Gal leads Meijer; Wie forced to withdraw

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2014, 11:44 pm

BELMONT, Mich. – Sandra Gal made six straight birdies on her back nine Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic, while Michelle Wie withdrew because of a wrist injury.

Gal, the 29-year-old German who won her lone LPGA Tour title in 2011, birdied Nos. 3-8 and finished with a par on No. 9 for a 6-under 65 at Blythefield Country Club.

''I was in a zone, I was really relaxed,'' Gal said. ''I was talking a lot to my caddie and to my playing partners, just kind of letting it happen instead of forcing it.''

Wie was 5 over after nine holes when she pulled out. She fought injuries to both wrists in 2007.

''It just started hurting last week and kept getting worse,'' Wie said in the parking lot outside the medical trailer. ''It got to the point where I really couldn't hold a club today. I'm going to try and get an MRI right now and see what my next steps are. So we'll see.''

The U.S. Women's Open winner in June for her second victory of the year, Wie said she hoped to be able to play next week in the LPGA Championship - the fourth major championship of the season.



South Korea's Inbee Park was a stroke behind Gal.

Australia's Katherine Kirk opened with a 67, and Azahara Munoz was another stroke back along with IIhee Lee, Katy Harris, Gerina Piller, Amy Young and Line Vedel.

Second-ranked Lydia Ko, the 17-year-old star coming off a victory in the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio, matched Paula Creamer with a 69, and top-ranked Stacy Lewis shot 70.

Gal played in the morning wave in the LPGA Tour's first regular tournament in Michigan since the Oldsmobile Classic ended its nine-year run in East Lansing in 2000.

Gal said her birdie run, which tied the best string on the tour this season, was a combination of hitting her iron shots inside 10 feet on each of the holes and then making solid putting strokes.

''You have to be on the right side of the hole to have chances at birdies and I was on the front nine,'' she said. ''I like this old-style type course and the greens are perfect. There were no long putts, just solid ones after good iron shots and I hit a couple real close, like 3 or 4 feet. It was a little bit of everything.''

Park has one victory this year after winning six times last season.

''Everything was working really well today, especially the iron shots,'' she said. ''The greens are rolling really well, too. They're rolling really true. I hit a lot of good putts so that's giving me confidence going into the next three days.''

Lewis, who has three wins and 13 top-10 finishes this year, said she played better than she scored.

''I've been working on a few things with my golf swing and was pretty happy actually with the way I hit it - just had a bunch of putts right over the edge,'' Lewis said. ''Overall, pretty happy with it even though the score is not quite what I was looking for.''

Ko had the same issue with putts just missing.

''The golf course is in great shape so the birdies are there to be made,'' she said. ''I just didn't make as many as I would have liked. I really like the way I'm playing, though.''

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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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.