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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  • Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

    The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

    Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

    What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

    Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

    Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

    Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

    Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

    Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

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    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

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    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.