Hurst Park Lead Ochoa Webb Close

By Associated PressOctober 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Longs Drugs ChallengeDANVILLE, California -- Pat Hurst balanced on one leg and pumped her fist after sinking a 20-foot putt from the fringe for eagle on the final hole, giving her a share of the lead in the Longs Drugs Challenge.
The 38-year-old Hurst, clad in lime green from her polo shirt and shorts down to her shoelaces, shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday to tie for the best first-day score with a woman nearly half her age in Inbee Park of South Korea.
World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa was among seven others two strokes back of the leaders after the first 18 holes in this ritzy San Francisco suburb in the East Bay.
'I've been hitting the ball pretty well,' Hurst said. 'I haven't been scoring as well as I'd like and we've been working hard on my game. It's turning around a little bit now. Too bad it's the end of the season, but hopefully it will carry over into the beginning of next season.'
Hurst recovered from a double bogey after she four-putted on No. 11, her second hole of the day, to that exciting eagle on the 505-yard, par-5 ninth in front of her loyal fans who waited around in the chilly, windy conditions to cheer on the Bay Area native. Hurst grew up in nearby San Leandro and is used to the elements and unpredictable weather on the local courses.
If she keeps this up, Hurst might be pushing it to make it on time to her 20th high school reunion Saturday night. The leaders begin their rounds in the afternoon.
While it's been 1 1/2 decades since Hurst used to play at Blackhawk Country Club, having some knowledge of the hilly course certainly helped. She now lives in Arizona.
'My husband's family used to live out here, so we used to play out here quite a bit,' she said. 'It's been a long time, but still you get to know a golf course and the memories come back after you play it a couple of times.'
For Park, putting proved the difference in her opening round. She brought in a friend from their days of junior golf to be her caddie this week.
And Park was thrilled with the job Eric Back did reading the tricky greens -- especially considering she struggled all round with her tee shots.
'He's not a professional caddie, but he's a really good player,' Park said. 'He really helped me reading the breaks.'
Ochoa, trying to win for the fourth time in her last five tournaments and become the first woman to earn $3 million in a single season, shot a 69 and was tied with several others including defending champion Karrie Webb for second place behind the 19-year-old Park.
Park made five birdies and needed only 24 putts, sinking a 40-foot putt on the par-3, 155-yard seventh hole and a 20-footer on No. 12. After finishing her round and grabbing a late lunch, she was headed for the driving range to hit more balls. That extra practice, she hopes, will help her stay around until the final round Sunday.
'I didn't strike the ball well today,' Park said. 'But I putted really great. I made most every putt. It was windy and a really tough course to walk. But I'm in good shape. ... So far so good.'
Ochoa was happy to be on the leaderboard after Day 1, something she strives for in each event she plays.
The 25-year-old Ochoa tied for third in the inaugural Navistar LPGA Classic last weekend in Prattville, Ala., behind winner Maria Hjorth and Stacy Prammanasudh. That ended Ochoa's run of three straight tour victories -- and her chance at becoming the first to win four straight events since Annika Sorenstam did it in 2004-05.
Prammanasudh was another who had a 69 on Thursday.
'I'm going to play in the morning, and I'm going to take advantage of that,' Ochoa said. 'I like to be in a good position for the first round, just to be in the right number and the first few places. ... That's one of the things I've been trying to work on this year: trying to get a good round and not be too far behind. It seems it's important for me to get a good start.'
Canadian Lorie Kane was among those with 69s and two strokes back in a 108-player field that is missing 2006 runner-up Sorenstam. Kane entered the tournament ranked 91st on the money list and the top 90 after this event will receive full exemptions for 2008.
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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 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.

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    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.


    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.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."