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Paula Creamer Monday qualifies for Women's British Open

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Paula Creamer shoots 68 to Monday qualify for the Women’s British Open in Fife, Scotland. It was her first time Monday-qualifying for the event.

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Fantasy golf expert picks: 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

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Need help with your fantasy-golf lineups for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational? Our fantasy-golf experts are here to help.

From picks to win to DraftKings bargains to players to avoid, here are some options for you to consider:

• • •

Brentley Romine

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. Disappointed at Royal Birkdale, but he has a good record at Firestone, which isn’t surprising considering his ballstriking talent.
  • Also like: Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Paul Casey. Fowler checks all the boxes, while Scott is a past champion here. Also think Casey is playing way too well this year to not have a victory to show for it.
  • Sleeper: Lee Westwood. Sneaky good T-27 at the Open and he had three top-15 finishes in his previous five starts. Get him while he’s feeling good.
  • DraftKings bargain: Satoshi Kodaira, $6,000. Made the cut at the U.S. Open, which is enough to warrant picking him at $6,000, especially knowing you’ll get four rounds out of him (unless he withdraws).
  • Fade: Tyrrell Hatton. Five straight missed cuts. No thanks.

Kevin Casey

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. Will stick with the guy who I picked to win at Birkdale. A T-54 there was disappointing but uncharacteristic. His play has been strong all year, and as his record proves, Firestone is a good track for him.
  • Also like: Adam Scott, Branden Grace and Alex Noren. The Aussie is a past champ and has mostly been in good form this year. Really like what I saw from Grace and Noren at the Open. Grace has also improved here each of the last few years, with a T-10 in 2016.
  • Sleeper: Russel
  • DraftKings bargain: Bill Haas, $6,900. His record at Firestone is OK, but Haas has been solid for months up until a missed cut at the Open. He’s in good form and a high finish is right around the corner.
  • Fade: Thomas Pieters. He’s been hot and cold of late, and don’t love his game for Firestone.

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Report: Rory McIlroy will have best man on bag for WGC-Bridgestone, PGA

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With two of the year’s biggest tournaments in as many weeks and suddenly in need of a caddie, Rory McIlroy will reportedly call on the services of his best man.

According to a Telegraph report, McIlroy will have friend Harry Diamond on his bag for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone and next week’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. The decision comes after Monday’s news that McIlroy had reportedly split with longtime caddie J.P. Fitzgerald.

McIlroy and Fitzgerald had been together for nine years, nearly McIlroy’s entire pro career to date, including all four of McIlroy’s major victories. Their last tournament together was the British Open two weeks ago at Royal Birkdale, where McIlroy tied for fourth after crediting Fitzgerald for spurring him on after a 4-over start through six holes.

 

McIlroy and Diamond have been friends since childhood and grew up together in Holywood, Northern Ireland. He was the best man at McIlroy’s wedding to Erica Stoll in April. Diamond also caddied for McIlroy at the 2005 Irish Open and the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links.

It is unknown if Diamond will be a long-term caddie solution for McIlroy. Tommy Fleetwood has shown success this year with his best friend, Ian Finnis, on the bag. However, Diamond is a successful businessman, according to the Telegraph, owning and managing a number of pubs and clubs in Belfast.

The world’s fourth-ranked player, McIlroy is scheduled to address the media at 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday at Firestone Country Club. McIlroy’s management said McIlroy will not address his caddie situation until then.

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Paula Creamer Monday qualifies for Ricoh Women's British Open

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The streak is intact, even if it took a little extra effort.

Paula Creamer fired a 4-under 68 Monday in final qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at The Castle Course in St. Andrews to earn a spot into the field.

The Monday qualifier featured 111 players vying for 22 spots into the field at Kingsbarns Golf Links. Creamer showed little nerves, as her 68 allowed her to find the early clubhouse lead. That score would end up earning her joint second for the day – more than enough to pass through.

Creamer, 30, has played in every Ricoh Women’s British Open, which will take place from Aug. 3-6, since 2005, the year she turned professional. That streak of 12 straight starts was in jeopardy until Creamer’s successful stab at qualifying Monday.

Creamer, a 10-time LPGA winner, has finished solo or joint third twice at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and possesses four total top 10s at the event. Her recent form had been suspect, Creamer had missed four of five cuts, but she then produced a T-13 showing at last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.

Ursula Wikstrom led all players in the qualifier with a 5-under 67. Tiffany Joh (68) and Laura Davies (70) were other notables to qualify.

Davies made it through a 14-for-11 playoff to earn her spot.

