Ochoa Creamer two back Sorenstam stumbles

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipHALF MOON BAY, Calif. ' Angela Stanfords rare double eagle turned into a huge boost for her to stay near the top of the leaderboard on a day when playing conditions were challenging for everybody.
 
A pair of double bogeys and a bogey on the 18th cost two-time defending champion Lorena Ochoa, who had a tough back nine after she began the day so well in the second round of the Samsung World Championship.
 
Na Yeon Choi of South Korea survived the changing wind and decreasing temperatures along the Pacific Ocean to shoot a 1-under 71 on Friday, giving her a 4-under 140 total and a two-stroke lead over Stanford (73), Ochoa (73), Paula Creamer (74) and Song-Hee Kim (73).
 
It was really windy today and the weather got worse as we got later into the round, Choi said through a translator. After two bogeys, I thought the game was getting away from me, but I looked at the scoreboard at the other players scores and it gave me a calm confidence.
 
It took Ochoa all of three holes to find her touch Friday, then a few tough ones to lose the lead. Even her typically reliable long game deserted her on the back nine.
 
Ochoa birdied five straight holes from Nos. 4-8 to reach 5 under, and Creamer got to 6 under before things became especially difficult. At that point, they both thought they might be able to distance themselves a bit from the pack.
 
You all saw the scores ' they just kind of dropped, Creamer said. It played hard. It was a definite test of golf. You hit and hope. It was kind of like the British Open out there today.
 
Stanford, who also briefly got to 6 under, pulled off her double eagle on the par-5, 481-yard fourth hole ' only the second one this year on the LPGA and the 30th in tour history. She hit a 7-wood from 212 yards. Katherine Hull, who also is in this elite 20-player field, had the other in the fourth round of the Michelob Ultra Open in May. There were only two total in 2007.
 
I hit it exactly as I wanted to, said Stanford, whose painful left shoulder still bothers her on most shots. I saw it bounce twice and heard it hit the flag and it disappeared. I said, Did that go in? and they were yelling. Ive never had a double eagle. It was much needed. It was a lot of fun.
 
Early on, it seemed like an ideal day for golf on the 6,450-yard Ocean Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links, until the wind got strong. On Thursday, opening rounds were delayed for 26 minutes by dense fog. Rain was in forecast for Northern California overnight.
 
Both Ochoa and Stanford are coming off titles in Alabama ' Ochoa last week at Prattville and Stanford the previous week in Mobile for her second career LPGA title. She withdrew from last weeks event because of the nagging shoulder injury that has affected her for about two years. She wasnt even sure shed play be healthy enough to play this tournament.
 
Ochoa, among several players two strokes back to start the day, shot a 32 over the front nine but had several tough holes down the stretch, most notably the double-bogeys on 9 and 13.
 
Of course Im frustrated, Ochoa said. Im very upset I made those two double-bogeys. The conditions were the same for everybody. But its only Friday and Im close to the lead. I have to make sure I play well on the weekend. I didnt feel comfortable hitting my driver, and when you miss fairways here, youre done. I have to be more simple with my driver.
 
Five-time champion Annika Sorenstam, paired with Ochoa for the second straight day during the Swedish Hall of Famers final Samsung, struggled mightily herself. She shot a 77 to drop to 2-over 146. Making things worse, she got stung by a wasp between the pinkie and ring finger on her right hand while on the second tee.
 
When you start off a bad day like that, it seems like a big wasp, Sorenstam said. It was hurting all day. It was just so typical, one thing after another. I was on the tee and it landed on my finger. I hit it and thought I killed it, but he got back at me. I want to perform and I havent. Thats more mentally draining on me.
 
Ochoa tried for the green off her approach on the 500-yard, par-5 eighth hole ' the fourth-longest on the course ' only to have it roll back down a hill, but she then chipped to within 10 feet and sunk the birdie putt to move to 8-under.
 
The large gallery following the twosome featured many fans from her native Mexico and they chanted phrases such as Si se puede! ' We can do it! ' and Vamos! ' lets go! Ochoa shook her head to acknowledge the supporters.
 
But on No. 9, a par 3, Ochoas drive sailed right just off a bunker and she chipped out of it and past the pin into the thick, sticky rough. She had another tough go on 13.
 
Creamer, meanwhile, had four bogeys on the back nine including three straight from 15-17 before finishing strong with a birdie on 18.
 
South Koreas Ji-Yai Shin, who won the Womens British Open in August, fell back with a 76 after leading through the first round. She was 1 under along with Hull (73) and Yani Tseng (74).
 

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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.