Defending Champ Loves Low Profile

By Associated PressJune 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Annika Sorenstam is trying to win the Grand Slam, Michelle Wie is long off the tee and on potential. Natalie Gulbis gets attention for her looks and Jill McGill is the hometown favorite.
 
Meg Mallon? The defending champion has spent the week at Cherry Hills Country Club in relative obscurity.
 
Oh sure, she got a nice ovation on the first tee before her practice round Wednesday, but the rest of the morning was spent playing in front about 50 fans while huge galleries followed Wie in the group ahead and Sorenstam across the course.
 
Not that it mattered to Mallon.
 
Unlike Retief Goosen, who said he felt underappreciated as defending champion heading into last week's U.S. Open at Pinehurst, Mallon has enjoyed staying just out of the spotlight's reach.
 
``I don't mind being out of radar,'' she said. ``I am not someone who needs to be in the forefront of things.''
 
It's certainly worked in the past.
 
Mallon didn't play particularly well heading into last year's U.S. Women's Open at Orchards Golf Club in Massachusetts and opened the tournament with a 2-over-par 73. She jumped into contention with a 67 on Saturday, but most of the attention was still on Sorenstam and leader Jennifer Rosales.
 
But after being a bystander to so many moments in history -- Sorenstam's 59, Karrie Webb entering the Hall of Fame, Julie Inkster's career Grand Slam -- Mallon put together the greatest final round in the 60-year history of the U.S. Women's Open.
 
Trailing Rosales by three shots at the start, Mallon shot a 65 and held off Sorenstam by two strokes to win her second Open 13 years after her first -- the longest gap in history.
 
``I love the way I did it last year,'' Mallon said. ``I didn't have to do this (media interviews) until Sunday afternoon. It was a nice way to approach it.''
 
It won't be easy to do it again the way Sorenstam is playing.
 
The Super Swede has won six times in eight starts this year on the LPGA Tour and is halfway to becoming the first player -- male or female -- to win the Grand Slam.
 
She has won the Kraft Nabisco and LPGA championships. The final major is the Women's British Open next month.
 
Her scoring average is an awesome 68.60, she's already earned $1.5 million and she's a step away from becoming the first player to win the first three majors since Ben Hogan in 1953.
 
No wonder Mallon hasn't received much attention.
 
``It's nice to be remembered that you won last year, of course, but obviously with the way Annika's been playing people should be focusing on her,'' Webb said.
 
For Mallon to have a chance, she'll have to straighten out the crooked drives that have plagued her all season.
 
Mallon calls her driver the straightest club in her bag. But she's tied for 79th in driving accuracy this year, hitting just 70 percent of the fairways, and her scoring average has climbed to 72.87 per round -- 44th on the tour.
 
One advantage of hitting it crooked is that Mallon's short game has gotten better. But she knows hitting the ball straight is a must at Cherry Hills, where the fairways are tight and the rough is up to four inches deep.
 
Mallon found a driver she likes on the range Wednesday morning, but it was the 14th one she's tried in the past 10 weeks. If this one doesn't work out, Mallon might just go back to the smaller-headed drivers she used at the beginning of her tour career in 1987.
 
``There's almost too many choices out there,'' she said. ``Technology has screwed up my accuracy for some reason because I used to hit it a lot straighter before these big giant drivers came along.''
 
Related Links:
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.