Creamer Mallon Lead Early in Alabama

By Associated PressNovember 8, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Mitchell Co. Tournament of ChampionsMOBILE, Ala. -- Paula Creamer birdied the final seven holes for a share of the first-round lead with Meg Mallon on Thursday in the Tournament of Champions, ending Suzann Pettersen's run at the top of the leaderboard at six rounds.
Creamer and Mallon shot 5-under 67s, leaving them two strokes ahead of Pettersen, Natalie Gulbis, Pat Hurst, Mi Hyun Kim and Seon Hwa Lee.
Annika Sorenstam opened with a 71, and defending champion Lorena Ochoa shot a 74 on The Crossing Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Magnolia Grove complex. The event is limited to tournament winners from 2004-07 and active Hall of Famers.
After making the turn at 2 over, Creamer played the back nine in 7-under 29. She began the birdie run with a 15-foot putt on the par-5 13th, then hit 7-iron shots to 5 and 8 feet on 14 and 15. Creamer two-putted from 35 feet on the par-5 16th, hit a 6-iron to 8 feet on the par-3 17th and made another 8-footer on the par-4 18th.
'It's kind of hard to explain because the front nine I had two three putts,' Creamer said. 'I was missing putts left and right. I was joking around with my caddie because this guy had a club out there. He said he found it in the woods and I said, 'Yeah, that's where I wanted to throw my putter right now -- in the woods.'
'Then I go out and I make seven in a row. It was good. You have to hit it close to make a lot of birdies and you have to give yourself the chances for it.'
Creamer tied In-Kyung Kim for the longest birdie streak on the tour this year. Kim birdied the first seven holes in the third round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. The tour record is nine by Beth Daniel in the 1999 Philips Invitational.
'I have done six in a row a lot, but never seven. My first 29, too,' Creamer said. 'Obviously, I have a ton of confidence right now coming off the back nine that I played. I am feeling good.'
Pettersen is coming off consecutive victories in South Korea and Thailand and has won three of her last four starts. She's second behind Ochoa with five LPGA Tour victories this year and earnings of $1,753,309. Entering week, the Norwegian had at least a share of the lead in six straight rounds and nine of 12.
'I had a week off. I feel a little rusty,' Pettersen said. 'I want to get in the groove again, get in the rhythm and play competitive. The good shots are good. I don't quite feel as comfortable with some of my irons, but I'm going to work on that now.'
She eagled the par-4 ninth, holing out from 94 yards.
'I hit a pretty good drive straight down the middle, and I had 94 to the pin, a perfect gap wedge,' Pettersen said. 'I hit it a little bit right. I lost it down to the left and it fell straight down in the hole.'
The 44-year-old Mallon, winless since 2004, matched Creamer with seven birdies and two bogeys.
'Even though I did well today, I felt like I could hit it better,' Mallon said. 'So, I'm going to go out and practice a good bit this afternoon and hit a lot of good balls. Just try to get a good swing groove going so that I can keep that consistency. It's nice to make all of those putts today. I would certainly like to hit it closer the next three days so I have more opportunities, but, you know, it was all cylinders today. It was nice. I must have been inspired. I don't know.'
The start of play was delayed an hour because of frost.
'That extra hour was a huge bonus,' said Mallon, who birdied three of her last four holes. 'I bet it warmed up 15 degrees from the time when I got here to when I could tee off. Fifty degrees as opposed to 35 is a huge difference.'
Ochoa, already the player of the year, has won seven times this season and earned a record $3,337,993. Last year at Magnolia Grove, the Mexican star had weekend rounds of 63 and 65 for a 10-stroke victory and 21-under 267 total, both tournament records.
'I'm a little behind now, but I'll try to play good tomorrow and get back to a good position on the weekend,' Ochoa said.
Sorenstam, sidelined for nearly two months this season by neck and back injuries, is winless since September 2006.
'I thought I played well today,' Sorenstam said. 'I had a lot of good shots, had a lot of opportunities. I don't think I scored as well. I felt really good about my game. I hit a lot of fairways a lot of greens and just had a lot of opportunities.'
Gulbis is making her first appearance in the event after winning the Evian Masters. She teamed with John Elway on Monday to win the ADT Skills.
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions
  • Getty Images

    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. 

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

    Getty Images

    Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:18 am

    All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.

    “I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    “I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”

    Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.

    “This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.

    Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.