Ochoa still two back in California - COPIED

By Associated PressOctober 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
DANVILLE, Calif. ' South Koreas In-Kyung Kim shot a 3-under 69 in cold, windy conditions Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Mollie Fankhauser in the Longs Drugs Challenge, while top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was two shots behind.
 
The 20-year-old Kim, winless in two seasons on the LPGA, had an 8-under 136 total on the Blackhawk Country Club course. Fankhauser shot a 68.
 
It was really cold this morning, Kim said. I was just like, `Go out there and do my best and, you know, hopefully I can start (fast), which I did.
 
I have a little lower ball flight, so I think that helps me a little bit with the wind. And if its not raining, Im OK with everything, any conditions.
 
Thirty-nine players shot under par in the first round, but only 17 in the second.
 
Ochoa, a seven-time winner this season who lost a playoff to Suzann Pettersen last year at Blackhawk, followed her opening 70 with a 68.
 
Theres no other way to describe it but a really tough day, Ochoa said. I did make a few bogeys out there and a couple silly mistakes. But at the same time I was really pleased, really happy, especially with the way I finished, making three birdies out of the last four holes. For sure dinner will taste better, and Im right there where Id like to be for the weekend
 
Angela Stanford was 5 under after a 69, and Pettersen (72), LPGA Championship winner Yani Tseng (72), Kristy McPherson (70) and Charlotte Mayorkas (71) were 4 under.
 
Kim had four birdies on the front nine, dropped a stroke on par-3 10th and closed with eight straight pars. The 2005 U.S. Girls Junior champion lost a playoff to Ochoa last season in the Wegmans LPGA.
 
In her last five starts, she has two top-10 finishes and five top-20s.
 
I feel Im getting there, Kim said. The competition is really hard and tough. I like to challenge myself. I think its been fun, and I think Im going to have more fun.
 
Bay Area star Paula Creamer, the Samsung World Championship winner Sunday at Half Moon Bay, was even par after a 70. Santa Cruz resident Juli Inkster, the Hall of Famer who won in 1999 and 2000 at Twelve Bridges, shot a 77 to drop to 3 over.
 
First-round leaders Maria Hjorth and Michele Redman struggled Friday. Hjorth, nearly five months pregnant, followed her opening 66 with an 80, leaving her 2 over. Redman was 3 under after a 75.
 
Fankhauser grew up in Ohio and plated at Ohio State, often playing in frigid, windy conditions.
 
I didnt even really think it was cold or windy today, Fankhauser said. Even though Ive been out of school for a few years, its a nice advantage just to go out in 45-degree weather and think that Ive played in 35-degree weather when its 40-mile-an-hour winds and almost snowing.
 
Fankhauser missed the cut in 14 of 20 events this year but tied for seventh last month at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic, her first career top-10 finish.
 
Its fun, Fankhauser said. Its better than missing a cut. I dont really care if my name is first or second on the leaderboard. I love the opportunity.
 
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  • Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

    The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

    Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

    What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

    Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

    Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

    Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

    Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

    Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.