Weir announced Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Geoff Ogilvy and Camilo Villegas as captain’s assistants for the 2024 Presidents Cup, which will be played at The Royal Montreal Golf Club in Montreal, Canada, Sept. 24-29.

Full piece.
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Tour Rundown: Six-pack of tourneys follows Masters

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Brazil and Texas were kindred souls this week, at least when it came to weather. Both regions experienced torrential delays, and three tournaments were held up. The LPGA, PGA Tour Americas, and PGA Tour Champions were compelled to reduce play or work extra holes into Sunday. As if that weren’t enough, South Carolina and the PGA Tour fell victim to nature’s wrath, with lightning postponing the conclusion of the event to Monday.

The year’s first women’s major championship was celebrated in Texas. The Chevron is gaining a bit of tradition in its second year after relocation. This year’s event culminated in the continued coronation of the game’s current best. The Korn Ferry Tour saw a top-twenty performance from a 15-year old amateur, while the second event of the week on the big tour found a winner in the Dominican Republic. Six events is more than a handful, so let’s get right to it, with this week’s (delayed) Tour Rundown.

LPGA @ Chevron Championship: Korda corrals second major title

The winter of 2022-2023 seems so distant for current Nelly Korda. A mysterious ailment sapped all of her energy, just as the world appeared to have finally emerged from the pandemic. We never quite secured the complete information that we desired, but no one can say that any of us deserved to know more than Nelly wished to share. One thing is for certain: Nelly Korda has returned to top form, and the world number one golfer is at least one level above anyone else on tour.

Korda began her 2024 campaign with a January victory in the Drive One Championship. In her next start, in March, she continued her assault on the record books, with a win at the Se Ri Pak. She won again the following week, at the Ford, then defeated Leona Maguire in the final match at the T-Mobile Match Play, for a fourth consecutive victory. Would the increased hype around a major championship have an impact on her game? Well, no.

Korda began play at the Chevron Championship with a score of 68. She trailed Lauren Coughlin by two after 18 holes, but caught her with a second-round 69. Coughlin would ultimately tie for third spot with Brooke Henderson. Henderson played with Korda on day four, but the middle third of the round was her undoing. Making a late move was Maja Stark. House Stark closed with birdies at 17 and 18 to reach 11 under par. Both Korda and Strak played the final three days in identical numbers: 69 each day.

Korda held a firm hand on the tournament over the course of the final day. She stood minus-four for the round through ten holes, before a bit of sloppy play made things competitive again. Bogeys at 11 and 15 opened the door a wee bit for Stark. Korda was equal to the test, however, and closed stylishly with birdie at 18.

PGA Tour 1 @ RBC: Scottie, so hottie!

Nelly isn’t the only golfer on fire, although Scottie Scheffler still has a ways to go to match her. Scheffler proved this week that he has a game for all courses. After winning comfortably at lengthy Augusta National, Scheffler shifted gears and game to the wee Sea Pines course, and won again. That’s two weeks in a row for the man from New Jersey/Texas, so let’s learn how he did it.

Scheffler totaled 69 on day one, and found himself six shots behind leader J.T. Poston. Scheffler revealed that his teacher, Randy Smith, would tell him that he didn’t need to be the best 15 year-old; just the best 25 year-old. It was easy, then, to play the long game and consider all 72 holes, instead of just 18. Scheffler improved to 65 on Friday, and then went even lower on Saturday. His 63 moved him to the top of the board, and caused the golfverse to wonder if Scheffler would win for a second consecutive week.

Sunday saw all the chasers fall away. Scores between 70 and 72 from Patrick Rodgers, Collin Morikawa, and Sepp Straka meant that others would need to seize the day, if Scheffler were to do more than coast. Wyndham Clark and Justin Thomas each moved inside the top five with fourth-round 65s, but no one ever got close enough to the world number one. The win was Scheffler’s 10th on tour, and made him the betting favorite for next month’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.

