Park leads S.Y. Kim by 2 in KPMG

By Associated PressJune 14, 2015, 12:45 am

HARRISON, N.Y. - South Korean stars Inbee Park and Sei Yong Kim added another chapter to their friendly rivalry on Saturday.

Park shot a 7-under 66 and overtook Kim on the final hole to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

Kim, a rookie who came into the day with a one-stroke lead, shot a 69. The two had battled all afternoon and went into the final hole at 13 under par. But Park, who needed just 28 putts Saturday, made her seventh birdie of the day on 18, and Kim missed a 4-foot putt for par.

The 26-year-old Park said her experience in winning this tournament each of the last two years may give her a bit of an advantage Sunday over her 22-year-old countrywoman. Kim has won twice this season, but will be looking for her first major championship on Sunday.

"It feels like the first time is always hard, always hard to do and it puts extra pressure on yourself," Park said. "But when you're trying to do the second, third time in a row, it just feels like you've done your homework already. So you feel a little bit more relaxed and you kind of know how it feels like and how it's going to play like."

Kim said she plans to use the bogey on the 18th as "medicine" on Sunday to help her get better.

She also has a recent history that should give her some confidence. Kim beat Park at the Lotte Open in Hawaii by chipping in to force a playoff and holing out from 154 yards on the first sudden-death hole.


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"Well, that's a past story," Kim said. "I want to write a new story tomorrow."

A win here could allow Park to catch top-ranked Lydia Ko in the rankings. Ko missed the cut on Friday, ending her streak of 53 consecutive made cuts.

Park could also tie Annika Sorenstam (2003-05), who is the only golfer who has claimed this title in three consecutive years, an accomplishment Park would list among the most impressive in her career.

"I have to say it would be pretty close to winning three majors in a row," she said. "That was my biggest accomplishment ever in my career, but if I'm able to do this tomorrow, I think that will definitely be like tied for first."

Kim and Park will go into Sunday with some separation from the rest of the pack. Suzann Pettersen and 17-year-old Canadian sensation Brooke Henderson each shot a 71. They ended tied with Hall of Famer Karrie Webb for third place at 8 under par, six strokes back of Park.

Henderson is attempting to become the youngest winner of a major championship. She is also looking for a win that would assure her a spot on the tour next year after being denied an age exemption.

"This year is definitely a learning experience for me," she said. "It's a year where I'm trying to play my best and get my card for next year ... whether it's the money list or the win this year, or go to Q-School. My goal is to have full status next year."

At the other end of the spectrum is Webb. The 40-year-old is attempting to become the second-oldest winner in the 60-year history of the event. Webb was in second place to start the day, but had to overcome bogeys on her first two holes to shoot a 72. She will be trying to win her eighth major.

"If I had told you I was going to shoot 1 under today, I wouldn't have thought I was going to be six behind," she said. "It's going to take a big round tomorrow from me and probably some help from the leaders.

Pettersen is on a hot streak after winning last week in Ontario, for her 15th tour victory, her first since October 2013.

Morgan Pressel is in sixth place. She went 5 under on the back nine to finish a round of 69, including an eagle after on 18.

"When I got to the 18th tee and I saw that the tee was moved up a little bit, plus it was downwind, I said to my caddie, I said definitely we can get there today if we hit a good drive and I did," she said.

Brittany Lincicome, who won the first LPGA major of the year at the ANA Inspiration, moved into contention and a three-way tie for seventh place.

After dropping two strokes the first eight holes, she made five consecutive birdies on the ninth through 13 holes. The 29-year-old American picked up a sixth on the 15th hole and had a birdie putt lip out on No. 17. She finished with a 69.

"I always like to be coming from behind," she said. "I don't like leading after two or three rounds because it makes me more nervous, I have to do more interviews and there's more attention, so if I'm coming from behind and chasing people, it seems to be more of my comfort zone."

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... 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."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.