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WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Golf Digest Tournament Predictions and Analysis

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WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Golf Digest Tournament Predictions and Analysis for this week’s PGA Tour event

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England's Alfie Plant, Harry Ellis headline GB&I Walker Cup contenders

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Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the July 31 digital issue of Golfweek Magazine.

SOUTHPORT, England – When Great Britain and Ireland’s Walker Cup squad arrives at Los Angeles Country Club in September, it likely will be led by two Englishmen who have performed brilliantly this summer, individually and as a duo.

Alfie Plant and Harry Ellis are two of their region’s top amateurs. Plant captured low-amateur honors at the British Open at Royal Birkdale and won the European Amateur in early July. Ellis won this summer’s British Amateur, a victory that earned him spots in the British Open (he missed the cut) as well as next year’s Masters and U.S. Open.

Together, the two combined to go 3-0 in foursomes to help England finish runner-up at the European Amateur Team Championship in Austria. They added three more singles points between them, while Plant tied for second in the stroke-play portion and Ellis was T-8.

“I played in the Palmer Cup, so I know most of the guys that are going to be on the U.S. team. They’re going to have a very good team, but there’s no reason why we can’t go over there and do a job,” said Ellis, 21, a rising senior at Florida State. “… Alfie’s played great, as well, and depending on his selection – obviously, we had a great run last week in the foursomes at European Team – hopefully we’ll be a pairing (at the Walker Cup), as well.”

While Plant’s father, Darren, believes “without a doubt” that his son will represent GB&I in the Sept. 9-10 matches at LACC, Plant doesn’t want to make assumptions.

“You try and put yourself in selector’s shoes, and you don’t ever want to say you’re in it,” said Plant, 25. “I think if you always say you’re out of it, you’re always going to try to get better results and push forward.”

It is expected that GB&I captain Craig Watson will announce his 10-man squad Aug. 21. The selectors committee includes chairman Andy Ingram, as well as Michael Burns and three-time Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards, all of whom attended a dinner with several team candidates before the Lytham Trophy in May.

Ellis and Plant shouldn’t have to worry. Their inclusion on the team is all but a certainty. Others such as England’s Scott Gregory, last year’s British Amateur champ, and Wales’ David Boote, who played four years at Stanford, are part of a competitive race for the final eight spots.

The English, Scottish and Welsh amateur championships are set for early August, while the Irish Amateur this year will be contested after the Walker Cup team is finalized. Ellis, Plant, Gregory, Boote, Scotland’s Connor Syme and Robert MacIntyre, and Ireland’s Stuart Grehan are all exempt into the U.S. Amateur at Riviera. England’s Jack Singh Brar qualified for the U.S. Amateur, as well.

“If it was done on world rankings, I am third in terms of Great Britain and Ireland players at the moment, so hopefully that helps,” said Syme, who missed the cut at Royal Birkdale. “But you never know. It’s a team pick and hopefully I am the right fit.”

• • •

The GB&I Walker Cup contenders: By the rankings

Here is a look at 20 top contenders for the 10 spots on the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland team for the Walker Cup on Sept. 9-10 at Los Angeles Country Club, listed in order of average rank between World Amateur Golf Ranking and Scratch Players ranking:

Player Hometown WAGR SPR AVG
Connor Syme Drumoig, Scotland 11 13 12
Robert MacIntyre Oban, Scotland 8 31 19.5
David Boote Kingswood, Wales 27 27 27
Alfie Plant Kent, England 26 34 30
Matthew Jordan Hoylake, England 46 19 32.5
Scott Gregory Hampshire, England 5 68 36.5
Craig Howie Peebles, Scotland 50 44 47
Paul McBride Dublin, Ireland 53 51 52
Jack Singh Brar Romsey, England 83 26 54.5
Liam Johnston Dumfries, Scotland 87 32 59.5
Jack Davidson Newport, Wales 52 74 63
Harry Ellis Southampton, England 90 47 68.5
John-Ross Galbraith Antrim, Ireland 95 60 77.5
Stuart Grehan Tullamore, Ireland 55 111 83
Robin Dawson Faithlegg, Ireland 122 62 92
Daniel Brown Bedale, England 84 104 94
Gian-Marco Petrozzi Stoke-on-Trent, England 120 86 103
Harry Hall Hayle, England 101 114 107.5
Sandy Scott Naim, Scotland 167 83 125
Craig Ross Glasgow, Scotland 102 178 140

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Fantasy golf rankings: 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

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It’s time for the final World Golf Championships event of the season: the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Firestone Country Club’s South Course will once again play host to the top players in the world. The par-70 layout is traditionally one of the most challenging on Tour with its tree-lined fairways and complex bunkering around the greens.

