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.
 
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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.

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    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.

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    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