Creamer Extends Lead in Alabama

By Associated PressNovember 10, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Mitchell Co. Tournament of ChampionsMOBILE, Ala. -- Even when things didn't go Paula Creamer's way on Saturday, it ended up fine.
 
For example, she missed the green at the par-4 18th hole at the Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove Golf Course, but chipped in for a birdie from right of the putting surface.
 
'Honestly when I was walking up there, when I looked at it, I thought it was definitely makeable,' acknowledged Creamer. 'I felt like I'm either going to make it, or it's going to be very close.'
 
That birdie gave her a round of 4-under 68 and a commanding six-shot lead through three rounds of the LPGA Tournament of Champions.
 
Creamer finished 54 holes at 16-under-par 200 and is six clear of Pat Hurst, who also shot a 68 on Saturday. Jin Joo Hong posted a 2-under 70 and is alone in third place at minus-nine.
 
Annika Sorenstam carded a 2-under 70 and is tied for fourth place with former U.S. Women's Open champion Birdie Kim (66) and five-time winner this season Suzann Pettersen (68). The trio is knotted at 8-under 208.
 
They will have their work cut out for them if they are to catch Creamer.
 
She collected her first birdie at the par-four fifth, then parred out for an opening nine of 35. The lack of birdies did not hurt Creamer since she made the turn with a five-shot cushion.
 
At the par-four 12th, Creamer ran home a 10-foot birdie putt to extend her lead to six. One hole later, Creamer hit a low second shot at the par-5 hole that ended up as a good lay up down the fairway. Creamer hit her third to 12 feet, but her birdie effort stayed above ground.
 
Creamer recorded her third birdie of the round at the 15th, a hole she has now birdied in every round this week. She failed again to take advantage of a par five, this time the 16th, then missed a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th.
 
With a surging Hurst now within five, Creamer hit a good drive down the 18th fairway. With just a wedge in her hand, Creamer sprayed her approach right of the green. Once again with a wedge, Creamer chipped in to take a six-shot lead into the final round.
 
'I know I can make a lot of birdies out here,' said Creamer, who has three LPGA Tour wins, including this year's SBS Open at Turtle Bay. 'It's just hitting fairways and greens, and kind of making them chase you at the same time. I want to go as low as I can tomorrow.'
 
Six shots is a large margin, but Creamer does not have a great record with the 54-hole lead. Saturday marked the fifth time in her LPGA Tour career that Creamer grabbed a piece of the 54-hole lead, but only once did she make it to the winner's circle.
 
'I really feel that I've played good this week,' said Creamer, who shared second here last year. 'I just need to close it out with one more round.'
 
Hurst tallied only one bogey and eight pars on her front side, but caught fire on the back, starting with a 20-foot birdie putt at 10. She rattled off four consecutive birdies from the 13th, with only one coming from inside 10 feet.
 
Things were not all great for Hurst on Saturday. She had good looks at birdie at both 17 and 18, but Hurst will be in Sunday's final group with Creamer and has not abandoned hope.
 
'Anything can happen,' acknowledged Hurst. 'I lost a tournament to Annika with 10 shots. She's playing well. I have to go out there and do the best I can.'
 
Natalie Gulbis and Seon Hwa Lee both fired rounds of five-under 67 and are tied for seventh place at minus-6.
 
LPGA Player of the Year and defending champion Lorena Ochoa managed a 4- under 68, but is only tied for ninth place with Wendy Ward at 5-under-par 211.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions
  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''