Ochoa Turns it Around Bastel Leads

By Associated PressJune 5, 2008, 4:00 pm
McDonalds LPGAHAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- Lorena Ochoa had sufficiently recovered from a double bogey and was slowly making her way up the leaderboard Thursday in the McDonalds LPGA Championship when she stopped to ask a question on her way to the next tee.
 
What did Annika shoot today? she asked.
 
Told that Sorenstam had a 2-under 70 in the morning, Ochoa nodded her head.
 
Then she made sure she was one better.
 
Ochoa didnt finish in the lead, but she was close enough to be satisfied with her start. Four birdies on her flawless back nine at Bulle Rock gave her a 3-under 69, leaving Ochoa three shots behind Lorie Kane of Canada and Emily Bastel as she tries to become only the fourth woman to win three straight majors.
 
Today was important just not to get away too far from the leaders, and thats why Im so happy that I did, Ochoa said. Three under for the first day of a major is good, even though I had the double bogey. And hopefully, tomorrow Ill have a great round.
 
Neither of the leaders have had a top 10 all year, and Kane has struggled to make cuts. But they found their way across a long and soggy golf course, with took on so much rain overnight that fairways felt like carpet in a home that had been flooded.
 
Am I surprised by a low round? I knew it was in me, and I know I have a lot more of those, Kane said. I know its a long way to Sunday, but I am encouraged by whats been happening the last few weeks.
 
Bastel finished her bogey-free 66 with a hybrid into 12 feet for birdie on the 18th hole, one of two holes where the tees were moved up some 30 yards to accommodate the wet conditions.
 
She won the Futures Tour money title a year ago, and is slowly making progress.
 
Its exciting to have this happen, said Bastel, playing in only her sixth major. Early in the week, just try to enjoy it and keep it going.
 
Lindsey Wright had a 67 and was one shot behind, followed by a group at 68 that included Nicole Castrale.
 
Ochoa seems to always know the score, and she didnt stop with her question about Sorenstam.
 
She gazed at an electronic board behind the seventh green, her 16th of the day, to size up the competition and make sure they were not getting too far away. A year ago, Ochoa plodded along around par until she was too far back to make a move.
 
Perhaps she inquired about Sorenstam because she never saw the Swedes name on the board. Sorenstam certainly had her chances, but couldnt convert several birdie putts inside 12 feet.
 
Hit the ball beautifully today, said Sorenstam, a three-time LPGA champion in her final year on tour. Just didnt make some putts today, unfortunately. But Im very, very happy with my game.
 
Ochoa went wire-to-wire to win at St. Andrews to win her first major at the Womens British Open, and she was atop the leaderboard the final three rounds of the Kraft Nabisco for her second in a row.
 
But she was on the ropes early at Bulle Rock.
 
Ochoa hooked her tee shot into waist-high native grasses on the 13th, so deep in the rough that even taking two club lengths for an unplayable lie did not give her a shot. After conferring with a rules official, she walked some 50 yards back in a line with the green, dropping in the rough near the 11th fairway. She wound up with a double bogey, 2 over after four holes.
 
It happened early in the round, and I knew I had a lot of holes left, Ochoa said. I was feeling good. I didnt get too stressed. I just thought, Make a couple of birdies on the front and finish even, and then 3 under on the back. So I did that.
 
She got back to even par with a 40-foot birdie on the 18th, then birdied the third and fourth holes from 12 feet.
 
By then, Ochoa was in a rhythm of fairways and greens, picking up her last birdie on the par-5 eighth with a 5-wood into 20 feet and an eagle putt that hung on the lip.
 
Bastel handled the length of the course just fine, picking up two birdies with metal clubs'the hybrid on the 18th and a 7-wood to 12 feet on the 13th hole'and the only downer was coping with a nasty cold.
 
Kane, a popular Canadian with a big smile, has gone seven years since her last victory and was starting to wonder what was wrong. A month ago at the Michelob Ultra Open, she wasnt aware that sports psychologist Bob Rotella was watching her along the back nine. He told her she was doing fine, and when the putts started falling, they would fall in bunches.
 
She made four from the 10-foot range, chipped in for birdie on the 13th and picking up much-needed confidence along the way.
 
This is a major week for Kane for two reasons'after the LPGA Championship, she will try to qualify for the U.S. Womens Open. Kanes caddie asked her if she wanted to take a free pass from the pro-am and practice on the qualifying courses.
 
She declined.
 
Im here to win the McDonalds, and Im preparing for that, she said. Im going to worry about Monday when Monday comes.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.