Doolan Wins LPGA Season-Opener

By Associated PressMarch 16, 2003, 5:00 pm
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Wendy Doolan sports a golf bag emblazoned with the slogan, ''Anything Is Possible.''
 
The 34-year-old Doolan, who waited tables and fixed poker machines in her native Australia while working her way into professional golf, proved it on Sunday.
 
Doolan shot a 5-under-par 65 in soggy conditions to win the LPGA Tour's season opener by three strokes.
 
''I hadn't felt it until the last six months, but I've tried to believe in that for quite a while,'' she said after capturing her second title, the Welch's-Fry's Championship.
 
Doolan won $120,000 -- nearly half of her 2002 earnings -- with her score of 21-under 259.
 
''I've seen the girls shoot 20-plus under par,'' she said. ''I never knew I was going to do it, but I did it today, and that's something that I feel really good about.''
 
Doolan held up under pressure. She ignored the leaderboard and responded to a discouraging bogey with a birdie on the next hole to blunt charges by Grace Park and Betsy King down the stretch.
 
On the 18th green, she asked her caddie if she needed a birdie to win. He shook his head, and she made a routine par.
 
King carded a 65 to tie third-round leader Lorie Kane (70) at 262.
 
''On 17, I had a 12- or 15-footer that I wimped on,'' King said. ''I haven't been up there for a little while, so my putting stroke today was not as fluid.''
 
Park, derailed by a double bogey on the 17th hole, settled for a 67 and a tie with Christina Kim (70) at 263.
 
Kim, trying to become the first rookie to win her LPGA debut since Beverly Hanson in 1951, also had late bogey problems.
 
Meg Mallon fired a 70 for sole possession of sixth, five shots off the lead.
 
Mallon had a 60 on Friday, the second-lowest round in LPGA play, to lead at the midpoint. But she was only 6-under in the other 54 holes of the tournament.
 
Doolan had a career-low 62 on Friday. And what has commonly happened during her career, another player grabbed the spotlight.
 
But Doolan, whose breakthrough victory came two years ago in Dayton, Ohio, in a five-hole playoff with Wendy Ward, was not to be denied this time.
 
She overcame two bogeys with a seven-birdie effort, starting on the first hole.
 
Doolan dipped to 20-under on No. 14, where her approach shot came up short of the green after a brief pause to put on a sweater during a rain squall. She chipped five feet past the flag and missed the comebacker.
 
Then she responded with a 12-foot, downhill birdie putt on the next hole and parred out while the competition faltered.
 
Kane seemed poised to make a run when she birdied the 16th hole. Instead, she gave Doolan the last bit of breathing room with a bogey on No. 17, falling three shots back.
 
Kane said it was never that close.
 
''My game plan was to birdie the last five holes,'' Kane said. ''I knew I had to make at least three or four to have a chance. And so, standing on 17, I was thinking I needed to make a 1.''
 
Park, who got within one stroke at 19-under on No. 15, took a disastrous double bogey-5 on the 137-yard 17th when her tee shot landed in a bunker and she three-putted from 12 feet after blasting out of the sand.
 
The race was tight at the start, as Kim made up her one-shot deficit on Kane with a birdie on the first hole.
 
By the fourth, though, Doolan got her third straight birdie and took the lead. She also birdied No. 6 to go 20-under and went up by two shots.
 
That lasted long enough for Kim to reach the sixth green, where she rolled in a birdie putt to reach 19-under.
 
Doolan gave back a shot with a bogey on No. 7, but Kim followed suit when her putt from the fringe to save par rolled three feet past the cup, and Doolan went two strokes ahead again with a seven-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole.
 
On the pivotal 12th hole, Doolan got her sixth birdie of the round and went up by three shots when Kim two-putted from 4 1/2 feet and bogeyed.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Welch's Fry's Championship
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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