Ochoa Trails Webb Kane

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Longs Drugs ChallengeDANVILLE, California -- Lorena Ochoa took her putter back on the 16th green as a black cow grazing on the dry hillside behind her let out a noisy 'moo.'
 
Ochoa made the 6-footer to save par after her tee shot ended up in a bunker, then birdied No. 17 to reach 5 under Friday on the second day of the Longs Drugs Challenge, leaving her a stroke behind defending champion Karrie Webb and Canadian Lorie Kane.
 
'Everybody was laughing a lot,' Ochoa said after her 2-under 70. 'The gallery has been really fun. That save on 16 and the birdie on 17 really changed my day. ... Today was like a mental game for me because I had nothing going.'
 
Webb and Kane shot 69s to finish at 6 under.
 
Ochoa, the 25-year-old Mexican and top-ranked woman in the world, is still in great shape for the weekend rounds at Blackhawk Country Club. She is trying not only to become the first female to win $3 million in a single season but also capture a fourth title in her last five events.
 
'Tomorrow is a big day, moving day,' said Ochoa, who headed for the putting green after her round to get in some extra work. 'I'm going to try to be a little more aggressive, especially with my putting, just giving myself chances.'
 
Hall of Famer Juli Inkster (66), Se Ri Pak (71), Suzann Pettersen (65) and Charlotte Mayorkas (67) were two strokes back of the leaders heading into Saturday's third round. They all know that will make for exciting golf with so many talented players bunched together at the top.
 
'It's packed,' Inkster said. 'You've just got to keep making birdies and see how you do on the weekend. If I keep playing the way I'm playing, I should be OK.'
 
Pettersen had the best round of the day to climb the leaderboard after starting the day 3 over.
 
'Still, I'm not totally satisfied how my putting is,' she said. 'It's improved and I've adjusted a few things on my swing. It's an improvement. A nice comeback.'
 
Ochoa, wearing pink like most of the players as part of breast cancer awareness month, had plenty of supporters in the gallery despite playing in a group with Northern California native and fan favorite Natalie Gulbis.
 
A man waved a Mexican flag when Ochoa teed off early Friday afternoon, while another draped a flag over his shoulders. One man wore a Mexican soccer jersey and a flag bandanna around his head.
 
'Viva, Mexico!' someone yelled after her great approach shot on the ninth hole to complete a solid front nine.
 
'Mexicans are all over in California and this area,' Ochoa said. 'They're ready to be here on the weekend and bring their families and support me. It's great. It feels really good and gives me extra motivation.'
 
Ochoa cut the corner on her first shot with a drive to the right that cleared the trees for 290 yards for a great position on the par-5, 505-yard hole. She just missed a tough eagle putt after hitting her 4-iron from 195 yards within 15 feet.
 
Maria Hjorth (69), coming off her tour win last week in the inaugural Navistar LPGA Classic last weekend in Prattville, Ala., was 2 under, while Inbee Park -- a co-leader after the first day with Pat Hurst -- shot a second-day 75 to also sit at 2 under.
 
Kane entered the tournament ranked 91st on the money list and the top 90 after this event will receive full exemptions for 2008.
 
'I started off today with a bogey, and a couple of months ago had I done that I probably would have jumped in the river,' Kane said.
 
Kristy McPherson (69) was a surprise at 3 under after a strong second-day effort by the American.
 
'What's the worst I can do, not win? I've been doing that all year,' she said as she finished up her day on the ninth hole. 'I stayed away from mistakes, stayed away from bogies. I finished solid. I came out today and kept it simple.'
 
Paula Creamer made the cut, but not without frustration. She cursed along the way, while another in her threesome -- fellow American Morgan Pressel -- kicked her bag in frustration before pounding it with her club on No. 8. Pressel pulled her drive left into the hazard and was upset she couldn't play out of it and had to settle for a drop.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.