Immelman Enjoys Shot at Tiger

By Associated PressFebruary 27, 2004, 5:00 pm
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Trevor Immelman plopped his bag onto the practice range about 40 feet away from Tiger Woods, paying no attention to the No. 1 player he faces in the second round of the Match Play Championship.
He respects Woods, but isn't intimidated by him.
Trevor ImmelmanHe sees their match Friday morning at La Costa Resort as an opportunity, not a crossroads.
'I don't think it's going to make or break my career,' Immelman said. 'I'm 24 years old, and hopefully I'm going to be around for a long time competing in big tournaments like this.'
It seemed as if everyone was going to be around La Costa forever on Thursday, when rain flooded the golf course and caused the second round to be postponed.
The World Golf Championship resumes Friday with two rounds of matches.
The only other time he played with Woods was at the American Express Championship last fall outside Atlanta, a stroke-play event in which Woods opened with a 67 and went on to win, while the young South African had a 70.
Still, Woods is no stranger.
Immelman works with Claude Harmon, the son of Butch Harmon, so Woods' name and swing has come up before.
'I've watched Tiger Woods' golf swing probably a million times, whether it be on TV or on video or on computer,' Immelman said. 'It's great for me to be able to there in the front row and watch it. I can appreciate all the work that he's put in and what he's achieved. But I'm not one of those guys who is just going to watch.
'That doesn't get into my head at all.'
Woods, who survived a scare from John Rollins to win 1-up with birdies on his last two holes, will be trying to tie the Accenture Match Play Championship record with his eighth consecutive victory.
The first six victories in that streak, of course, came last year by winning.
This one could be a struggle, for him and everyone else.
Fifteen of the first 32 matches went at least 18 holes, which Woods attributed to the greens being quick and bumpy, a combination that doesn't allow for a lot of putts going in the hole.
And one round into the five-day affair, nothing looks like a sure thing.
Vijay Singh played gritty Jerry Kelly. Robert Allenby faced fellow Australian Adam Scott. Stuart Appleby played Chris DiMarco, a rematch from Sunday singles at the Presidents Cup, where DiMarco prevailed.
Phil Mickelson plays British Open champion Ben Curtis, who is starting to feel good about his putting.
All of that was put on hold by overnight rains that left much of La Costa under water.
By the end of the day, there was plenty of blue skies and warm sunshine, but also lakes in the middle of the fairway and water that spilled over the banks of creeks and made the golf course unplayable.
'The main concern is the casual water in the fairway,' said Mike Shea, senior rules director for the PGA Tour.
The nearest point of relief appeared to be Palm Springs.
The golf course received 1 1/4 inches of rain Sunday night, and La Costa doesn't drain very well. Add the 1 3/4 inches of rain that fell overnight, and it was unplayable.
'We just couldn't play the game properly,' Shea said.
The forecast is considerably brighter, and Shea expected the tournament to be back on schedule by the end of play Friday.
Shaun Micheel was glad that officials didn't start the second-round matches without being certain they could finish.
'That would be such a momentum-killer,' Micheel said. 'And momentum plays a big role in match play.'
The only difference could be conditioning - by the players, not just the course.
Most of the 32 players remaining are in good enough shape to walk 36 holes in one day - especially since they're not carrying their own bags - but Micheel said it could become a mental test late Friday afternoon.
'I think you'll start to see some loose shots by the end of the day,' he said.
Woods worked for about an hour on the range and putting green, so the day wasn't a total waste.
It felt like one to David Toms.
He's coming off surgery to remove bone spurs from his left wrist, and this is only his second tournament of the year. He would prefer to play instead of practice, but he had no choice.
'I want to stay sharp. I needed to play golf today,' he said. 'I don't need to be out beating a bunch of balls.'
Related Links:
  • Scoring - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
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    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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    Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

    By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

    PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

    Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

    Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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    Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

    PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

    With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

    After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

    “I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

    It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

    Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

    “It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

    Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

    “Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

    Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

    Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

    “It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

    Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

    “This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

    Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.