Ko, Hull, Pettersen in contention in Taiwan

By Associated PressOctober 23, 2015, 12:31 pm

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Eun-hee Ji took a one-stroke lead over Lydia Ko on Friday in the LPGA Taiwan Championship, overcoming back pain and a double bogey in windy and rainy conditions.

The 29-year-old South Korean player finished with a 3-under 69 to reach 9-under 135 at Miramar. She made the double bogey on the par-5 sixth after hooking her drive out of bounds, rallied with birdies on Nos. 9-11 and closed with seven straight pars.

''I hurt my middle back this morning,'' Ji said. ''Just bothering me on my swing, and especially with my driver.''

The second-ranked Ko birdied the par-5 18th for a 67.

''It's always good to finish on a birdie,'' Ko said. ''I've just got to keep my head high. Especially with the weather conditions, anything can happen.''

The 18-year-old New Zealander is trying to regain the No. 1 spot in the world from South Korea's Inbee Park, the winner last year at Miramar. Park is skipping her title defense to play in a Korea LPGA event, where she dropped into a tie for seventh Friday.

Ko won the Evian Championship in France last month to become the youngest major champion and has three other LPGA victories this year. She won the 2013 Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters at Miramar for her first victory as a professional.

Ji won the 2008 LPGA Championship and 2009 U.S. Women's Open, both majors, for her lone LPGA titles.



''The weather is going to be like this tomorrow and the day after, so trying to be patient every day and just focus on my play,'' Ji said. ''The greens are going to be softer, so that makes a little easier, actually.''

England's Charley Hull and China's Lin Xi-yu, both 19, were tied for third at 7 under. Hull shot a 69, and Lin had a 70. Hull saved par on 16 and bogey on 17 with 5-foot putts, then missed a 5-footer for birdie on 18.

''A shame I didn't birdie the last, bogeyed 17,'' Hull said. ''But I was plugged in the bunker on 17 and I made a good up-and-down, so it wasn't too bad.''

She's right at home in the tough conditions.

''I quite like it like this. It's been fun,'' Hull said. ''It's a bit rainy, so it's a bit like a British Open, but obviously a lot warmer. ... I just love playing in the wind.''

South Koreans So Yeon Ryu (69) and Sun Young Yoo (71) were 5 under. Norway's Suzann Pettersen followed her opening 74 with a 66 - the best round of the day - to move into a tie for seventh at 4 under. She won the event in 2012 and 2013 at Sunrise.

American Morgan Pressel and Germany's Sandra Gal, tied for third after opening rounds of 68, dropped off the leaderboard. Pressel had a 75 to fall into a tie for 16th at 1 under, and Gal was tied for 36th at 2 over after a 78.

Taiwanese star Yani Tseng was tied for 32nd at 1 over after a 73. She won the inaugural event in 2011 at Sunrise.

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis was tied for 55th at 5 over after a 72. She opened with a 77, her worst score since a 78 in the final round of the 2013 U.S. Women's Open. The American finished second last year at Miramar.

The tournament is third in the five-event Asian Swing. The Blue Bay LPGA is next week in China, followed by the Japan Classic.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


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Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


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The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.