09 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |
Kemp in LPGA contention after caddie switch
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
The decision to invite wife Lisa Cornwell to carry her bag has paid immediate dividends as Sarah Kemp played her way into early contention at the LPGA Tour’s Kroger Queen City Championship in Cincinnati.
A spectacular back nine of five-under 31 saw Kemp sign for a six-under 66 in Round 1, tied for third and just two shots behind leader Xiyu Lin (64).
Fellow Aussie Hannah Green went out in four-under but dropped three shots in her final five holes to post two-under 70, Minjee Lee struggling to a four-over 76 to be tied for 133rd.
Although Lee sits comfortably in the No.1 position on the Race to CME Globe standings, Kemp is currently 100th.
It is a position that comes with pressure to play well as the season winds down, pressure Kemp has sought to counter by putting a friendly face on the bag.
An accomplished player in her own right and a long-time Golf Channel commentator, Cornwell is there not so much for her golf insight but to ensure Kemp is in the right frame of mind for each and every shot.
She has made guest appearances in the role in the past and Kemp hinted that it might be an arrangement they carry through until the end of the year.
“We had a talk and the last couple of events I really wanted someone who I was going to be nothing but comfortable with, so she’s coming out for a few,” Kemp explained.
“She makes me laugh, and that’s the most important thing. That I feel comfortable.
“She says very silly things. We have very much a child-like marriage; we just have so much fun together.
“She’s just out there keeping me calm, keeping it light and making sure I’m having a good time between shots no matter what happens.”
Starting the tournament on the back nine – the only nine she played pre-tournament – Kemp dropped shots at both 17 and 18 to turn in one-under.
Playing the front nine blind in soft conditions that lent itself to aggressive approach shots, Kemp caught fire, making birdies at two, three, six, seven and nine to catapult up the leaderboard.
“My best nine I had no clue. Sometimes that’s a blessing in disguise,” she added.
“You don’t really know where any of the trouble is so you just look straight ahead. I’d seen the back nine and that was it.
“I had a lot of wedges that I hit inside 10 feet and I made them. I don’t think I holed a putt over maybe 16 feet. I hit it really solid, had a lot of good looks and rolled them in.
“I’ve had a bit of an up-and down year. It hasn’t been too bad but I kind of need a good finish to finish out my year and keep my card.
“I’m grinding it out. Even though I’m 100 on the CME list – which is a stressful place to be with not many events left – I surprisingly feel calm and I think Lisa had a really big factor in that today.
“That’s why I wanted to finish the year with somebody like her on the bag because I really want to keep my job. I don’t want to have to go back to Q School.”
It was a return to form too for West Australian Jason Scrivener at the DP World Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II saw play suspended on Thursday afternoon and cancelled for Friday, Scrivener posting a six-under 66 to sit two shots off the lead held by Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood and Andy Sullivan.
Despite starting with a bogey Scrivener quickly righted the ship. He had six birdies in the space of 10 holes thanks to better ball-striking than he displayed in three events at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
“Hit the ball great, which I haven’t been lately,” Scrivener conceded.
“Some really good golf tee-to-green which was nice and holed some really nice putts too.
“(The course) is obviously a lot softer than we usually play it, which is good because I’ve never played well here so I’m kind of happy about it. It’s definitely very scoreable and plenty of birdies out there.”
Adam Scott, Lucas Herbert and Maverick Antcliff all shot three-under 69 while Wade Ormsby was one of the players unable to complete his round, one-over through 12 when play was called.
Brad Kennedy (66, T11) is the best of the Aussies as Round 2 of the Shinhan Donghae Open gets underway in Japan, Travis Smyth (67) a shot further back in a tie for 22nd.
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