Look for players who score well on par 4s and avoid bogeys, as well as players with strong tee-to-green stats. Long-hitters are thought to have the advantage here as the course plays over 7,400 yards, but shorter hitters have done well by hitting fairways.

Also, I like the guys that hit their long-irons well this week, so look at greens in regulation and proximity stats from 200 yards and out.

Remember: this is a no-cut event, so for daily fantasy purposes you need guys who are going to score.

Here are my top 25 fantasy-golf options for this year’s WGC-Bridgestone:

1. Jordan Spieth: Looking for a third straight victory this season. Finished 49th in Bridgestone debut in 2014, but T-10 and T-3 in two starts since. Ranks first in par-4 scoring, sixth in bogey avoidance and seventh in SGTTG.

2. Dustin Johnson: Defending champion but nothing better than 15th in six previous starts at Firestone prior to last year. Bounced back from poor British Open final round to tie for eighth in Canada. Still leads Tour in strokes gained-tee to green, and ranks fifth in bogey avoidance, T-7 in GIR from 200-plus yards and T-11 in par-4 scoring.

3. Justin Rose: Was T-48 last year at Firestone, but cracked top 4 in 2014 and ’15. Owns three other top 5s in this event, though one was at Sahalee, in 2002. Just one top 10 in five worldwide starts since runner-up at the Masters. Ranks sixth in GIR from 200-plus yards, T-11 in par-4 scoring and 14th in SGTTG.

4. Rory McIlroy: Recent caddie switch hurts his stock this week. T-4 at Open ended his skid of two straight MCs. Hasn’t played Firestone since winning in 2014. Boasts three other top 10s here.

Rickie Fowler (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

5. Rickie Fowler: Four top 10s in last six worldwide starts, and T-22 at Open in his last start. In six career trips to Firestone, he has four top 10s, including three straight entering this year and a T-2 in 2011. Ranks third in SGP, 11th in SGTTG and 13th in bogey avoidance.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: T-14 in each of the last two weeks since T-2 at U.S. Open. However, Firestone has had his number, as he’s finished outside top 20 in three of four starts here with no top 10s. Ranks T-2 in par-4 scoring, seventh in bogey avoidance and eighth in SGTTG.

7. Jon Rahm: Followed Irish Open win with T-44 showing at Royal Birkdale. Making Bridgestone debut, but game appears suited for Firestone. Ranks second in SGTTG, fourth in par-4 scoring and 20th in bogey avoidance.

8. Jason Day: Showed glimpses with T-27 finish at Open, which snapped streak of two straight MCs. Ballstriking stats down this year, but he does rank 25th in GIR from 200-plus yards. Finished T-3 last year at Firestone, his third top 12 here since 2011, when he was T-4. Wouldn’t be surprising if he ended struggles in his home state.

9. Adam Scott: Has played this event every year since 2003, posting a win (2011) and five other top-14 finishes. Just one top 10 in last five worldwide starts, but a respectable T-22 at Open. Ranks 17th in SGTTG.

10. Brooks Koepka: T-6 in Bridgestone debut, in 2015. Last two starts have been majors, as he won the U.S. Open and then tied for sixth at Birkdale. Length will be big asset this week.

11. Sergio Garcia: In 15 career trips to Firestone, he’s failed to finish better than T-20 in 11 of those. Did finish runner-up to McIlroy in 2014. His T-37 at Birkdale was his worst finish since a T-49 at the Genesis Open in February. Ranks third in SGTTG, T-11 in par-4 scoring and 15th in bogey avoidance. Coming off getting married this past weekend.

12. Paul Casey: In last eight worldwide starts, he owns six top 12s, including T-11 at Open. Two tops at Firestone, but none since 2008. Has gone T-17 and T-16 the last two years here. Ranks third in bogey avoidance, T-5 in par-4 scoring and ninth in SGTTG.

13. Matt Kuchar: This will be his fourth straight week playing, and he battled dizziness en route to a T-33 showing in Canada. Six straight top-16 finishes before that, including runner-up at Open. In last seven Bridgestone starts, he hasn’t finished worse than T-27 while posting four top 12s, including a T-3 showing last year. Ranks 10th in bogey avoidance, T-19 in par-4 scoring and 20th in SGTTG.

14. Henrik Stenson: Turning things around as he’s cracked top 16 in four of his last seven starts, including a T-11 at the Open, and finished T-26 or better in six of those starts. Has finishes of T-6 and T-2 in last three trips to Firestone.

