Pak Maintains Office Depot Lead

By Associated PressApril 6, 2002, 5:00 pm
LOS ANGELES - Se Ri Pak, usually playing in the shadow of Annika Sorenstam, will have a chance to take the spotlight when the two go head-to-head in the final round of the Office Depot Championship.
Pak, widening her lead with an eagle on the hole she double bogeyed a day earlier, shot her second consecutive 4-under 68 Saturday to take a three-stroke lead over Sorenstam after two rounds of the 54-hole tournament.
Sorenstam, who came from 10 shots back on the last day to win last year, was second at 5-under 139 after a 68.
Laura Diaz, whose 69 left her four shots behind Pak, will be the third player in the final threesome on Sunday.
Pak is pleased to be playing the last 18 holes with Sorenstam.
'I always want to play with the best players to get better,' the South Korean star said. 'She's such a great player and I'm working to play as well as she does. I'm not going to try too hard and push myself too much tomorrow, though.'
Sorenstam, sounding a bit intimidating, said she intended to play aggressively.
'Hopefully I will be paired with her (Pak) so I can put pressure on her,' the 31-year-old Swede said before the final group was set for the last round. 'I hope I get off to a good start with birdies, but it will depend on what she does.
'I will be able to see what she does close up. I will know exactly what she does, and if I need to play more aggressively. I have come here to win, not to be tentative.'
Sorenstam also noted that players behind them are still a threat. That would include Diaz, whose victory two weeks ago in Tucson, Ariz., was her first on the tour.
Michelle Estill, whose lone LPGA win came in her rookie year of 1991, had a 70 that left her five shots behind Pak.
The 24-year-old Pak, the LPGA's rookie of the year in 1998 and winner of 13 titles - including three majors - in her brief career, is playing her third event of the year and looking for her first 2002 win.
She realizes she is not yet regarded as being on the same level as Sorenstam and 27-year-old Karrie Webb, the tour's dominant players in recent years, but believes she's getting close.
'I'm younger than them and haven't played long enough on the LPGA,' Pak said. 'The best thing is for me to work as hard as I can and do the best I can and someday soon I will be at their level.'
The first-day leader in the tournament at El Caballero Country Club, Pak seemed to be faltering during the second round when she hit her tee shot into a bunker and bogeyed the 160-yard, par-3 16th.
She quickly regained her composure.
On the 463-yard, par-5 No. 17, where she had hit in the water and three-putted from 11 feet for a 7 the previous day, she hit a good drive, stroked her 9-iron onto the fringe 18 feet from the pin, then rolled in the winding putt for an eagle 3.
Pak finished the round with five birdies - after having seven the first day - and the lone bogey.
Sorenstam tied Mickey Wright's 37-year-old LPGA record for overcoming the biggest final-round deficit in a victory when she came from 10 shots back with a 66 last year. Sorenstam overtook struggling leader Pat Hurst, who shot 77, then beat Mi Hyun Kim on the first hole of a playoff.
That 2001 tournament was played on a different course, Wilshire Country Club, but Sorenstam, who has won twice this year and has 33 career victories, seems entirely comfortable playing at El Caballero, which is in suburban Tarzana.
Like Pak, Sorenstam also had five birdies and one bogey during the second round.
Sorenstam is coming off her fourth win in a major, successfully defending her title in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Pak, however, has been steady when she's leading on the final day. She has been in front 11 times to begin the final round and won all but two of those, finishing seventh once and third another time. Sorenstam has come from behind to win 11 of her 33 titles.
Wendy Doolan, tied with Tonya Gill one shot behind Pak after the first round, shot 74 to fall seven shots behind. Gill had a 75. Webb was in a group at 1 over after a 71.
Full-field scores from The Office Depot Hosted by Amy Alcott
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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.