Karine Icher takes two-shot lead at LPGA Corning

By Associated PressMay 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
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2006 Corning ClassicCORNING, N.Y. ' Karine Icher isnt used to this. She would be happy to make it a habit.
 
The 30-year-old native of Chateauroux, France shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to gain a two-shot lead over Hee-Won Han of South Korea after two rounds at the LPGA Corning Classic.
 
Karen Icher
Karine Icher has 13 birdies, one eagle and one bogey through two rounds. (Getty Images)
Icher, the first-round co-leader at 8 under with Hee Young Park of South Korea, was at 14-under 130. That broke the 36-hole record for the tournament by one shot and equaled the best back-to-back rounds in Corning history.
 
Seon Hwa Lee (67), Soo-Yun Kang (69) and Na Yeon Choi (68) of South Korea were tied for third at 10 under with Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden (67), Sandra Gal (69) of Germany, and Sarah Kemp (68) of Australia.
 
Park (73) was seven shots back and the cut fell at 3 under (the tournament record was 1 under in both 2003 and 2007) as the players again took advantage of the near-ideal scoring conditions.
 
You can go low 60s out here, said Parmlid, who has never finished higher than 10th in five-plus years on tour. If you have a good iron day ' Oh my gosh! ' you can light it up.
 
Icher certainly did. She eclipsed the 36-hole record of 131 held by Michelle Estill (2004) and Beth Bader (2007) and matched the lowest back-to-back rounds set by Juli Inkster on the final two rounds of her 2003 Corning triumph.
 
If the other players can make birdies, I can do it, too, said Icher, whose best career finish was a second in 2005 at the Corona Morelia Championship. I know you learn more from your mistakes. I did a lot in the past. I was short to win some tournaments in 05 and 06. I hope right now its going to help me go forward and I dont make the same mistakes.
 
Icher had only one slip-up Friday, at the par-4 first hole, statistically one of the most difficult on the 6,223-yard Corning Country Club course. She drove the right rough, then hit into a greenside bunker and two-putted for her lone bogey of the tournament.
 
Icher averaged nearly 260 yards off the tee and continued to excel with her short game on the narrow, tree-lined layout. Of her seven birdies, four came on putts inside 10 feet, and she also displayed a deft stroke from a tough lie. Her final birdie putt was uphill on the undulating green at the par-3 seventh hole, and she smiled broadly when the ball curled into the hole on its final rotation.
 
Over the two rounds, Icher hit 32 of 36 greens and 19 of 28 fairways, did not have a three-putt green, and needed just 56 putts.
 
My driving was not so good as yesterday, I missed some fairways, said Icher, who hit 8 of 14 on Friday. But I had good putts. Right now what is working is my driving and my putting. If you drive in the middle and you putt well, youre going to make some birdies. This is the key. But this course still demands a lot of thinking. You can be five feet from the hole and be dead.
 
Han (67), who won at Corning three years ago, continued to take advantage of the four generous par-5s. Over the first two rounds, she had six birdies and two pars on those holes and briefly tied Icher at 14 under with a birdie at the par-4 sixth hole before dropping back with a pair of bogeys on her final three holes.
 
It was pretty important, Han said of her scoring on the par-5s. But there are lots of good players out there. Someone tomorrow can come out and go 10 or 11 under.
 
This is the final Corning Classic, and Lee is accustomed to playing in this atmosphere. She won the final Shoprite LPGA Classic in 2006, the final HSBC Womens World Match Play Championship in 2007, and the final Ginn Tribute last year.
 
I didnt think about that, Lee said. If I win, its another.
 
The summerlike weather continued, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-80s, and attendance swelled. Parking lots adjacent to the course were full by 10 a.m. and another downtown at the Corning Museum of Glass also was full as fans were being encouraged to park at a nearby mall and take shuttle buses.
 
The Corning Classic, the smallest event on the LPGA and the only one thats had the same title sponsor and been staged at the same venue every year since its inception (1979), will not be staged next year. Tournament officials announced in April that they could not afford to renew their contract with the LPGA because of financial problems after title sponsor Corning Inc. pulled out.
 
Divots: Kristy McPherson aced the par-3 third hole with a 4-hybrid from 189 yards. It was her second career ace and 21st in the history of the Corning Classic. Sun Young Yoo, Hee-Won Han and Meena Lee each eagled the par-4 10th hole and Cristie Kerr eagled the par-4 13th hole with an 8-iron from 139 yards. Rookie Michelle Wie, who tied for third a week ago at the Sybase Classic, rebounded from her opening 73 with a 5-under 67 to make the cut.
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


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    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm