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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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.