Oh Leads Ochoa Posts Even Par

By Associated PressJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- The sun was shining bright, with barely a breeze, setting up the field at Interlachen for some low first-round scores in the face of those liberally sloped greens and the longest total yardage in U.S. Womens Open history.
 
Lorena Ochoa failed to take full advantage, and Annika Sorenstam had an even harder time.
 
It was 19-year-old Ji Young Oh and 39-year-old Pat Hurst who emerged with a share of the lead on a Thursday filled with surprises.
 
Ochoa, the top-ranked player in the womens game who has won two of the past three majors, didnt make a birdie until the 14th hole during a morning of soft greens following a watering of the course the night before.
 
Its just too hard to believe, you know? Beautiful conditions, said Ochoa, who rallied with three birdies on her last five holes to finish with a par 73'six strokes behind Oh and Hurst.
 
I didnt play aggressive enough at this time, Ochoa said, and I hit the ball a little bit bad in the middle of the round. But luckily I finished with a birdie so Im feeling good right now.
 
Sorenstam, playing her final Open with retirement pending at the end of the season, walked off with a 75. She made four bogeys in a six-hole stretch and signed for her highest opening round at this major since she played in 1992 as an amateur. The 37-year-old Swede sounded positive, though, as she dissected her performance.
 
Im hitting the ball beautifully, Sorenstam said. Maybe one shot here or there that I missed. Other than that, its on the numbers. The direction, everything, it feels very, very good. So I just got to be patient.
 
I know I got the game and I love the golf course just a long ways to go.
 
Michelle Wies road back to recovery is even longer after shooting an 81.
 
Hoping to build on recent momentum after a rough couple of years on tour, Wie butchered the ninth hole on her way to a quintuple-bogey 9'lightly dinging the shaft of her putter against her head in dazed frustration.
 
She eventually regained her composure and even resorted to some gallows humor when she climbed three steps onto a dais to take questions from reporters.
 
This is my execution platform, she said with a grin.
 
Hurst was headed that way after missing yet another short putt, but she played her next seven holes in 6-under par and finished off her round of 6-under 67 with an 8-iron that rolled off the fringe to 3 feet.
 
She missed the cut in her past two events, including the LPGA Championship, which she blamed on bad putting. On greens that firmed up under the afternoon sun, Hurst stubbed a chip on the 13th for bogey and followed that by missing a 4-foot par putt.
 
Thats when she started moaning to her caddie about a vicious cycle she couldnt shake.
 
I was whining, she said. I was being a golfer.
 
Then came a 35-foot birdie putt down the hill that disappeared into the cup, and Hurst looked up at her caddie in mock disgust.
 
It just turned it all around right there, she said.
 
Hurst birdied the 16th hole, reached the par-5 18th in two with a 3-wood for a two-putt birdie, then took advantage of consecutive par 5s on the front nine. She hit a slight fade with her 7-wood up the hill to a right hole location on the par-5 second and made a 15-foot eagle, then capped off her big run with a sand wedge to another elevated green that stopped 10 feet away.
 
Hurst has been around long enough to know that a name atop the Thursday leaderboard doesnt mean much. She was thrilled, though, to see her name at all after the start she had.
 
This week I wasnt expecting much, Hurst said. I just want to go out and play the best I can. Ive been hitting the ball really well, just not scoring. If I can keep that flat stick going, its going to be good.
 
Song-Hee Kim was another shot back of the co-leaders after a 68, and Louise Friberg and reigning U.S. Womens Amateur champion Maria Jose Uribe of Colombia were at 69. Laura Davies, who won the Open in 1987 and needs one more major to get into the World Golf Hall of Fame, was in a group of five at 70.
 
Thirty-two players broke par, the most since 43 under scores were recorded in the first round of the 1999 Womens Open at Old Waverly in Mississippi. This Donald Ross design at Interlachen has five par 5s, which helps make up for the long distance.
 
Oh was in the morning group and didnt have to work too hard on the greens. All seven of her birdies were inside 10 feet, and four of them were inside 2 feet.
 
I love hitting my drivers and short irons, Oh said. And for that, I think this golf course suits my game pretty well.
 
It should suit Ochoa well, too. That expectation wasnt lost on her during a day of low scores.
 
I was just disappointed that it was not me, she said. Because it was playing fairly easy in the morning. For sure, I could have finished 2- or 3-under par and been in a better position. But I think it will come back. The U.S. Open is always tough, and Im OK where I am.
 
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.