Gulbis Wins Evian Masters Playoff

By Associated PressJuly 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Evian MastersEVIAN-LES-BAINS, France -- Natalie Gulbis broke through at the Evian Masters, winning her first LPGA Tour title with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Jang Jeong of South Korea on Sunday.
 
Jang and the 24-year-old American finished the fourth round tied at 4-under 284. Gulbis had a final round 70, and Jang birdied the last hole to finish with a 72.
 
Natalie Gulbis
Natalie Gulbis won her first LPGA Tour event in a playoff. (Getty Images)
'Obviously it was meant to be for me,' said Gulbis, in her sixth season on the LPGA Tour. 'Before the playoff, I was very upset at myself because I felt like I had given away this tournament. I thought I needed to get to 7 under to win and I end up at, what, four? Going in today, I never thought that four under would have won this tournament.'
 
Jang, the 2005 Women's British Open champion, birdied three of the last four holes to tie Gulbis.
 
'What does it mean? How long do you have?' Gulbis said. 'I was really close last year when I lost a playoff and coincidentally it was right after the Match Play. It was like deja vu coming off the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship last week.'
 
At the first extra hole, the 18th, Jang missed the green with her second shot, but Gulbis did not.
 
'I usually can't reach that green in two,' Gulbis said. 'I hit a really good drive and hit my rescue club in. It was about 25 feet and I thought the eagle putt was in. Fortunately, it ended about a foot away and I tapped it in. I wouldn't have wanted it to be much farther than that.'
 
Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was one shot behind and tied for third place with Juli Inkster of the United States and Shin Ji-yai of South Korea. Ochoa had six birdies in her closing 68, but dropped a shot at the last hole. Shin finished with a 72.
 
Inkster, the leader by two shots after the first three rounds, finished with a 75. She had three bogeys in the last five holes and three-putted the par-5 18th after reaching the green in two. Had she won, Inkster would have become the oldest player to win an LPGA Tour event.
 
Michelle Wie finished tied for 69th place with a 16-over 304, after a final round 76.
 
Sophie Gustafson was in contention at 4 under until she dropped shots at the 17th and 18th. At the last hole, the Swede hit her second shot into the water hazard guarding the green and finished with 2-under 286.
 
Gulbis started the day four behind Inkster and had birdies at the first, sixth and ninth. Out in 33, she was 5 under and shared the lead with Shin.
 
Also in the hunt at the halfway point were former top-ranked Annika Sorenstam, Gustafson and Inkster, who all made the turn at 4 under.
 
Gulbis, who won $450,000, gave part of the credit for her win to a back injury two months ago that forced her to take a month off and make some adjustments.
 
'I had to change my golf swing because of my injury,' she said. 'I was kind of thinking this might be a blessing in disguise.'
 
Wie pulled her opening shot out of bounds and started with a double-bogey 6. She had bogeys at the third, sixth and seventh -- and a birdie at the fifth where she holed a huge putt of about 70 feet -- to go out in 40. The teenager then battled back with a level par second nine of 36.
 
'I kept my head together,' Wie said. 'It all came down to today and there were a couple of stupid errors out there. I just have to keep the ball in play and use my head more and be patient with myself.'
 
Recovering from a wrist injury, Wie was pleased with the round.
 
'I kept my head on today. I was very proud of myself,' she said.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.