PGA Tour 2 @ Corales Puntacana: Baton Boy claims 8th Tour triumph

If you’ve ever seen Billy Horschel toss a club, you know that he doesn’t do so in anger. More likely is a calculated, soaring arc, paired with a look of fractured disbelief, followed by a quick catch of the cudgel. Ergo, Baton Boy. This week on the island of Hispaniola, the native of Grant, Florida, outworked and outhustled everyone else on Sunday. Horschel gathered seven birdies and an eagle, on the way to a 63 and a 23-under par total.

The former Florida Gator zipped past the four golfers in front of him, and left the remaining field in the rear-view mirror. Horschel’s round was two shots better than anyone else, and moved him two shots ahead of third-round leader Wesley Bryan. One of the famed Bryan Brothers, Wes closed with birdie at the last to post a 68 that would have won the week on any other day.

Korn Ferry Tour @ LeCom Suncoast: It’s Widing in extra holes

Miles Russell probably won’t have to serve detention for ditching class on Thursday and Friday. The high school freshman made his KFT debut, survived the 36-hole cut, and toyed with a top-ten finish. He ultimately tied for 20th at 14-under par, six shots behind the three co-leaders. My guess is that Epstein’s Mom will write him a note, and he’ll get a pass. By finishing top-25, Russell earned a spot in next week’s event. Yikes!

Back to the top of the board. Patrick Cover, Steven Fisk, and Tim Widing all found their way to the magic number of -20. Fisk made birdie at the last, after bogeys at 16 and 17. Cover had three bogeys on the back nine, but a birdie at 14 was enough to get him to overtime. Widing was plus-one on the day through four, but played interstellar golf over the final 14. Six birdies moved him from Russell-ville to extra time.

The trio scurried to the 18th tee, where Cover drove into a fairway bunker. He was unable to reach the green with his approach, made bogey, and exited the overtime session. Widing and Fisk returned to the final deck once more, and matters were resolved. Fisk was unable to convert a long par putt, and Widing (pronounced VEE-ding) tapped in for his first KFT title.

PGA Tour Americas @ Brasil Open: Mr. Anderson finds a way

Golf is a funny game. Matthew Anderson held a lead with one round to play. He made six pars on Sunday, and sprinkled the rest of his card with birdies and bogeys. In complete contrast, Ollie Osborne played consistently on the day, posting four birdies and zero bogeys. Connor Godsey was not far off Osborne’s pace, with seven birdies and but two bogeys on the scorecard. So, of course, Matthew Anderson won by a stroke over Osborne and Godsey.

Not how, but how many, is another one of those platitudes that we all learn early on. Despite five bogeys through his first 14 holes, Anderson summoned the defiant grit to make birdie at the 71st and 72nd holes. After making deuce at the penultimat hole, Anderson’s swerving effort at the last looked as if it should miss low, but it had enough pace to stay inside the hole and fall for a closing four at the par-five finisher.

PGA Tour Champions @ Invited Celebrity: Broadhurst stands tall

What do you call a tournament that begins on Friday, takes Saturday off, and finishes on Sunday? Fortunate is one adjective to use. A weather system moved through Texas this weekend, and made a mess of things in Irving. After Thomas Bjorn signed for 64 on day one, rain and all things counter-productive moved through the Las Colinas resort, ensuring that Saturday would be nothing more than a rest day. When Sunday arrived, conditions had improved, and the game was on. Bjorn was unable to preserve his Friday magic, although he did record a 70 for -8. He finished in a third-place tie with Y.E. Yang.

David Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship victor, presented Sunday’s low round, and moved to 10-under par. Toms made one mistake on the day. He lived in the rough on the 9th hole, ultimately making bogey. The rest of the day was immaculate, as seven birdies came his way, resulting in a six-under par 65. Only one golfer was able to surpass Toms, and that was Paul Broadhurst.

Broadhurst nearly matched Toms for daily honors. His mistake came early, with bogey at the second. He bounced back with eagle at the third, and added three more birdies for 66 and 11-under par. Over his first three seasons on the Tour Champions, Broadhurst won five times, including two major titles. His fifth win came in 2018, making this win his first in six years. A long time coming, for sure, but well earned.

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