Creamer Ochoa Take on Ward

By Associated PressApril 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Wendy Ward knows what it takes to win the traditionally low-scoring Takefuji Classic.
 
'You have to be more aggressive, for sure. I also think a three-day tournament kind of lends itself to that; you have to get off to a fast start out of the gate,' she said.
 
Ward got off to a fast start last year, shooting an opening 7-under 65 over the Las Vegas Country Club layout. Then she kept it up, with all three rounds in the 60s and a 16-under 200 to win the 54-hole event.
 
Lorena Ochoa finished second at 202, followed by Paula Creamer and Shi Hyun Ahn another shot back in a third-place tie.
 
The 6,550-yard, par-72 Las Vegas layout presents a different kind of challenge for the LPGA players, said Ward, who had 18 birdies and only two bogeys in the 2005 tournament.
 
'This is a fun course because this is a side of golf we don't get to play that often -- the hard, fast conditions,' she said of the course carved out of the desert.
 
She said she usually shoots at flags and the ball holds, but that's not the case on this course.
 
'You almost have to manage yourself better around the course -- running through fairways, going over greens, you've got to calculate that. More thought goes into it,' she said.
 
Ward, who ended a four-year victory drought with her Las Vegas win a year ago, went on to finish in the top 10 in four other events, including a pair of thirds, and ended the season 17th on the money list with $675,129 for her best year since 2001.
 
The Las Vegas win got her rolling.
 
'It's the jump start that kind of kicks everything into gear, where your confidence is like, 'Give me the yardage,' I pull the club, I hit, go up there and knock it in,' the 32-year-old Ward said. 'It's just the mentality and rhythm, like (Phil) Mickelson the last few weeks.
 
'That's fun to watch, but it's also fun to know that I've experienced that and you can just carry it over.'
 
Returning to the site of her only win since 2001 also gives her a confidence boost heading into Thursday's opening round of the event that runs through Saturday.
 
'There is a feeling and a sensation, like 'I'm the champ,' that's who everybody remembers,' Ward said. 'I don't ever think of it that way, but it's fun and it's exciting.
 
'For me, it's like, 'Wendy, it's time to start playing again.''
 
Among Those back to challenge Ward this year is Ochoa, who lost a playoff to Karrie Webb in the Kraft Nabisco championship earlier this month, her second playoff loss of the year.
 
In Las Vegas a year ago, Ochoa shot a 74 the first day, then got it going the next two days with 63-65 to fall just short in her comeback bid.
 
Creamer, with two top-10 finishes in the five events she's played this year, also is back.
 
'I like this golf course a lot. Last year I took third, so I'm feeling very confident with it,' said Creamer, a 19-year-old in her second season on the tour.
 
She's certainly aiming high for 2006.
 
'By the end of the year, I do want to be the No. 1 player in the world. That's a goal of mine,' Creamer said. 'I want to be in contention every week.'
 
Others in the field include 2004 champion Cristie Kerr and 17-year-old In-Bee Park, a Las Vegas resident who will be making her pro debut. She finished fifth in the tournament as an amateur last year and eighth in 2004.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry