Felibert leads LPGA; Feng one shot back

By Associated PressJune 30, 2012, 12:20 am

ROGERS, Ark. – Veronica Felibert left the LPGA Tour event in Canada on Sunday with the intention of trying to qualify Monday for the NW Arkansas Championship.

The rookie from Venezuela and second alternate in the Arkansas tournament later found out she had made the field without needing to qualify.

Felibert made the most of her opportunity Friday, shooting a career-best 6-under 65 to take the first-round lead at Pinnacle Country Club. The former Southern California player had seven birdies and needed only 27 putts.

The round is Felibert's best in five official LPGA starts this season, topping her previous best of 71 in the second round of the Mobile Bay Classic in April. She entered this week No. 723 in the world rankings.

''I'm enjoying it,'' Felibert said. ''It's like a dream to be on top all the time. It's my rookie season, and I was trying to just play the best I could and that's what I'm doing. And as long as I'm enjoying it, I'll be happy.''

China's Shanshan Feng, the LPGA Championship winner this month, was a stroke back and also needed only 27 putts. Feng was tied for the lead at 6 under entering the par-5 18th and reached the fringe in two shots, but a poor chip led to a three-putt and a 5-under 66.

''I would say my chipping has been not very consistent recently, and I haven't got a lot of chance to practice,'' Feng said. ''I would say that one, the green was a little softer than I thought, a little slower going up the hill, and I just didn't give it enough and then it came back.''

Top-ranked Yani Tseng, the two-time defending champion and a three-time winner this year, opened with a 2-over 73, her fifth straight round over par. No. 2 Stacy Lewis, the former University of Arkansas star who has won twice this year, had a 70.

Felibert was among the early starters, completing much of her round before temperatures soared into triple digits. The Venezuelan teed off on the back nine and started quickly, with four birdies in her first seven holes - offsetting her only bogey on the par-4 13th, which played as the toughest hole on the course.

She followed that with a near flawless front nine, making birdies on Nos. 2, 4 and 5. Felibert nearly reached 7 under, but her 15-foot birdie putt on No. 9 – her final hole of the day – just missed to the left.

''I have been working really hard on my putter,'' Felibert said. ''I just switched a week ago, so this will be my second week with the new putter. I'm feeling pretty confident, and I would say that's what made the difference.''

Felibert played on the Symetra Tour the last two seasons, also competing in the U.S. Women's Open in 2010. In her four previous official LPGA events this season, she only made the cut in Mobile – where she tied for 70th and won $2,489.

Felibert found out Sunday evening that she had made the 144-player field this week as an alternate thanks to her 144th spot on the priority list – only after the tour's Hall of Fame player exemptions weren't used. She hit 12 of 13 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation on Friday and said her experiences in college and on the Symetra Tour have prepared her to stay near the top on the weekend.

''Maybe I haven't been in this situation yet on the LPGA, but I've played a few good tournaments last year,'' Felibert said. ''I'm kind of familiar, it's not like I'm all of the sudden in this position.''

Karine Icher, Inbee Park and Mi Jung Hur were two strokes back at 67.

Michelle Wie's season-long struggles continued Thursday with a 1-over 72. Wie has broken par only three times in 22 rounds this year and has made only one cut.

Juli Inkster, making her return to the tour after elbow surgery in January, shot a 7-over 78.

Getty Images

TT postscript: Tiger (E) survives difficult day

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 6:38 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are some observations after watching Tiger Woods’ even-par 70 in the first round of the Honda Classic:

• Whew, that was tough. Like, by far the most difficult conditions Woods has faced this year. The wind blew about 20 mph all day, from different directions, and that affected every part of the game, especially putting.

• And though the stats aren’t necessarily pretty – half the fairways hit, just 10 greens – this was BY FAR his best ball-striking round of the new year. He even said so himself. When he walked off the course, he was just four off the lead.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


• Woods had only one bad hole Thursday. It came on the par-5 third hole, his 12th of the day. He blew his driver into the right bunker. He had to lay way back, to clear the lip of the bunker. And then he tugged his third shot just barely in the greenside trap. And then his bunker shot didn’t get onto the green. Then he chipped on and missed a 4-footer. A truly ugly double bogey.

• The driver is still a concern – he found the fairway only once in five attempts. But only one of those misses was way off-line. That came on the 12th, when he double-crossed one way left.

• Though the driver is uncooperative, he has showed a lot of improvement with his 3-wood. The four times he used it, he controlled the ball flight beautifully and hit it 300-plus. His 2-iron is making a comeback, too, in a big way.



• After this round, he should have a little wiggle room Friday to make the cut, barring a blowup round. It’s playing tough, and the 36-hole cut should be over par. Tiger needs four rounds of competitive reps. If he plays like this Friday, he’ll get them. 

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 5:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


Getty Images

Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

Getty Images

Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13).