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Hee Kyung Seo closes in on U.S. Women's Open title

Seo, from South Korea, finishes play at three-under-par 281 in the rain-delayed tournament. So Yeon Ryu is a shot back with three holes to play, while Cristie Kerr is two shots back with two holes left.

July 10, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Hee Kyung Seo tees off at No. 13 during the fourth round of the U.S. Women's Open at Broadmoor on Sunday.
Hee Kyung Seo tees off at No. 13 during the fourth round of the U.S. Women's… (Mark Leffingwell / Reuters )

Hee Kyung Seo has a chance to carve her own special place in history. Not simply as a U.S. Open winner — but as a U.S. Open winner who won it without hitting a single shot on the final day.

In a strange, storm-infested tournament that doesn't want to end, Seo did just about everything she could to win her first major except control the weather. She shot a pair of three-under-par 68s on Sunday to finish at three-under 281 for a one-shot lead over her South Korean rival, So Yeon Ryu, who had three holes left when darkness halted play in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Cristie Kerr was another shot back with two holes left.

Seo will sleep on the lead — though not as comfortably as she could have after missing a three-foot par putt on No. 17 — and then has a chance to wake up Monday, come to the course, never touch a club and walk away with the trophy.

"I can sleep very well, so I don't worry about that," she said.

But she couldn't celebrate quite yet.

Rain delayed play for the fourth time in four days — this time for 2 hours, 37 minutes — and left 28 players still on the course, three of whom are still in range.

There's Ryu, who shot 69 on her first trip around the course Sunday morning and has at least one decent birdie opportunity — the par-five 17th — awaiting Monday morning.

There's Kerr, a two-time major winner who isn't conceding anything. She was getting ready to do an interview after darkness fell when she saw Seo hugging friends and family.

"The tournament is not decided yet," Kerr said. "I think she's over there celebrating. We all have a chance. I'm going to go out and swing for the fences and hopefully tie it up."

Also with an outside chance is Angela Stanford, who is at even par, three shots behind with four holes to play.

PGA Tour

Steve Stricker made a 25-foot putt from off the 18th green to win the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., for the third straight year.

The putt capped a roller coaster afternoon for Stricker, who led by five strokes when he made the turn, fell behind rookie Kyle Stanley by two shots on the back nine, then birdied the final two holes to close with a two-under 69.

Stricker became the 10th different golfer since World War II to win a tournament three straight times. He finished at 22-under 262 to beat Stanley by one stroke.

Stanley kept the lead by salvaging par on 17 after sending his tee shot into a grove of trees, but he missed a 10 1/2 -foot par putt on No. 18 to open the door for Stricker.

Champions Tour

Jeff Sluman shot a two-under 70 and overcame a pair of bogeys on the back nine at Pebble Beach, holding on to win the First Tee Open for the third time.

On a day when most of the leaders struggled just to break even, Sluman had five bogeys and closed with three straight pars to finish at 10-under 206 and seal his first victory since winning the event in 2009. He also took the title at Pebble Beach in 2008, making Sluman the only three-time winner of this event.

Jay Haas entered the final round with a two-stroke lead, but struggled all afternoon and had a 75 to finish in a three-way tie for second. David Eger (72) and Brad Bryant (73) joined Haas at 208, while local favorite Bobby Clampett (74) ended in a five-way tie for fifth.

Defending champion Ted Schulz shot 75 and was tied for 27th at 215.

Scottish Open

Luke Donald enjoyed the perfect warmup for next week's British Open with a flawless nine-under 63 to win the rain-shortened Scottish Open by four strokes, his first victory since becoming the world's top-ranked player in May.

The 33-year-old Englishman started the third and final round a shot behind a trio of leaders but rolled in nine birdies in a majestic bogey-free display at Castle Stuart in Inverness, Scotland.

With only a light wind leaving the links course defenseless, Donald romped home with a winning total of 19 under, ahead of Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed (62).

His eighth professional title — and third this year — didn't just cement his top ranking, which he secured for the first time nearly two months ago by beating compatriot Lee Westwood in a playoff for the BMW PGA Championship in his last appearance in Europe.

It also provided the ideal tonic ahead of the British Open at Royal St. George's starting Thursday, where he'll attempt to land his first major.

Andersson Hed, ranked No. 128, began the third round tied for 44th at five under, but came from nowhere to overhaul a host of forlorn chasers behind Donald. His 10-under 62 was the lowest score of a wet week in Inverness, when Saturday's play was completely washed out — reducing the tournament to 54 holes.

SCGA Amateur

Patrick Cantlay, the NCAA golfer of the year as a freshman at UCLA, continued his outstanding play this summer, winning the Southern California Golf Assn. amateur championship by shooting a final-round five-under 66 to finish at 270 and win by one stroke at San Gabriel Country Club.

Manav Shah, a sophomore at the University of San Diego, finished second.

Cantlay shot a course-record 10-under 60 at the PGA Travelers Championship earlier this summer.

— Eric Sondheimer

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