Ochoa Wie trail Miyazato in Mexico

By Associated PressApril 30, 2010, 3:36 am

LPGA Tour _newMORELIA, Mexico – Ai Miyazato has already won two of first four LPGA events this season, and the Japanese star is threatening to win another and spoil the going-away party for Lorena Ochoa.

Miyazato shot 10-under 63 on Thursday – her career-best score against par – to take a two-stroke, first-round lead in the Tres Marias Championship over Spanish rookie Azahara Munoz.

Top-ranked Ochoa, who will retire after this tournament, and Michelle Wie carded 66s.

Miyazato won the Evian Masters last season – her first LPGA victory – and has risen to No. 5 in the rankings. She’s short off the tee – in the 240-yard range – but she may be the most accurate player in women’s golf. She needed only 22 putts on Thursday, most in the 8-to-12 foot range.

“I don’t feel like I’m playing so much better all of a sudden,” Miyazato said. “I feel like this is just one step at a time and building up my confidence. Last year gave me a lot of confidence. Just right now I am showcasing what I can do.”

Miyazato had a 63 two months ago in Thailand in the LPGA’s opening event. That was a 9-under 63.

On Thursday, Miyazato racked up 10 birdies and didn’t drop a shot.

Ochoa asked to be paired with Miyazato and American Natalie Gulbis in the first two rounds. Ochoa grew up in junior golf with Gulbis and described Miyazato “the nicest girl on the tour.”

“I have played with her so many times since I have been on the tour, but today was really special,” Miyazato said. “Natalie and Lorena were really relaxed, so they had an effect on me and I played really relaxed.”

Ochoa, who is stepping away to raise a family and work on her charity foundation, hinted that Miyazato is a candidate to eventually take over her No. 1 ranking. There are many others, too, starting with No. 2 Jiyai Shin, No. 3 Yani Tseng and No. 4 Suzann Pettersen

“I’ve never seen somebody with so much control in her game,” Ochoa said. “It doesn’t matter if she hits long, short, or low or high.”

The surprise near the top of the leaderboard is Munoz, an LPGA rookie who is playing only her second event. But she has experience. She won the 2009 British Women’s Amateur Championship and was the NCAA individual champion in 2008 at Arizona State.

“Maybe I don’t want to feel pressure,” said Munoz, who grew up in Marbella on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. “I know everybody back home wants me to do well, and everyone is following me but I try not to think about it because it is not going to help me.”

Like everyone, Munoz was trying to adjust to Morelia’s altitude of 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), where the ball flies about 10 percent farther. And she wants to play with Ochoa over the weekend.

“I know everyone is going to be cheering for her, but I just want to play with her,” Munoz said. “I never got the chance to do it and it’s her last tournament.”

Wie and Ochoa both started with eagles on their first hole – No. 10. The scores were low with quiet morning winds and favorable flag placements. It will change if the wind blows through the canyons surrounding this mountainside course.

“There are a lot of birdies and eagles out there,” said Wie, who picked up her only LPGA victory last season in Guadalajara, Mexico. “It’s a constant grind to keep making birdies, and even if you are making birdies you’re not really above anyone else.”

Ochoa, who won this event last year for the third time, tried to play the round like any other.

“I woke up in the morning and told myself: ‘We’re here, this is the last tournament, let’s enjoy the moment,”’ Ochoa said.

“For sure I tried not to put too much pressure on myself because otherwise I’d be crying early in the day. Once I hit the golf course I tried to focus on my golf round and play a good 18 holes and then probably the emotions will come.”

Ochoa had an eagle on her first hole – the par-5 10th – hitting a 6-iron approach to 20 feet and holing the putt. Wie hit an 8-iron to 5 feet on the same hole.

Ochoa smiled when she was asked if Miyazato might spoil her final event – by winning it.

“No, I put her with me because she is my friend and it’s better to be with somebody who is playing good, believe me.”

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.