Defending champ Henderson leads by 2 in Portland

By Associated PressJuly 1, 2016, 2:28 am

PORTLAND, Ore. - Defending champion Brooke Henderson shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic on Thursday.

Picking up where she left off from a year ago, when Henderson shot a 21-under 267 to win her first LPGA tournament, the 18-year-old Canadian hit 16 greens and made nine birdies on a warm, cloudless day at the 6,476-yard Columbia Edgewater course.

Henderson said a combination of factors allows her to feel at home at Columbia Edgewater.

''I love tree-lined courses, and that's very much what this course is. With the bent grass, which is kind of what I grew up on, I really like it. It suits my eye,'' Henderson said. ''Then winning here, that gives me those extra vibes and adrenaline, which I think will help as the week goes on. This golf course, being out here in the Northwest, in the beautiful temperature, I like wearing long sleeves and pants.''

Angela Stanford, Demi Runas and Mariajo Uribe each shot 67 to trail Henderson.

Runas, whose best career finish is a tie for 25th, and Uribe are looking for their first LPGA victories. Stanford lost in a playoff in the 2003 U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge, which has previously played host to the Portland Classic. Uribe and Stanford shot bogey-free rounds.

Stanford, who tied for fourth last week in Arkansas, is somewhat of a surprise among the leaders. She hasn't had much success at the Portland Classic, her best finish a tie for eighth in 12 tries.

''Poa annua greens are usually not very friendly to me. It's nice to watch the ball go in the hole here. I haven't always played well here, so I tried to just put that on the back burner and see if I could carry it over from last week, and it did,'' Stanford said.



Carlota Ciganda, Jaye Marie Green, Ayako Uehara and Daniela Iacobelli shot 68. Four strokes back at 69 are No. 18 Suzann Pettersen, Sarah Jane Smith, Lee-Anne Pace, Briana Mao and Jiayi Zhou.

Pettersen is a two-time Portland winner, claiming the 2011 and 2013 tournaments.

No. 15 Anna Nordqvist is among 12 players at 70. No. 9 Stacy Lewis shot even-par 72, as did Austin Ernst, the 2014 Portland champion.

Henderson, starting early in the morning on the back nine, was only 1 under through seven holes. But she birdied three of the next four holes, then finished on fire while playing the front nine, making consecutive birdies on holes 5 through 8. Henderson just missed a fifth consecutive birdie, sliding a 15-foot putt past the left side of the hole at the par-4 ninth.

It was a bogey at the par-4, 391-yard fourth that helped ignite Henderson's string of four consecutive birdies.

''That was a dumb hole ... a hole with my length I could have taken advantage of. The bogey bothered me a little. I knew I had two par-5s coming up, so I tried to focus on them,'' Henderson said.

In her last six rounds at Columbia-Edgewater, counting last year's Monday qualifier, Henderson is 32 under par, all six rounds in the 60s.

Last year, Henderson won the Portland Classic by eight strokes, and became the third-youngest champion in LPGA history. Since winning her maiden event, Henderson has soared to become No. 2-ranked, and two weeks ago won the Women's PGA Championship.

Henderson is attempting to become Portland's first back-to-back champion since Annika Sorenstam won the 2002 and 2003 tournaments.

The Portland Classic is normally played in late August, but moved up because the LPGA is taking three weeks off for the Olympics. The Portland stop is typically popular among the tour's best players, but with the U.S. Open scheduled for next week in California, only 13 of the world's top 50 entered this year.

The Portland Classic is the LPGA's longest-running non-major, now in its 45th year. The purse is $1.3 million, with $195,000 going to the winner.

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


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“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.