Creamer Leads Ochoa Six Back

By Associated PressMay 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 SemGroup ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Paula Creamer and Lorena Ochoa played together for the first 36 holes at the SemGroup Championship, battling a vicious wind that came from two directions and getting two very different results.
 
Creamer has made enough birdies that another sloppy finish Friday'two bogeys on the final three holes'still left her satisfied. She shot an even-par 71 and was the only player remaining under par at Cedar Ridge, giving her a one-shot lead over Ji Young Oh.
 
Ochoa was six shots behind after a 3-over 74, the first time since the 2006 Womens British Open that she has had two rounds over par in the same tournament. Even more troublesome was that Ochoa, going for her record-tying fifth consecutive LPGA Tour victory, finished the second round without a birdie.
 
It was the first time in more than two years Ochoa played a round without a birdie, and she has gone 26 holes without a birdie or an eagle at Cedar Ridge, surprising for a player who came into this tournament averaging 5.39 birdies a round.
 
I dont know what happened, Ochoa said. I dont feel bad. Its hard to hit the ball close to the hole. I have nobody to blame. I didnt give myself enough birdie chances.
 
Not surprisingly, both players had different reactions to a forecast for less wind on the weekend.
 
Ochoas brown eyes came to life, followed by a smile. Thats good news, she said.
 
Creamer pursed her lips, clearly disappointed. She prefers tough conditions, when there is a premium on par, especially when she has a six-shot cushion over a player who has won six of her last seven tournaments. Told of Ochoas reaction, Creamer laughed.
 
Because she wants to go out and make as many birdies as she can, Creamer said.
 
They both arrived at one conclusion'theres a lot of golf still to be played.
 
Its not over, Ochoa said. Tomorrow is every important.
 
Creamer was at 1-under 141 and will be in the final group with Oh, who shot a 72 in the afternoon as the wind began to subside enough to let standardbearers back on the course.
 
Another big contrast was the duo at 1-over 143'Brittany Lang (71), who hits it a mile, and Leta Lindley (72), who hits it an inch. Lindley lost track of the number of metal clubs she hit in wind so strong she could hear it inside her hotel room.
 
Well, I carry six metals, she said. So theres a good chance Im going to hit one of them.
 
Ai Miyazato (73) was in the group at 144. Na On Min, who challenged at the LPGA Championship last year, had a tournament-best 68 to join the group at 3-over 145 that included Juli Inkster, who finished double bogey-bogey for a 73.
 
If not for her shaky finishes, Creamer might really be in control.
 
The wind came out of the west, with morning temperatures so cool that defending champion Mi Hyun Kim covered her hands with the head covers from her metals. Creamer made three birdies, including a 5-iron from a bunker to 15 feet on the 11th hole, and a 30-foot putt after the wind knocked down her wedge to the par-5 14th.
 
For the second straight day, her most important shot might have been a bogey.
 
Creamer hit a 3-wood for her second shot on the 401-yard fourth hole, which plays uphill and into the wind, over the green and down a slope to a muddy patch of thin grass. She tried a flop shot that came out hot, catching a ridge and going back into the fairway. From just off the green, more than 100 feet away, she putted up to 8 feet and escaped with bogey.
 
Those are bigger putts than birdies out here, Creamer said. Then again, when you get those chances for birdies, you have to be able to capitalize on them, because there arent that many.
 
Ochoa knows that all too well.
 
She had only three birdie putts inside 15 feet, and didnt make any of them. Her best opportunity was on the downwind, par-5 14th, when her 3-wood was just short of a bunker. She pitched too strong, and the ball rolled down a slight ridge to some 20 feet. Ochoa stooped over and clasped the back of her head, and when her birdie putt missed, she gave her thigh a hard, loud slap.
 
The bogeys came from a 7-iron she had to punch low under tree limbs and through the green on No. 3, a hybrid on the tough fourth hole that sailed 20 yards right of the green, and the 18th, when she hooked a tee shot into a bunker, hit a hybrid over the green and followed with a poor chip that didnt even reach the putting surface.
 
Ochoa was asked if she could attack Cedar Ridge in the wind, and she quickly shook her head.
 
Thats why its frustrating, she said. I know I need to make birdies to catch up, but at the same time, its impossible. Im going to be happy, not disappointed. Im not too far from the leaders, and we have two days to go.
 
But with Creamer atop the leaderboard, Ochoa cant afford another poor round if she wants to join Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam in the record books with her fifth straight victory. Of her five victories, Creamer has been a 36-hole leader four times.
 
You can never count on Lorena, Lindley said. Thats not far enough back for me to feel comfortable.
 
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  • 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.


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    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.”


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    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.''