Creamer Cruising in Alabama

By Associated PressNovember 9, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Mitchell Co. Tournament of ChampionsMOBILE, Ala. -- After making birdies on her final seven holes Thursday, Paula Creamer remained hot on Friday as she posted a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to move five strokes clear of the field after two rounds of the LPGA Tournament of Champions.
Creamer completed 36 holes at 12-under-par 132. She holds the 36-hole lead for the seventh time in her tour career and all three of her wins came when she led after two rounds.
'I am hitting the ball really good and I'm putting good,' said Creamer. 'There is a lot of golf left. But at the same time, I like where I am at. I know people are going to try to go as low as they can the next two days.'
Jin Joo Hong carded a 5-under 67 Friday and is alone in second place at 7-under-par 137. Annika Sorenstam (67) and Pat Hurst (69) share third place at minus-6. Karen Stupples in one stroke further back at 5-under- par 138 after shooting 67 in round two.
Suzann Pettersen, who has won three of her last four starts, incurred a two-stroke penalty on the 13th hole. That cost her a share of third place. Instead of shooting 69, Pettersen posted a 1-under 71 and is alone in sixth at minus-4.
Defending champion and world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa carded a 3-under 69 and is tied for 10th at 1-under-par 143.
Creamer got off to a fast start as she birdied the first to move one ahead of first-round, co-leader Meg Mallon, who struggled to a 10-over 82 Friday.
The 21-year-old Creamer parred the next four on the Magnolia Grove Crossings Course. Her third shot stopped 2 feet from the cup at the par-5 sixth. She kicked that in for birdie and a three-stroke lead.
Creamer birdied the eighth to make the turn at minus-8. Around the turn, she rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt from off the green at the 10th.
She parred four in a row again, before catching fire down the stretch. Creamer stuck her approach within 2 feet at the 15th to set up her fifth birdie of the round.
Creamer made it two in a row as she two-putted for birdie on the par-5 16th. Creamer closed in style as she poured in a birdie effort from 35 feet out at the last to finish five clear of the field.
'I've been playing good, giving myself lots of chances,' Creamer admitted. 'I'm rolling the ball really well with my putter. I'm hitting it pretty close too. The biggest thing on these greens is trying to hit it as close as you can to take the pressure off all of the breaks.
'I've been doing that. When I get into trouble, I've been saving myself, either getting up and down or making good putts.'
Hong flew out of the gate with three straight birdies to jump to minus-5. Her birdie run ended with a bogey on the fourth. Hong recovered that lost stroke with a birdie at the sixth.
The 2006 KOLON-Hana Bank Championship winner birdied the 10th, but gave that stroke back as she bogeyed No. 13. Hong birdied three of four holes from the 14th to move to minus-seven.
'I made a lot of birdies,' Hong said. 'My irons were really good today and my putter was also.'
Sorenstam birdied two of the first three holes. After five consecutive pars, she bogeyed the ninth to make the turn at minus-two. The Swede converted back- to-back birdie putts from the 10th, both from inside five feet. Sorenstam nearly chipped in for eagle at 13, but settled for a tap-in birdie.
She came right back with a birdie on 14. Sorenstam two-putted for birdie on 16 to get to seven-under, but she faltered to a bogey at the next to end six back.
'I hit some good chips today. Thursday I left a few out there and I think this Bermuda grass is so tough, you have to be so precise, so a little practice yesterday helped me out,' stated Sorenstam. 'You need to be quite precise and I had a few good bounces and few good shots and it was a good back nine.'
Birdie Kim, Carin Koch and Wendy Ward share seventh place at 2-under-par 142. Ochoa was joined in 10th by Seon-Hwa Lee, Se Ri Pak and Natalie Gulbis.
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions
  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

    Masters victory

    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

    Man of the people

    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

    Departure from TaylorMade

    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

    Victory at Valderrama

    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.