Miyazato defeats Lewis by two at Evian Masters

By Associated PressJuly 24, 2011, 3:20 pm

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France – Ai Miyazato won the Evian Masters on Sunday, shooting a 2-under 70 to protect her two-shot lead and clinch her first title of the year.

Miyazato played with consistency throughout the tournament, dropping shots on just five of 72 holes and finishing with a 15-under total of 273. Stacy Lewis of the United States also shot a 70 to finish two shots back in second, with a trio of players another stroke behind.

“It feels amazing, this is my favorite tournament so I’m really happy that I could win this again,” Miyazato said. “Especially (because) right now, Japan’s having a tough time. So I am just really happy to bring some happiness to Japan.”

Miyazato had not won a title since the Safeway Classic last August, and the 26-year-old Japanese player now has seven LPGA titles overall. She won her first LPGA title at Evian in 2009, and added five more last year.

“There was so much happening at the beginning of the season, to be honest,” Miyazato said, referring to the natural disasters that hit Japan in March. “I always have Japan in my thoughts, it gives me motivation to play.”

Miyazato raised both arms in the air after she sank her winning putt, and several players ran on to the green to soak her with water.

She says she will donate a sum of her $487,500 prize money to the relief efforts dealing with the fallout of the earthquake and an ensuing tsunami that have devastated Japan.

“I haven’t decided yet, whether it will be all of the amount or some of it,” she said. “This year I was playing for Japan.”

Miyazato joins two-time winners Laura Davies of England and Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, and needs one more Evian win to tie Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson, the inaugural tournament champion and record-holder.

“I want to win it as many times as possible,” Miyazato said. “I am looking forward to getting more opportunities.”

Lewis, the Kraft Nabisco winner, kept the pressure on and moved one shot behind Miyazato with a birdie on the 15th.

“We played in the same group yesterday, she played well without mistakes,” Miyazato said. “Even though she was in front of me I knew she would play solid today.”

Then, with a birdie chance to even the match on the next hole, Lewis three-putted for a bogey to again drop her two shots back of Miyazato.

Lewis had been self-critical after all of her previous three rounds, saying she lacked a cutting edge in the last few holes of the day.

That again proved to be the case, with Lewis’ putt for birdie on the 17th stopping agonizingly short. She could only make par on the 18th, a hole designed for attacking.

Miki Saiki of Japan, Angela Stanford of the United States, and South Korea’s I.K. Kim all finished three shots behind Miyazato.

Kim had moved into contention at 10 under following a brilliant third round of 64, but the South Korean’s bid was undone by three straight bogeys on the front nine Sunday.

Miyazato started the day with three birdies and no bogeys on the front nine. On the fifth hole, Miyazato’s drive hit the lip of the green and rolled back, leaving her a 15-yard uphill putt for birdie. She got it close enough to comfortably make par, and then birdied the sixth and had another on the eighth to surge ahead at 16 under. At that point, it looked as if it would be a comfortable victory.

Miyazato then showed signs of nerves on the back nine.

A bogey on the 12th and a birdie from Hong, Miyazato’s playing partner on the day, trimmed her lead to one shot.

Miyazato bounced right back with a birdie on the next hole, while Hong bogeyed to drop three behind and give Miyazato some breathing space, which she needed after another bogey on the 14th.

“I was nervous this morning, but I had a really good feeling with my game and I really trusted myself,” Miyazato said. “Even when my lead was down to one I was never in a hurry, I expected that to happen.”

Stanford started her round poorly with a double-bogey on No. 1, although she made amends with three consecutive birdies halfway through the front nine.

Sweden’s Maria Hroth, tied for the first-round lead at 5 under, made only par to finish five shots back.

“I had a few bad holes today, so it was a bit disappointing,” said Hroth, who had four bogeys. “The course was still playing very wet and very soft, it’s been playing very similar over the four days.”

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.