Carter leads Lewis, Kerr by 2 in Kia

By Associated PressMarch 29, 2014, 2:10 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Dori Carter might have gotten a bit ahead of herself late in the second round of the Kia Classic. She still left everyone else behind Friday.

After birdieing six of the first seven holes on the back nine, Carter bogeyed the final two holes for an 8-under 64. The round was her lowest in competition and broke the Aviara course record.

Winless in the LPGA, the former University of Mississippi player had 11 birdies and three bogeys. At 10-under 134, she had a two-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Cristie Kerr.

''No matter what happens this weekend, I can't believe I'm here,'' Carter said. ''This is my first time. I mean, this is an experience for me. It's kind of like I can't lose. ... I have no reason to be uptight or anything because this is my first time. I'm OK with that. I'm OK with feeling like no matter what happens.''

She didn't fret about the closing bogeys.

''I'm not even going to sweat that the rest of the day,'' Carter said. ''I'm just so happy right now just to be here in this spot. ... My putting's always been my issue. Today, obviously, putting was fine. So, that's a big confidence boost for me.''


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She tied for 68th in the season-opening event in the Bahamas and tied for 28th in the Women's Australian Open, then played three Symetra Tour events. Last week, she failed to Monday qualify for the Phoenix event, flew to Florida for the Symetra Tour event, then made another cross-country trip to California.

''That's my life,'' Carter said.''

From Valdosta, Ga., Carter made a 35-foot putt on the par-3 third hole for her first birdie, holed a couple of 20-footers, hit close on some holes and holed out from the fringe on the par-4 15th.

''Kind of a fluke,'' Carter said about her birdie on 15. ''The pin was sitting on this little knob on the front left of the green and I hit it in the rough and I had to kind of roll it up to the front. I got my putter, my caddie and I just said, 'Why don't you just putt it.' I was probably like 10 yards short of the green and rolled it all the way in. It went in the hole. ... That was like, 'I can't believe this.'''

Lewis shot 66, and Kerr had a 68.

The third-ranked Lewis had seven birdies and a bogey. She tied for second last week in Phoenix, her fifth runner-up finish since winning the Women's British Open last year.

''It was just a really solid day,'' Lewis said. ''Again, hit the ball really good like I did yesterday and, just the greens were so much better this morning. I mean it was a couple of shots difference, I think, playing in the morning versus the afternoon. Just played a little bit smarter, got on the right side of holes and just hit a lot of good shots.''

She noticed Carter's low round.

''I was surprised actually to see the number she shot,'' Lewis said. ''It's very impressive. You know, it's a hard golf course. You can make a double pretty quick.''

Kerr holed out for eagle on the par-4 first - her 10th hole of the round - and had three birdies and a bogey.

''Couldn't see it go in, unfortunately, but it was a great 7-iron, perfect club,'' Kerr said. ''I just said, 'Get close,' and it went in.''

Former Southern California player Lizette Salas was 7 under after a 68.

''I have my fans out here this week,'' Salas said. ''I've been just so blessed to have the support from my family and my community. I'm just out here having fun.''

Karrie Webb, coming off a victory Sunday in Phoenix in the JTBC Founders Cup, rebounded from an opening 75 with a 68 to move into a tie for 26th at 1 under. The 39-year-old Hall of Famer also won the Women's Australian Open last month.

Kia endorser Michelle Wie also was 1 under after a 71.

DIVOTS: Beatriz Recari, a playoff winner last year, missed the cut by a stroke with rounds of 71 and 76. ... Yani Tseng was tied for 22nd at 2 under after her second straight 71. She won the 2012 tournament for the last of her 15 tour titles and has dropped from first to 46th in the world in a year. ... Sixteen-year-old Lydia Ko also was 2 under after a 68.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x