Kim leads Lewis through 54 at ANA Inspiration

By Associated PressApril 5, 2015, 2:01 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Sei Young Kim made two late birdies Saturday to take a three-stroke lead in the ANA Inspiration.

The long-hitting South Korean player shot a 3-under 69 to reach 10 under at Mission Hills with a round left in the first major championship of the year.

Kim holed a downhill 18-footer from the fringe on the par-4 16th and made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th. She two-putted for par from the back fringe on the par-5 18th.

Stacy Lewis was second after a 68. The 30-year-old Texan, the 2011 winner for the first of her 11 LPGA Tour titles, bogeyed Nos. 15 and 17.

The 22-year-old Kim won her first LPGA title in February in the Bahamas. A five-time winner on the South Korean tour, she's making her 13th LPGA start.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko shot a 74, her second straight over-par round after tying the LPGA record for consecutive rounds under par at 29 on Thursday. She was tied for 48th at 2 over.

Ko made an 8-foot putt on 18 for her lone birdie of the round. She has at least one birdie in all 187 of her rounds in 49 career events on the tour.

Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lincicome and Ariya Jutanugarn were tied for third at 6 under. Lincicome shot a 70 after driving into the water on 18 and making a bogey. Pressel had a 71, and Jutanugarn shot 66.


ANA Inspiration: Articles, videos and photos


Lewis birdied six of the first 12 holes to take the lead at 9 under.

She ran into trouble on the par-4 15th when her drive went to the left, with a palm tree possibly saving it from going out of bounds over the property fence that runs along Gerald Ford Drive. The ball dropped into a bunker and she left her approach in the tangled rough in front of the right greenside bunker. She flopped out and missed a 25-foot par putt.

Lewis settled for a par on the 16th. After her 167-yard approach ticked the cup on the way past, she pulled her 5-foot birdie try left.

Lewis three-putted the par-3 17th for her second bogey, running her 20-foot downhill birdie try 8 feet past. She had a chance to get the stroke back on 18, but missed a 6-foot birdie putt.

Pressel won in 2007 to become the youngest major champion at 18 years, 10 months, 9 days.

Tied with playing partner Kim at 8 under with three holes left, Pressel missed short par putts on 16 and 17. She lipped out a 4-footer on 16 and missed from 3 feet on 17.

Lincicome, the 2009 winner, chipped in for birdies on Nos. 9 and 16 and made a 20-foot birdie putt on 17 before her closing bogey.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson was tied for ninth at 4 under after a 71. She was 7 under with five holes left, then made three straight bogeys and closed with two pars.

Getty Images

Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

Getty Images

Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

Getty Images

LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.