Ochoa Starts Strong Wie Even Par

By Associated PressAugust 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ricoh WomenST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- If Lorena Ochoa has been saving her first major for the home of golf, it gave her the ideal start.
 
The Mexican compiled a bogey-free 6-under 67 at St. Andrews in calm, sunny conditions on Thursday to take a two-shot lead in the Women's British Open. It was the first time the women pros had played at the famous course and she came up with the best opening round.
 
Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa got off to a running start at the Women's British Open. (Getty Images)
'It was just a really good day, one of those days when things are easy and really good. There was only a little bit of a breeze and I took advantage of that and made some birdies.
 
'I had in my head 2 or 3 under so it's even better than I thought.'
 
Ochoa finished well before lunch and then sat back to see if any of her rivals could catch up.
 
Sweden's Louise Friberg and South Korea's In-Bee Park are two behind after 69s with Japan's Ai Miyazato and England's Rebecca Hudson three off the lead after 70s. Annika Sorenstam had a 1-under 72 while Michelle Wie showed signs of straightening out her game with an even-par 73.
 
The strong winds that often blow across this part of Scotland took the day off and Ochoa took full advantage. The forecast for Friday and Saturday includes winds of up to 35 mph.
 
'I believe in myself and I was feeling good in the morning,' said Ochoa, who tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open a month ago and finished second, third and fourth in other majors. 'We are all excited to be here and I'm just glad I did it right on my first try and take as much advantage as you can and now I'm feeling good.
 
Many of the star names teed off early -- before 7 am local time -- for the benefit of live TV coverage in Asia and that suited Ochoa.
 
'It was a really early wakeup call but I don't mind that,' she said. 'I'm a morning person. I don't know how the next three days look and how the weather is going to be, but I'm happy I did it today.'
 
By the time she walked off the 18th green, few players out on the course were threatening her lead.
 
The 17-year-old Wie was two shots behind Ochoa until bogeys on two of the final five holes.
 
'It was semi-disappointing and semi-successful,' said Wie, who is recovering from an injured left wrist and has failed to break 70 in more than a year.
 
'It's the first time I've played really solidly, but I missed some reasonably easy putts. I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel now.'
 
In perfect weather at St. Andrews, Ochoa birdied three straight holes and stretched her lead to three shots when her long approach to the 15th settled 2 feet from the pin.
 
That was her fifth birdie, and another followed at the 17th, the usually tough Road Hole which has been made a par 5 for the Women's Open and became the easiest to score under par.
 
Ochoa's second shot finished at the back of the green and her first putt left her with a 5-footer for birdie. After Miyazato bogeyed the 16th, Ochoa walked onto the 18th green four ahead of the field, then narrowly missed a 15-foot birdie on the final hole.
 
After winning her first title at the Evian Masters on Sunday, Natalie Gulbis didn't expect to be five behind at the turn. Without a birdie on the front nine, the American was 1 over after her bogey 5 at the second and went on for par 73, along with Paula Creamer.
 
U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr struggled to a 77, beginning her round with two bogeys.
 
'I've been putting way too much pressure on myself since the Open and it has backfired on me,' she said. 'I'm pushing it way too hard.'
 
Another major winner Morgan Pressel, who won the Kraft Nabisco, had even more problems. She finished at 80, which included nine bogeys.
 
Defending champion Sherri Steinhauer, who is going for her fourth title in this tournament, had a 72.
 
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  • Full Coverage - Ricoh Women's British Open
  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''