Korda leads Creamer by one in Bahamas

By Associated PressJanuary 24, 2014, 10:57 pm

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Jessica Korda took the second-round lead in the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic, birdieing four of her last seven holes in high wind Friday for a 7-under 66. The 20-year-old Korda had an 11-under 135 total on Atlantis Resort's Ocean Club course. ''We went from beautiful, sunny, slight wind to cloudy and hurricane wind,'' Korda said. ''It was a tough day out there. I mean, a little mentally draining because you really had to put everything into every shot.'' The 2012 Women's Australian Open winner, Korda recently started working with swing coach Grant Price. She struggled with her swing last year and felt that it led to some injuries in her left shoulder and wrist.

''It was just time for a change,'' Korda said. ''There was just stuff that wasn't working. I've worked with (Grant) before, so I was really comfortable going into it, and he's just super positive, and that's something that I really needed coming into this year.

''We're just working on keeping everything in plane and keeping it really simple to where if something does go wrong on the golf course, I can fix it myself.''

Price, Hall of Famer Nick Price's nephew, is fighting testicular cancer.

Paula Creamer, playing alongside Korda, was a stroke back after a 65.

''Feeding off Paula was good,'' Korda said. ''She made four birdies in a row after (starting with a double bogey), and it wasn't like she wasn't giving herself opportunities. It was birdie after birdie. It was awesome to play with somebody like that because they really do push you and keep making you try harder.''

Creamer drove left on the first hole and three-putted from 7 feet. She birdied 10 of the last 17 holes.

''After that, I said, 'Let's go make some birdies.'' And I did,'' said Creamer, winless since the 2010 U.S. Women's Open. ''I love playing in windy conditions. I always have. The more difficult, the better. You have to be kind of a feel player out in these kind of situations and trust what you're doing and committing to your shots, and that's something that I really worked hard on in the offseason and it paid off today.''

Michelle Wie and Monday qualifier Jenny Suh were tied for third at 9 under. Wie had a 65, and Suh shot 66.

Wie had 28 putts in her bogey-free round.

''I think I just had a good rest this offseason,'' Wie said. ''When I came back in January and I picked up my golf clubs, I was really excited to play. I was so ready to get back into a rhythm.''

Suh failed to gain fully exempt status on the tour when she lost a playoff at Q-school.

''I know what the weekend could do and what it could hold for me, but I'm just going to keep enjoying myself and try to make as many birdies as possible,'' Suh said.

Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old New Zealander who shared the first-round lead with Meena Lee, was three strokes behind at 8 under after a 70. The fourth-ranked Ko is making her first start as an LPGA Tour member. She won the Canadian Women's Open the last two years as an amateur and closed last season with a victory in a non-tour event in Taiwan in her second pro start.

Na Yeon Choi (68), Christel Boeljon (67) and P.K. Kongkraphan (69) also were 8 under.

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis was 6 under after a 71.

Lee had a 76 to drop to 2 under.

Getty Images

Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

Getty Images

Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

Getty Images

Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



FALLING

Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

Getty Images

Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”