All Tied Up after Day 1 of Lexus Cup

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2006, 5:00 pm
SINGAPORE -- Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch beat Joo Mi Kim and Sakura Yokomine 3 and 2 on Friday in alternate-shot play to help the International team tie Asia 3-3 after the first round of the Lexus Cup.
Sorenstam and Koch overcame an early two-hole deficit to beat Kim and Yokomine on Tanah Merah Country Club's renovated Garden Course.
'I know Carin really well,' Sorenstam said. 'We grew up together and played a lot of amateur golf together, so today was a perfect pairing.'
The Swedes also have played well together in the Solheim Cup.
'It's a nice security to know that she's going to hit the next shot,' Koch said.
Sorenstam and Grace Park are serving as playing captains.
'All in all, I think all my girls are very happy, very pleased with the result,' said Park, one of nine South Koreans in Asia's lineup.
The teams will play six best-ball matches Saturday and the LPGA Tour-sanctioned event will conclude Sunday with 12 singles matches.
'The Asians played very, very well,' Sorenstam said. 'We had some tough matches coming down to the 18th and it could have gone either way, really. I think that it makes for an exciting Saturday and exciting cup to have the teams so close.'
Young stars Julieta Granada and Morgan Pressel gave the International team another full point, beating Se Ri Pak and Hee-Won Han 4 and 3.
The 19-year-old Pressel ended the match with a spectacular eagle on the par-5 15th, holing out from 122 yards with a 9-iron shot that spun halfway around the cup.
'I had just said to Julieta before, 'Let's end this match on this hole! Let's win this hole!'' Pressel said. 'I didn't make her putt. She was happy.'
The 20-year-old Granada, from Paraguay, earned a spot in the event last month with her $1 million victory in the LPGA Tour's season-ending ADT Championship.
Jee Young Lee and Meena Lee had a big comeback for Asia, overcoming a four-hole deficit at the turn to beat Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer 2-up.
'We had quite a momentum shift,' Gulbis said. 'As a team, we were probably 1 under for the day, which is pretty good, alternate shot, but we were pretty disappointed to lose that match. It was a pretty big match for us to lose.'
The South Korean duo took advantage of Jee Young Lee's power game.
'When it came to Jee Young and Paula and they were teeing off against each other, Jee Young has about a 50-yard advantage over Paula,' Meena Lee said. 'On some of the longer holes, we had more birdie chances, so we just stuck with it.
'They started missing a couple of shots here and there and that's when we started picking up our game a little bit. They seemed to get frustrated a little bit. We went on and had a good rhythm after that and it turned out well.
Seon Hwa Lee and Young Kim also earned a point for Asia, routing long-hitters Brittany Lincicome and Laura Davies 6 and 5.
Two matches ended in ties. International players Angela Stanford and Stacy Prammanasudh halved with Grace Park and Shi Hyun Ahn, and Asia's Candie Kung and Jennifer Rosales tied Sherri Steinhauer and Nikki Campbell.
If the teams finish in a tie Sunday, Sorenstam and Park will have a sudden-death playoff to determine the winner. The winning team members will each receive $50,000, and the losers will get $30,000.
Last year, the International team won the inaugural matches 16-8.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.