Can Lorena Come Back

By Associated PressMay 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 SemGroup ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Lorena Ochoa felt helpless as too many shots ballooned into relentless gusts that reached 36 mph Thursday, sending her to only her second round over par this year.
 
Stranger still was listening to her describe a 2-over 73 at the SemGroup Championship.
 
I managed to finish with a good score, she said.
 
On a wind-blown day that yielded only four rounds under par, Ochoa took some measure of satisfaction by not letting the leaders get too far away in her quest for a record-tying fifth consecutive victory on the LPGA Tour.
 
Hee Young Park held it together in Oklahomas notorious wind with a 2-under 69 on a tough day for everyone at Cedar Ridge.
 
Two other subpar rounds came from Ochoas group'Paula Creamer and defending champion Mi Hyun Kim, each with 70 in rounds that looked nothing alike. One of the shorter hitters on tour, Kim hit 23 metal clubs, almost as often as she used her putter (30).
 
Ji Young Oh also had a 70, the only subpar round from the morning batch, when the wind was just as strong.
 
Ochoa couldnt join them.
 
On a day that Time magazine listed her as one of the 100 influential people in the world, Ochoa had no influence on the wind. And it didnt help that her hands were too quick, sending her shots high into the air where the gusts knocked her ball every which way.
 
With a sand wedge, she went 80 feet over the flag and over the green. A tee shot drifted well left of a par 3 and down the slope. A drive went so far left that she was nearly in the next fairway.
 
Ochoa atoned for those mistakes with a 5-wood from 223 yards to 2 feet for eagle on her 10th hole, the par-5 first, and this was one day she had few complaints about a round over par.
 
Im OK, she said. Im not too far from the leaders.
 
Indeed, she was only four shots behind. The only tournament she failed to win this year, the MasterCard Classic in Mexico, Ochoa opened with a 76 and tied for seventh. But she was nine shots behind after the first round, and that tournament was only 54 holes.
 
Its just a start, she said. We have three days to go.
 
And the 26-year-old Mexican was satisfied walking off her final hole with a par, looking up at a leaderboard that still included her name, even if she had to wait for the screen to scroll down a few pages.
 
I think I was tied for 15th. Thats fine, she said. Now its time to catch up.
 
Lost in the hoopla of Ochoa trying to join Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam with five straight victories was an even-par 70 by Vicky Hurst, the 17-year-old from Melbourne, Fla., who last week won on the Duramed Futures Tour.
 
Hurst, who received a sponsors exemption, made five birdies against five bogeys, with a caddie she hired only Thursday morning, sparing her mother from having to lug around her clubs.
 
Ill take that every day, said Hurst, who graduates high school in two weeks.
 
The group at 1-over 72 included U.S. Womens Open champion Cristie Kerr, despite three bogeys over the final five holes, and seven-time major champion Juli Inkster, the runner-up last year at Cedar Ridge.
 
Beth Bader was tied for the lead until closing with three straight bogeys for a 72.
 
Those scores felt much lower on such a blustery day, with flags crackling in the wind before sunrise, relentless throughout the day. The scoring average was 76.8, compared with 73.5 a year ago when 21 players broke par in the first round.
 
This is the eighth year of the LPGA Tour event in Tulsa, and along with the PGA Championship last year and the 2001 U.S. Open, tournaments have managed to escape the wind so infamous in these parts.
 
But there was no hiding Thursday, and there is not expected to be much relief the rest of the way.
 
Twenty-nine players failed to break 80, a list that included Morgan Pressel (80) and Louise Friberg (81), the only other player this year to win a tournament Ochoa entered.
 
You cant quit, Creamer said. You have to be out there, mentally prepared, and be able to hit all kinds of golf shots.
 
Creamer did just that on the par-3 sixth, with a 7-iron that stopped 6 feet behind the hole for a birdie that momentarily tied her for the lead. She did not recall the yardage, and it really didnt matter. It was a feel shot, and it was that kind of day for everyone.
 
Creamer finished with consecutive bogeys, a three-putt from 80 feet and a tough chip with her feet in the bunker, and ball at her knees. It was a bitter way to end the round, but she knew it could have been worse. Creamer made three putts from outside 10 feet on her front nine, two for par and one for bogey.
 
Going out there, I said if I shot even par I would be in a good spot, she said. And I finished 1 under.
 
That put her one off the lead, and three shots ahead of Ochoa, who didnt seem the least bit bothered. Ochoa was quick with her hands, making it difficult to control her trajectory, and thats never good in these conditions.
 
Im going to work on that, she said. I should be in good shape tomorrow. Being three or four shots out of the lead, youre in good shape. This is an up-and-down week, a lot of movement (on the leaderboard). Im plus 2, and I still have three more rounds to go.
 
Divots:
Stacy Prammansudh had to withdraw with the flu, a big blow to an LPGA Tour winner who went to college at Tulsa and lives in Broken Arrow. Ochoa has failed to break par her last three rounds at Cedar Ridge.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.