Ko trails Icher in bid for third Canadian Open title

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2015, 3:05 am

COQUITLAM, British Columbia - Karine Icher had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch and shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Canadian Pacific Women's Open. 

''My putting was very good, and I think today I've seen the hole bigger than the other days,'' the 36-year-old Frenchwoman said. ''Sometimes you have days like that where everything works, so I'm quite happy with this one.''

Winless in 253 career LPGA starts, Icher birdied Nos. 2, 5-6 and 8-11 at Vancouver Golf Club, then closed the bogey-free round with seven pars.

''When you make some birdies like that in a row, you have more and more confidence,'' Icher said. ''It's always nice to have some rounds like that where you don't have so much questions. You know the club, you take the club, you hit the shot, and it's close to the pin.''

Two-time champion Lydia Ko was second after a 67. She birdied the final two holes.

''Hopefully, that will give me good momentum tomorrow,'' Ko said. ''But playing in the morning and then afternoon tomorrow there is quite a bit of wait. I've just got to keep the positive attitude going.''



Ko won in 2012 at Vancouver Golf Club at 15 years, 4 months to become the LPGA's youngest winner and fifth amateur champion. She successfully defended her title in 2013 as an amateur, winning by five strokes in Edmonton, Alberta. The 18-year-old New Zealander has two victories this year.

''I think the biggest difference is me. I don't have the glasses, and I feel much older,'' Ko said. ''But it's great to come back to a course where you've played well and the spectators have been great and they've been supporting me today, even in the practice rounds. It's definitely a great where you feel really welcome.''

Stacy Lewis, I.K. Kim, Danah Bordner and Pernilla Lindberg shot 68. Winless this year, Lewis hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

''I don't know if it's the golf course necessarily, but I just played better than I've been playing lately,'' Lewis said. ''Things just seemed to click a little better today. I actually switched golf balls yesterday, so just tried a new golf ball today, and it was a lot better. I was able to free it up a little more.''

Canadian teen Brooke Henderson, coming off a victory Sunday in the Portland Classic, opened with a 70. The 17-year-old Henderson is the first Canadian to win on the tour since Lorie Kane in 2001.

''It was an amazing day today,'' Henderson said. ''The crowds were unbelievable, and just to be back home in Canada and playing in front of them was really cool. Today was a little bit up and down, but I was able to get it together a little more on the back nine and finish 2 under.''

Top-ranked Inbee Park, the Women's British Open winner in her last start, had a 71. She has a tour-high four victories this season.

Michelle Wie had a 74. Struggling with a left ankle injury, she's playing for the first time since withdrawing during the second round of the Women's British Open after slipping walking off a tee box.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.