Alfredsson shoots career-best 62 for Sybase lead

By Associated PressMay 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newCLIFTON, N.J. ' Lorena Ochoa is going to have to stage one of the biggest comebacks of her career to win a fourth straight Sybase Classic.
 
Helen Alfredsson jump-started a career-best, 10-under 62 by holing out for eagle from 68 yards on her second hole, and took a two-stroke lead over Brittany Lincicome after the opening round on Thursday.
 
Ochoa, who has won this event at two different courses, was nine shots behind the long-hitting Alfredsson. Besides the eagle, the Swede had nine birdies and a bogey at Upper Montclair Country Club on a cold, damp day punctuated by an intermittent drizzle and chilling breeze.
 
Alfredssons round was the lowest on tour this year, and it left Ochoa with 54 holes to play catch up. Her biggest come-from-behind win was in 2004, when she rallied from five shots down in the final round to win the Wachovia LPGA Classic.
 
Ochoa overcame a four-shot deficit in this event three years ago, when it was played at Wykagyl in New York.
 
I had birdie chances, like on 18, that just didnt go, Ochoa said. But Im happy. Im very good with the speed. I had a couple that got away and had to save par, so I feel good. Tomorrow, maybe, some of them will drop.
 
Only two other women have won the same LPGA event four years in a row. Annika Sorenstam won five straight Mizuno Classics in Japan from 2001-05, and Laura Davies won four straight Standard Register PING titles in Arizona from 1994-97.
 
That doesnt mean No. 1-ranked Ochoa can be written off yet.
 
As far as I know, this is a four-round tournament, said Suzann Pettersen, who was third after a 7-under 65. Thats all I can say.
 
The 44-year-old Alfredsson made the game look easy, hitting fairways and greens all day. After starting on the back nine, the former European Solheim Cup captain eagled No. 11, birdied the 12th and chipped in from the edge of the green on the 13th for another birdie. Even with a bogey on No. 15, she shot 6-under 30 on the back side.
 
Alfredsson also birdied the par-4 first, one of eight birdies from 8 feet or less. She played the four par-5s in 4 under.
 
Anybody, when we play good, you wonder why you dont do this all the time, because its so easy, she said. Its not strenuous, your head is not going crazy, your body doesnt hurt. At my age, all that stuff usually comes along with it. So you dont know why. I just felt that its just one of those days.
 
Lincicome also had one of those days, particularly on the greens. The recent Kraft Nabisco Championship winner needed only 25 putts, holing two 15-footers and a 30-footer. She capped her round by chipping in for eagle from 17 yards at the par-5 18th on the traditional, tree-lined course just outside New York City.
 
Like Alfredsson and Pettersen, Lincicome also is a long hitter.
 
If I can keep it in play and putt well, watch out, said the 23-year-old Floridian, who won the 2006 HSBC Match Play Championship in New Jersey.
 
Lincicome stopped short of saying shes become a Jersey girl, though. The 23-year-old likes fishing, being on the water and driving her pickup truck ' but she doesnt mind driving in the Garden State, either.
 
You can speed, you dont have to use a blinker and theres no cops, she quipped. Knock on wood.
 
Since winning the Nabisco ' her first major ' Lincicome has missed the cut at the Corona Championship and tied for 63rd last week.
 
I really would like to learn how to be like Annika, be like Lorena and be more consistent and be at the top of the leaderboard every week, Lincicome said. That would be nice.
 
Pettersen, who has four top-10 finishes this year, had nine birdies, two bogeys and a nice save on No. 18. She hit her second shot into the water near the green and then chipped to a foot with her fourth before saving par.
 
Pettersen, who lives close to Alfredsson in Orlando, said that the Swede turned her game around last year after overcoming a back injury.
 
She hits more greens than a lot of us, Pettersen said. Shes a streaky player. When she gets hot, shes hot. Obviously she played pretty good today.
 
Ji Young Oh of South Korea was four shots off the lead after a 66, and Karrie Webb, Michelle Wie, Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer were all at 2-under.
 
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  • Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

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    Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

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    But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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    With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

    Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

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