Having already secured his college future and a spot in the prestigious U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in recent weeks, Albany's Jacob Joiner added another feather in his golfing cap Saturday when he won the 64th annual Future Masters in Dothan, Ala. (Photo courtesy of Art Solomon Photography)
LPGA golfer Korda screams at caddie mid-round, then fires him
NEW YORK — Caddie Jason Gilroyed was getting on LPGA star Jessica Korda’s last nerve.
So she did what any sensible golfer playing in a major would do: She fired him — mid-round.
Korda, 20, was struggling during Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Women’s Open and was 5-over through on the front nine, which was peppered with visible arguments between Korda and Gilroyed. The tension exploded when the duo made the turn, resulting in a shouting match that was captured live on The Golf Channel. Korda then relieved Gilroyed of his duties and handed the bag to her boyfriend and Web.com Tour golfer, Johnny DelPetre.
“Johnny, grab the bag, let’s go,” she said.
Looks like Korda knew best.
She finished the back nine 1-under and was tied for sixth at one over, although she still sat 11 strokes behind leader Inbee Park.
Korda told reporters afterward she’d had enough of Gilroyed’s bad advice.
“It’s a U.S. Open. It’s a big week for me,” she said. “It’s one of the most important weeks for me of the year. I was just not in the right state of mind.”
DOTHAN, Ala. — Bubba Watson. Trevor Immelman. Stewart Cink.
That’s the kind of company Albany amateur golfer Jacob Joiner joined Saturday in Dothan, Ala.
Joiner, the 17-year-old rising golf star who told The Herald on Wednesday he has already committed to Georgia Tech, capped an amazing week when he won the 64th Press Thornton Future Masters — an event won years ago by now-major champions Watson (1996), Immelman (1998) and Cink (1990).
It’s just the latest accolade for Joiner, who secured a spot in the coveted U.S. Junior Amateur Championship on Monday by tying for first place after a qualifier in Athens. The top four advanced to the tournament, which will begin July 22 in Truckee, Calif.
Park closes in on third straight LPGA major, history
NEW YORK — South Korean golfer Inbee Park forged to a four-shot lead after the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club in New York on Saturday, giving her the chance to win the first three major championships of the year.
Park fired a one-under 71 in the third round, the only player in the field to post a sub-par round in red figures in difficult winds, to move to 10-under 206, four shots clear of compatriot I.K. Kim (73) at six-under 210.
England’s Jodi Ewart-Shadoff (74) appears the only other legitimate challenger at three-under with Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon (73) and American Angela Stanford (74) the only other players under par, nine off the pace at one-under in a tie for fourth.
“The wind was a bit stronger than (Friday), so the conditions were tough.” Park said. “The pin positions were tough, a lot of long irons hitting into the greens.
“It was just a very tough day, but I think I battled it really good out there.
“I had my tough times in the middle but ended up finishing very good, so I’m happy with that.”
The 24-year-old Park is keeping the dream of a grand slam alive having already won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Championship earlier this year.
Should she prevail, she will not only claim a fourth major but will be just the second LPGA Tour player in history to win the first three majors in a season.
Mildred (Babe) Didrikson Zaharias won all three majors played in 1950, the Titleholders Championship, the Women’s Western Open and the U.S. Women’s Open.
“It’s tough not to think about it … I just try to think that’s not a big deal,” Park said. “If I want to do it so much, it’s just so tough and it puts too much pressure on you. I try to not think about it so much.”
Park would be just the fourth woman to win three majors in a calendar year, joining Zaharias, Mickey Wright (1961) and Pat Bradley (1986).
Only Ben Hogan (1953) has won the first three majors of the year in the professional era of men’s golf and prior to that only Bob Jones has won what is considered the grand slam.
Jones won the U.S. and British Amateurs and U.S. and British Opens in 1930.
FOUR-WAY TIE AT AT&T NATIONAL: A tumultuous day at the AT&T National ended with a four-way tie for the lead heading into Sunday’s final round at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
Roberto Castro chipped in from 80 feet after hitting his approach into the water to save par at the 18th and complete a 71 to join the group at seven-under-par 206 along with Andres Romero of Argentina, and Americans Bill Haas and James Driscoll.
Long-hitting Jason Kokrak, who powered a 349-yard drive at 18 on his way to finishing a 70 for 207, one stroke better than Tom Gillis and South Korea’s Charlie Wi.
Wi made nine birdies, including seven on the front nine, on his way to a 65.
On a long, hot day for many players, who had to come in early on Saturday to finish their weather-interrupted second rounds, there were dramatic swings on the leaderboard at the long, rough-lined layout where numerous pins were placed on the edge of trouble.
Haas had nine birdies and only five pars in a three-under 68 that included a triple bogey and three other bogeys.
“Certainly, could have been a 6, 7, 8-under day,” Haas said. “But it also could have been a 4, 5, 6-over day if I hadn’t putted well.”
Jordan Spieth, a 19-year-old who began the round sharing the lead with Castro, took an early two-shot advantage after opening the round with two birdies to reach nine under par before he slipped back to four under, three strokes off the pace.
Because of a threat of poor weather today, players will again go off both tees in groups of three beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the final groups teeing off two hours later.