Creamer Starts Fast in Florida

By Associated PressApril 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
Stanford International Pro-AmAVENTURA, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam summed up the opening round of the inaugural Stanford International Pro-Am in two words.
 
Silly tough, she said.
 
And thats an assessment from someone only one stroke off the pace.
 
Paula Creamer shot a 3-under 68 Thursday, giving her a share of the lead with Momeko Ueda and Young Kim on a day that turned into a test of endurance more than anything else at windy Turnberry Isle. Only 21 of 111 pros broke par, on a course that was far from easy for the tour players'and downright diabolical for amateurs.
 
I thought it was extremely tough, Sorenstam said. It was way too tough.
 
Sorenstam likened the course to a U.S. Open setup, saying she felt badly for the amateurs, many of whom struggled mightily on a course far tougher than their norm. Yani Tseng had a hamburger and two chocolate chip cookies after nine holes, because she couldnt endure not eating for three more hours. One tee box had four groups waiting at once. And most rounds lasted nearly six hours.
 
It does take a toll on you, Creamer said. I found myself a couple times wandering out there and would have to start my routine over and focus. Theres a lot going on and thats something youre not necessarily used to. Im pleased with how I managed it.
 
With only two bogeys on her card, she should be.
 
Ill take 68 for three more days, Creamer said.
 
Creamer, teaming with tennis star James Blake this week, hasnt finished in the top 20 in any of her last three events, a mini-slump far from typical for the worlds No. 4-ranked woman. But four birdies in a six-hole stretch gave her a shot of momentum, and she ended her round almost expecting to be one shot off Christina Kims lead.
 
That is, until Kim visited the cart path, the water and the sand on the par-5 18th, en route to a triple bogey that sent her to 1 under.
 
Maybe the mafia kind of used these greens to bury a couple people or something, because every hole tends to have a couple of mounds in them, Kim said.
 
Carolina Llano'the final alternate to get into the field'shot a 2-under 69 to be in the logjam one shot off the lead, along with Tseng, Sorenstam, Candie Kung, Kyeong Bae, Meena Lee and South Florida native Cristie Kerr.
 
Kim, Juli Inkster and Mi Hyun Kim were part of another large pack that finished two shots off the triumvirate of leaders.
 
Theres two courses in use this week, the par-71 Soffer layout and the par-70 Miller track, with each team playing those courses once Thursday and Friday. For the third and fourth rounds, only the Soffer course will be used.
 
By then, the pace of play might be a bit more brisk.
 
Also by then, some of the tours bigger names might be home for the weekend.
 
Morgan Pressel and Natalie Gulbis shot 5-over 75s on the Miller course, meaning theyll have work to do to make the cut. Laura Davies shot a 75 on the Soffer track. World No. 8 Jee Young Lee shot a 76. Brittany Lincicome slogged her way to an 80. And Nancy Lopez'making her first start of the year'shot a 91, a round replete with no birdies, four double bogeys and one quadruple bogey.
 
Maybe Lorena Ochoa'the winner each of the previous four weeks on tour' picked a good time to stay home.
 
I actually had a good time today. These guys were very nice, Sorenstam said, talking about the two amateurs in her foursome along with Gulbis. They stayed out the way. They were very courteous. It was just pace of play and when you have pins like that, it just makes it tough. I mean, its not easy. It would be fun if it was a little more friendly for them so they can enjoy it.
 
Chris Higgs, the chief operations officer for the LPGA Tour, said there was a balance between making sure the course setup is worthy of a championship round of golf in an LPGA tournament and one thats suitable for the amateur players as well.
 
Higgs also pointed out that any first-year event tends to have some growing pains.
 
Im never going to question Annika and her opinions on the golf course, Higgs said. Shes one of the greatest golfers to ever play the game. Shes entitled to her opinion.
 
Notes
 
Davies went out in 41, with three bogeys and a double bogey in a six-hole stretch. She atoned a bit on the 157-yard 13th, landing the ball about 15 feet short and having it roll in for an ace. Blake had a pink Nike bag holding his clubs, which he had to use because he lost a previous bet with Creamer, whos known for her predominantly pink wardrobe. Embarrassing, Blake said.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • 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.''