OHair Early Leader in Dallas

By Associated PressApril 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 EDS Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas - Sean O'Hair wants to be known for his game, not how he was pushed into the professional ranks while still in high school by an overbearing father.
 
With the way O'Hair is playing these days, his past is becoming less of the story, though it's no less disturbing.
 
O'Hair shot a season-best 5-under 65 on Thursday in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Brett Wetterich and Anders Hansen after the tournament's first round without its namesake.
 
'You don't want to be known for other stuff,' the 24-year-old O'Hair said. 'My life is in a great spot. I've got two beautiful kids I love to death and I've got a beautiful wife who does nothing but support me. ... I'm very fortunate to be in the situation that I'm in.'
 
That wasn't always the case for O'Hair, who was pushed relentlessly by his father to be a star. He used to have to run a mile for every bogey and turned pro at age 17, a year before he finished high school.
 
Wetterich's 66 included an eagle 3 on the 554-yard 16th hole when he hit his approach within 7 feet of the pin. His 20-foot birdie attempt for a share of the lead at the closing 440-yard hole at the TPC Four Seasons course slid just left of the cup.
 
One of the things Wetterich treasured about his only PGA TOUR victory was the personal congratulation he got from Nelson at the 18th green after the final round. Wetterich was the last winner to have that privilege.
 
Nelson, the champion golfer known as 'Lord Byron' and in 1968 the first to have a PGA TOUR event named after him, died Sept. 26. He was 94.
 
'It is a little sad to not see Byron there. I really miss him,' Phil Mickelson said after his round of 69. 'But I don't think he's very far away from us. We still have all the great memories he's provided.'
 
Luke Donald, with his ninth consecutive Nelson round in the 60s, and Scott Verplank were among five players tied for fourth at 67. Another dozen players posted 68s.
 
When O'Hair was the Nelson runner-up to Ted Purdy as a PGA TOUR rookie two years ago, O'Hair's story became well-publicized. But by then, he had already severed ties with his father.
 
'I kind of had my life in order. ... Once the media kind of got involved in that situation, it made it a little bit more difficult for me,' O'Hair said. 'That stuff is long gone, and it's been long gone for a long time.'
 
O'Hair said he now talks to his father 'once in a while.' While he politely described their relationship as a 'good situation,' he didn't elaborate.
 
Coming off four consecutive top-15 finishes, O'Hair got off to a good start with birdies on the opening two holes at Cottonwood Valley, the easier of the two courses used for the Nelson's first two rounds. He finished with seven birdies and two bogeys, the last on the par-3 17th after 'the one bad swing of the day' left his tee shot in the bunker.
 
Before his last four tournaments, O'Hair started the season missing five of six cuts and tied for 56th at the Nissan Open.
 
'I went back to an old instructor of mine, and things are starting to click,' O'Hair said. 'Golf is just about confidence, and it's just going out there with the feeling I'm going to play well, and that just wasn't the case at the beginning of the season.'
 
It also helped to be back at Nelson. The only place O'Hair has finished better was at the 2005 John Deere Classic in Illinois.
 
Mickelson, No. 4 in the world ranking and highest-ranked player in the field, was 4 under in his first round since the Masters before his only three bogeys came on the last four holes. Afterward, he didn't want to discuss the swing changes he's been working on with new instructor Butch Harmon.
 
'I'm pleased so far, yeah,' Mickelson said. 'I hit the ball well, gave a few shots back in the end.'
 
Mickelson, No. 7 Vijay Singh and No. 11 Donald are the only three of the top 13 players in the world playing this week. Mickelson and Singh, who also had an opening 69, are past Nelson champions.
 
Rod Pampling and Ken Duke, the 2006 Nationwide Tour champion coming off a PGA TOUR-best runner-up finish last weekend at New Orleans, were in the group at 68. Both missed chances to do better.
 
Pampling had birdies on three of his first five holes at the TPC, including a 60-foot chip-in at the 490-yard No. 3. But he had an erratic back nine with three consecutive birdies sandwiched by four bogeys, missing the green on the final two holes.
 
Duke hit his drive at TPC's No. 14 out of bounds and three-putted at the 17th.
 
DIVOTS
Hansen had a bogey-free round. ... Hank Kuehne shot a 74 in his first PGA TOUR round since THE PLAYERS Championship in March 2006 before he had surgery on his left hip. His gallery included tennis standout Venus Williams, who he is reportedly dating. They rode on a golf cart together back to the clubhouse after his round. ... Friday's rounds will be the last for the Nelson at Cottonwood Valley, which has been used every year since 1994. A multimillion dollar redesign of the TPC course begins May 10.
 
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  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


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    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”