Pettersen leads Lotte Championship in Hawaii

By Associated PressApril 19, 2013, 4:44 am

KAPOLEI, Hawaii – Suzann Pettersen rebounded from her lone bogey with three back-nine birdies Thursday at windswept Ko Olina to take the second-round lead in the LPGA Lotte Championship.

The 32-year-old Norwegian, a 10-time LPGA Tour winner ranked sixth in the world, shot a 3-under 69 in the challenging conditions in her afternoon round to reach 10-under 134.

''I said, 'Par isn't going to hurt me today,''' Pettersen said. ''So, decent day. It was tough. It was tough to play solid golf. It was tough to kind of get the right club to my hand at all times.''

Defending champion Ai Miyazato was a stroke back after a 68 in the morning session. The Japanese player, a nine-time winner on the LPGA Tour, had five birdies in a late six-hole stretch.


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''It was definitely windier than yesterday, so it was pretty tough out there,'' Miyazato said. ''I grew up in the wind and I like to play in this wind. This morning when I get to the golf course I'm like, 'Now I'm in Hawaii.' Hawaii is always windy place and always fun to play this weather conditions.''

Pettersen got to 8 under with a birdie on the par-3 fourth, then dropped two strokes behind Miyazato with a bogey on the par-4 10th. The European Solheim Cup star rebounded with a tap-in birdie on the par-4 11th, made a 12-footer on the par-5 13th and a 15-footer on the par-3 16th.

''Overall, it's been very fair conditions to the entire field today,'' Pettersen said. ''I think it was blowing quite hard in the early morning, and I think it's been pretty steady throughout the day. At least the entire field has kind of played under the same conditions. It was definitely pretty tough out there. The range is the most exposed part, so warming up was almost the toughest.''

She had consecutive victories late last season in South Korea and Taiwan and won a Ladies European Tour event last month in China.

''The closer I get to Asia, the better I feel with my game,'' Pettersen said. ''I am just really trying to take advantage of being as close to Asia as I can and try to bring it closer toward the mainland.''

Spain's Beatriz Recari, the Kia Classic winner last month, was three strokes back along with South Koreans Hyo Joo Kim and Hee Kyung Seo. Recari, paired with Pettersen, shot 70. She had a share of the lead with Miyazato at 9 under after birdies on Nos. 11 and 12, but bogeyed Nos. 13 and 16 to fall back.

Kim, the 17-year-old who played in a group with 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn and 15-year-old New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko, had a 71, and Seo shot 72.

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis was alone at 6 under after a 71.

''We were warming up at 6:30, 7 in the morning and the wind is howling,'' Lewis said. ''I mean, going into the day sitting on the range, you knew it was going to be hard. You just had to fight for every shot. You couldn't really try to make too many birdies. You just had to kind of take some putts if they came and grind out a few pars. Anything under par today, I think, is a good score.''

The winner of consecutive events this year in Singapore and Phoenix, Lewis played the first two rounds with Miyazato.

''I think the best thing about her is she doesn't let a bad shot get to her,'' Lewis said. ''She'll make a bogey and be OK with that, because she knows she can make some birdies.''

Playing the front nine last, Miyazato began her birdie spree with a 12-foot putt on the par-4 third, made a 25-footer on the par-3 fourth, and followed with a 10-footer on the par-5 fifth. After a par on the par-4 sixth, she holed out from 12 feet on the par-4 seventh and rolled in a 20-footer on the par-3 eighth.

''I just have a good feeling with this golf course,'' Miyazato said.

Jutanugarn, the first-round leader after a 64, had a 75 to fall to 5 under.

''I hit a lot of bad shots today,'' she said. ''I cannot control my irons and I still miss a lot short putts.''

Top-ranked Inbee Park, coming off a victory two weeks in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, was 3 under after a 71.

Ko was 2 under after her second straight 71. She won the Canadian Open in August to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner. The South Korea-born Ko has two other pro victories, the New South Wales Open last year and New Zealand Women's Open this year, and won the U.S. Women's Amateur last season.

Third-ranked Yani Tseng, winless in more than year, was 1 under after a 72.

Local favorite Michelle Wie followed her opening 70 with a 76 to make the cut by a stroke.


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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."