Icher (62) takes ShopRite lead

By Associated PressJune 4, 2016, 11:24 pm

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Karine Icher matched the Bay Course record with a 9-under 62 on Saturday to take the second-round lead in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The 31-year-old French player, winless on the tour, had nine birdies in a 13-hole stretch in the round that started on No. 10 at Stockton Seaview. She tied the record on the Donald Ross-designed course set by Laura Davies in 2005 and matched by Jimin Kang that year and Jennifer Johnson in 2014.

''I don't realize,'' Icher said after her lowest round on the LPGA Tour. ''I just like try to play easy and not look at the scoreboard, because it doesn't serve me. I know that. So, try to play shot after shot, and then it's becomes like a game to make as many birdies as possible.''

Icher began the run on Nos. 14 and 15, added two more on 17 and 18, ran off four straight on 3-6, reached 12 under on the eighth and closed with a par. She had only 23 putts.

''I made a lot of second shots close to the hole, so made some birdie easier to do,'' Icher said. ''The greens are difficult to read, and to get the right speed with the right slope. So, the closer you are, the easiest it is. It was a good round. I putted well. I had good wedges. So, quite happy.''

She chipped in on the par-4 sixth.

''I had to do like a rescue hybrid,'' Icher said. ''That one was lucky because it was quite hard. Dead straight in the hole.''

Japan's Haru Nomura, a two-time winner this year, and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi were a stroke back at 11 under. Nomura had a 66, and Choi birdied five of the last eight in a 64.

''I just remind myself like, 'Hey, you can go aggressive a little bit more. You can shoot lower,' So, I kind of motivate myself,'' Choi said. ''And just back nine, my shot was great and I got a lot of birdie chances, too. Seven under, I still feel like I left a couple out there.''

Nomura eagled the par-5 third and rebounded from a bogey on 14 to birdie three of the last four.

''Everything good,'' Nomura said. ''Driver, woods, irons, putting not bad.''

Defending champion Anna Nordqvist, tied for the first-round lead after a 64, had a 68 to drop to fourth at 10 under. The Swede bogeyed the first two holes, eagled the third and had five birdies and two bogeys the rest of the way.

''I feel I played pretty good,'' Nordqvist said. ''It was really tough wind this afternoon. A little hard to judge the direction. And then 17, 18 played dead into the wind. Made those holes a little tougher. But I shot 3-under today and I'm two shots out of it, and I feel like I'm in a good spot.''

Colombia's Mariajo Uribe had a birdie-eagle finish for a 65 to reach 8 under. She holed out from 35 yards on the par-5 18th.

''It landed like 5 yards short and it just went in on the second bounce, an eagle,'' Uribe said. ''It's a pretty nice way to finish.''

Fourth-ranked Brooke Henderson was 3 under after a 70. The 18-year-old Canadian is coming off a third-place tie last week in Ann Arbor, Michigan, her ninth top-10 finish of the year.

Stacy Lewis, the tournament winner in 2012 and 2014, followed her opening 66 with a 74 to drop to 2 under. Down to sixth in the world, the 31-year-old Lewis is winless in 49 starts since taking the North Texas LPGA Shootout in June 2014 for her 11th LPGA Tour victory. She tied for second three weeks ago in Alabama, her 10th runner-up finish during the drought and her 23rd overall.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko and streaking Ariya Jutanugarn skipped the tournament to get ready for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, the second major championship of the year, next week at Sahalee near Seattle. Jutanugarn has won three straight events, the last a five-stroke victory last week in Ann Arbor.10th tee boxes.

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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.


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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.

@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.