Marc Leishman

Marc Leishman (Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)

15. Marc Leishman: Third here in 2014, but nothing better than T-33 in three other starts. Form is great, as he has two straight top-6 finishes, at the Open and Quicken Loans, and five top-17 finishes in his last seven starts. Ranks T-18 in bogey avoidance, T-19 in par-4 scoring, and 20th in SGTTG and GIR from 200-plus yards.

16. Branden Grace: T-6 at the Open was his fifth top 15 in his last seven starts worldwide. Not the most accurate off the tee, but a decent record here – T-10, T-17, T-23 in last three trips to Firestone.

17. Tommy Fleetwood: Rallied for a T-27 finish at the Open, but still snapped a string of four straight top 10s, including a win in France. Nearly won a WGC in Mexico earlier this year, but this is his first trip to Firestone.

18. Jason Dufner: Top 10s in first two trips to Firestone, but outside top 50 in last two since. T-14 at Open snapped a streak where he missed three cuts and won once in four events. Ranks T-5 in par-4 scoring and 24th in SGTTG.

19. Daniel Berger: Withdrew after one shot in his Bridgestone debut last year. Has three top 5s in last five worldwide starts, including a win in Memphis and a runner-up at Travelers. Ranks T-19 in par-4 scoring and 29th in SGTTG. Also has risen to 14th in SGP.

20. Alex Noren: Cracked top 15 in five of last seven worldwide starts with two MCs. That streak includes a win at the BMW PGA and a T-6 at the Open. Good ballstriker who can score, but T-53 in both his starts at Firestone, in 2010 and ’11.

21. Justin Thomas: Three straight missed cuts isn’t a great sign, and he was T-33 here a year ago, though that was with a closing 76. Ranks T-2 in par-4 scoring and 18th in SGTTG, and he has the length.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

22. Rafa Cabrera-Bello: Isn’t the type of ballstriker that this course demands, but he does lead the Tour in SGP and is great around the greens – and he does keep it in play off the tee fairly well. Plus, he has a win and T-4 in his last two worldwide starts. This will be his Bridgestone debut.

23. Kevin Chappell: T-3 in Bridgestone debut last year. Coming off T-8 finish at Canadian Open. Ranks 31st in SGTTG.

24. Charl Schwartzel: Lots of experience at Firestone with two top-7 showings in his last three trips, including T-7 last year. T-12 last time out at the Porsche European Open. Ranks seventh in SGP, but has struggled off the tee this season.

25. Charley Hoffman: Coming off a P-2 in Canada and has three top 8s in last five starts, though has nothing better than T-22 in four trips to Firestone. Ranks T-19 in par-4 scoring and 27th in SGTTG.

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Brandt Snedeker withdraws from WGC-Bridgestone due to injury

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Brandt Snedeker’s issues continue and that means another week away from competitive golf.

As Golf Channel reports, Snedeker has withdrawn from this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as he continues to nurse an ongoing injury to his sternum joint.

Snedeker, 34, withdrew from the British Open due to a rib injury and planned to have an MRI upon his return to Nashville. He would also bow out of the RBC Canadian Open.

Per Snedeker’s manager, doctors informed the golfer that acute arthritis in the sternum joint had caused the pain that had forced him to withdraw from those tournaments. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection last Monday but pain returned when he hit balls this weekend.

Snedeker remains optimistic he will compete in the PGA Championship, Wyndham Championship and FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Snedeker has four top-10 finishes this season on the PGA Tour and is currently 51st in the FedEx Cup standings.

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Let's review Chris Christie's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer

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Following Chris Christie’s latest outburst at a Cubs fan, it’s official: The New Jersey governor is having the worst summer of all time.

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Lexi now career-high No. 2 ahead of Women's British

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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – American Lexi Thompson moved up one spot to Rolex world No. 2 behind So Yeon Ryu on Monday.

It is Thompson’s highest ranking in her eight-year professional career.

Ryu’s reign at No. 1 has reached six consecutive weeks.

Former world No. 1s Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko both slipped another spot in the rankings this week. Jutanugarn, who is the defending champion at this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, slipped down to No. 3. Ko moved down to No. 5.


Ricoh Women’s British Open: Articles, photos and videos


Ryu and Thompson have been setting the pace on tour since their playoff battle at the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, where Ryu won on the first extra hole. They are also 1-2 in the Rolex Player of the Year race with Ryu out front.

Thompson leads the tour in scoring with a 68.94 average. Annika Sorenstam is the only player in LPGA history to end a year with a scoring average below 69. Sorenstam did it twice, setting the tour record with a 68.6970 mark in 2004.

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