Munoz trails Ryu by four headed into Canada finale

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2014, 11:07 pm

LONDON, Ontario - After dunking her ball in the water, Azahara Munoz later rebounded to shoot a 9-under 63 Saturday to vault into contention at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open.

She's tied with Na Yeon Choi in second place, four strokes behind So Yeon Ryu, who leads at 20 under going into the final round.

''The key of my round was on (hole No.) 4, I was going for it in two with a 4-iron and I hit in the water,'' Munoz said. ''But I kept it calm, I knew I could still make up and down for par, so I did, and after that everything just went my way.''

Except, perhaps, for Ryu, who didn't drift back to the pack by shooting a 67. She's looking to become the sixth wire-to-wire winner in this tournament's history and the first since Michelle Wie in 2010.

Munoz had six birdies on the back nine as part of a bogey-free round, tying the course record at London Hunt and Country Club that Ryu set Thursday. The 26-year-old Spainard felt as if she was doing ''everything'' right.

''I was driving the ball really well, and I was hitting really good iron shots into the greens,'' Munoz said. ''I had so many chances. And then I made lots of putts, too - I made a couple really long ones and quite a few shorter ones.''

As dazzling as Munoz's round was, she still has some work to do to catch up to Ryu, who has been consistent through three rounds with 21 birdies and just one bogey.

Ryu is looking for her first victory since 2012.

''I haven't won any tournaments the last two years,'' the 24-year-old said. ''If I'm going to win this tournament, I'm going to break that. I really want to break it, I really want to stop it.''

Ryu is on pace to snap the tournament record of 18 under set by Suzann Petterson in 2009 and is within range of the LPGA Tour record of 26 under, which belongs to Annika Sorenstam.

''I think my lowest record is 29 under when I was 16 at the Asian Games,'' Ryu said. ''If I have the chance I want to break my career record, and also if I can I want to break another LPGA record.''

Determined to focus on her own game, the South Korean said she didn't look at the leaderboard Saturday. But Ryu already set a goal of making seven birdies in the final round.

Ryu, Munoz and Choi, who shot a 6-under 66, tee off as the final group at 11:45 a.m. Sunday.

Behind them on the leaderboard are LPGA Championship winner Inbee Park at 14 under, Swede Anna Nordqvist at 13 under and Americans Brittany Lincicome and Danielle Kang at 12 under.

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario, shot a 1-under 71 to get to 4 under as the lowest Canadian left.

Choi set the tone for the low-scoring weekend with an 8-under 64 Thursday morning. After seeing that, Park wondered if it would take 20 under to win the tournament.

Given the way Ryu has been driving, chipping and putting, that turned out to be a conservative estimate.

''It's going to be over 20, that's for sure,'' Park said. ''I don't know how So Yeon is going to play tomorrow, but if she goes really low tomorrow, 25-under par's definitely possible.''

Choi was plenty confident about her chances given the course conditions.

''Someone can shoot 9 under, 8 under,'' she said. ''Even I could shoot like 8, 9 under tomorrow.''

Munoz showed that was possible Saturday, even with more difficult pin placements for the 87 players who made the cut.

Her only real glance at the leaderboard was Thursday when she saw Choi's 64 before she even teed off, but that didn't make her task feel any more daunting.

''It's actually good because you have that number in mind, you know it's possible,'' Munoz said. ''So at least you go out there thinking you can make lots of birdies.''

Ryu hasn't been saving her best for the second-to-last hole, and Park knows that her friend is so locked in that rivals will have to shoot very low to beat her.

Ryu hasn't won since the 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, but won two of the three previous times she held the 54-hole lead.

''I definitely think she's due,'' Park said. ''I think she was due a long time ago, but she probably threw her opportunities away. If I can't do it this time, hopefully she does it. I'm really rooting for her.''

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry