Hull shares lead in Bahamas; Creamer 2 back

By Associated PressJanuary 30, 2016, 1:00 am

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Megan Khang shot a 5-under 68 in strong wind Friday for a share of the lead in the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, her first event as an LPGA Tour member.

The 18-year-old Khang eagled the par-5 fourth hole and had four birdies and a bogey in wind gusting to 30 mph at the Ocean Club to match England's Charley Hull and Japan's Haru Nomura at 8-under 138.

''It was such a grind,'' Khang said. ''To come out with 68 is incredible. Can't wait for the weekend.''

Hull and Nomura each shot 70.

Khang, from Rockland, Massachusetts, tied for sixth at Q-school in December to earn a tour card.

''I think my game's at a good place right now and I definitely think I can hold my own,'' Khang said. ''I was confident in my game. I just didn't know how I was going to play right now being a rookie and under the circumstances. But I'm just having so much fun out here. I just love it out here.''

The 5-foot-1 Khang hits her drives in the 260-yard range.

''Sandra (Gal) was like, 'You hit it pretty far for a little one,''' Khang said. ''I was like, 'You're not the first one to say that.' ... I took it as a compliment.''

The 19-year-old Hull closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th.

''I've never played the golf course with that wind before,'' Hull said. ''It was a completely opposite direction. So, it was good fun to play in that direction. I like it in that direction actually. It was good. Just got to keep patient out there. Obviously, the same for everyone.''



Nomura bogeyed Nos. 14 and 16 after getting to 10 under with a birdie on the 13th.

''Wind is very heavy,'' Nomura said. ''Some holes yesterday downwind, today into the wind.''

Defending champion Sei Young Kim was a stroke back along with Anna Nordqvist, 46-year-old Catriona Matthew and Min Seo Kwak. Kim shot 68, Nordqvist 69, Kwak 70, and Matthew 71.

''Pretty windy today,'' Kim said. ''The greens are a little tough and then a couple holes when I on the putting green, really strong wind, almost 30 mph. Little adjust my stance more wide and just worked today.''

Paula Creamer and Hyo Joo Kim were 6 under. Creamer shot 72, and Hyo Joo Kim 70. Nine under with 5 holes left, Creamer dropped four strokes with a double bogey on 16 and bogeys on 14 and 17 before birdieing the 18th.

''It was howling right to left and I was kind of in between clubs and tried to use the wind and I used it too much and I hooked it too much,'' Creamer said about the double bogey. ''I was aiming literally 35 yards right, but I did too much with my golf swing. I should have hit it a little straighter.''

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a 68 to move up 35 places into a tie for 10th at 5 under.

''I woke up and saw the wind and actually saw it as a good thing,'' Lewis said. ''I knew it was going to be a hard day, but if I could shoot a good number, I could get myself back into contention, which I did. But it was definitely a hard round.''

Cristie Kerr matched the tournament record with a 65 to jump from a tie for 95th after an opening 77 to a tie for 13th at 4 under.

''After yesterday, it wasn't looking good,'' Kerr said. ''It was a very difficult day and I just came out and just did it.''

Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke a day after being stung by a bee on the palm of her right hand. She followed her opening 76 with a 73.

Second-ranked Inbee Park withdrew Thursday because of back pain after an 80, the second-worst round of her LPGA Tour career.

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.