Jutanugarn (63) 'having fun' at Yokohama Tire LPGA

By Associated PressMay 7, 2016, 11:38 pm

PRATTVILLE, Ala. - Ariya Jutanugarn knows the pain of losing a final-round lead, so she's sticking with the theme of ''having fun'' this time.

Jutanugarn certainly had some good times when she birdied eight of the final nine holes Saturday to match the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic record at 9-under 63 and take a three-stroke lead.

Seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, the 20-year-old Thai player had a 14-under 202 total. She showed little emotion at the end, giving a small wave toward the bleachers after picking up her ball and strolling toward her playing partners for a hug.

''(Sunday's) going to be so much fun,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I just want to enjoy and have fun.''

Ryann O'Toole and Australia's Minjee Lee were tied for second. They each shot 68 on a day when the winds calmed down after the first two rounds.

Jutanugarn parred No. 15, the only blemish in her back-nine birdie run on the links-style Senator Course at Capitol Hill. She pulled her approach left on No. 17 and still knocked it within a couple of feet of the hole, and closed with a 5-footer on the final hole for yet another birdie.

She has flirted with wins before but had two final-round collapses. Last month in the ANA Inspiration, she had a two-stroke lead with three holes left and closed with three bogeys to finish fourth - two strokes behind winner Lydia Ko in the major championship. In the 2013 LPGA Thailand at age 17, Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead with a closing triple bogey in a one-stroke loss to Inbee Park.

Asked about the close calls, Jutanugarn stuck to the ''fun'' theme.

''Final round, so (I) just want to have fun and enjoy and good shots tomorrow,'' she said.

She's the eighth player to shoot 63 in the tournament, which was moved up from its normal late summer slot because of the Olympics.

''As far as she hits it, on this golf course, she should shoot that number,'' Stacy Lewis said.

The 19-year-old Lee won last month in Hawaii for her second LPGA Tour title.

Second-round leader So Yeon Ryu was four strokes back after a 71, making two birdies and a bogey.

Lewis, the 2012 winner, didn't have a bogey until the final hole Saturday for her second straight 68. She and Morgan Pressel, who shot a 70, were 9 under.

''I just got on the wrong side of the holes,'' Lewis said. ''I had a lot of tough putts, a lot of downhill sliders and just played a lot better than the score, which I guess is a good thing going into the final round.

''I know a low score is still out there.''

Brittany Altomare was among six players at 8 under after a 66. She birdied seven of the first 11 holes, then had two straight bogeys before regrouping.

Altomare got her first victory as a professional two weeks ago in the Symetra Tour's Guardian Retirement Championship, beating Nicole Broch Larsen with a birdie on the fifth hole of a playoff.

Altomare expects to be eligible the rest of the year for LPGA Tour events after gaining status on the money-list reshuffle.

Possibly being in LPGA Tour contention going into the final day is another new experience for the 25-year-old, though Jutanugarn's scorching finish made that less likely. Asked about her approach for Sunday, Altomare laughed and gave a shrug.

''I don't really know, actually,'' she said. ''I've never really been in this position on the LPGA. It's just the same, I think. Just go out there and just be aggressive and hopefully it's your day.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.