Notes Ochoa Concedes Another US Open

By Associated PressJune 28, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- Lorena Ochoa lined up for an 8-foot birdie putt on her final hole of the day, hoping to conclude a miserable day on a high note.
The putt was a few inches short, a fitting end to what has been to what has been a long, difficult U.S. Womens Open for the worlds No. 1 player. Ochoa shot a 3-over 76 on Saturday and was 12 shots behind leader Stacy Lewis.
Even she knows its over.
Ive been struggling every day since the beginning and yeah, Im frustrated, Ochoa said. Its sad to see the tournament go and now I have to wait one more year.
Her chance to climb back into the picture ended almost before it began Saturday when Ochoa, who started on the 10th tee, bogeyed 11 and 12, then missed an uphill 8-footer for a double bogey on the par-5 13th.
I tried, but obviously the way I started didnt help, she said. I was four over after four holes. So it was just hard trying to come back all day and try to save pars. Just a really long round. I didnt enjoy it very much.
Its been a trying few months for the dominant Mexican who won six of her first nine tournaments of the year and headed into the McDonalds LPGA Championship thinking about the Grand Slam.
Ochoas uncle, Pedro, died of leukemia in May. Her maternal grandfather, Jorge Reyes, passed away during the LPGA and Ochoa didnt find out until after she missed the playoff by one stroke.
She has been carrying that weight with her ever since, and it may have caught up with her at Interlachen.
Im not going to blame my score on that. Not at all, Ochoa said. But mentally, Im a little bit weak. It seems that Ive just had nothing going this week and Im kind of frustrated and mad more than usual.
I guess its a learning experience. Ill try to finish it tomorrow and just be relaxed and continue my year.
But not before a much-needed break. After she finishes on Sunday, Ochoa will take the next two weeks off, returning to Guadalajara to relax, spend some time with her family and regroup.
Im just trying to be positive and finish tomorrow with another good round and then well see, Ochoa said. Then I can go home and relax and talk to my coach. I need to see things and put things in perspective and then well go from there.
In the final U.S. Womens Open of her career, Annika Sorenstam is getting tired of wasting superb ball-striking by failing on the greens.
The three-time champion needed another 32 putts to get through 18 holes on Saturday en route to a 1-under 72 and has putted 98 times in three rounds. She was seven strokes behind Lewis, but could be so much closer were it not for her struggles on the green.
Sorenstam missed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 4 and a 5-footer on No. 6, but did roll in one from 20 feet to save par on No. 17.
Ive probably left a dozen, maybe two dozen (birdies), in three days, Sorenstam said. Im just very, very disappointed.
She may have found the solution to her putting problem on No. 9'just dont use the putter. Her second shot was far short of the green at the bottom of the steep hill leading up to the pin.
Sorenstam could only see the top of the flag from her position, then lofted a shot that landed high on the sloping green and rolled down into the cup, drawing a roar from the large gallery.
Im still in striking zone and Im not giving up hope yet, Sorenstam said. Maybe its just saving it and Ill make them all tomorrow.
Helen Alfredsson knows a thing or two about losing the lead at the Open. Now shes hoping its her turn to come from behind and steal one.
The 43-year-old Swede shot a 2-under 71 on Saturday and trailed Lewis by two strokes heading into the final round.
Fifteen years ago, Alfredsson set a 36-hole scoring record and had a six-shot lead through seven holes of the third round before a stunning collapse. She played the next 11 holes at 8 over, shot 76-77 on the weekend and tied for ninth.
The year before, in 1993, she had a two-shot lead going into the last round and lost to Lauri Merten.
To be very honest, I dont really think so much about it, Alfredsson said. Ive been so close in this event and Ive been very high and very low.
Ochoa wasnt the only big-name player to struggle on Saturday.
One day after saying she had the same feeling as when she won the Open at Pine Needles last year, defending champion Cristie Kerr shot a 3-over 75 and was seven strokes behind Lewis with one round to play.
First-day leader Pat Hurst continues to fade. After an opening-round 67, the 2006 runner-up has shot 78-77 the last two days and was 3 over for the tournament.
Two-time champion Karrie Webb needed an 8-foot birdie putt on 18 on Friday just to make the cut. She shot a 72 and was tied with Hurst at 3 over.
Dale Lewis, Stacys father, was asked what the two had planned for Saturday night after Stacy Lewis shot a 67 to take a one-shot lead into the final day of her first professional tournament.
Were going to do the same thing weve been doing, he said. Ill snore and keep her up. Shell have the remote and Ill complain about the channel and what were watching on TV.
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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.