Pettersen Maintains Lead in Thailand

By Associated PressOctober 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
  PATTAYA CITY, Thailand -- Suzann Pettersen holed a 115-yard wedge shot for eagle on the par-4 13th and birdied the 18th to maintain a two-stroke lead Friday in the Honda LPGA Thailand, her fourth straight tour round atop the leaderboard.
 
Chasing her third victory in four weeks, Pettersen shot a 4-under 68 for an 11-under 133 total after two warm days at Siam Country Club.
 
'It's another great day on the golf course,' Pettersen said. 'Not too windy. Comfortable temperature. Not so steamy. I'm just trying to play each hole like what they give me. A lot of good shots today and a lot of good putts.'
 
Canadian Alena Sharp, winless in two full seasons on the tour, matched Pettersen's 68 to hold the second spot. Laura Davies was third, four strokes back at 7 under. She eagled the 18th for a 66, matching the best round of the day on the Pattaya Old Course.
 
Paula Creamer shot a 66, too, birdieing three of the last five holes to join Joo Mi Kim (67) and Angela Park (70) at 6 under.
 
Pettersen birdied the par-5 first to get to 8 under, but made four birdies with four bogeys in a nine-hole stretch in persistent light rain that left her back at 8 under as she played the key 13th.
 
'I have a little work to do when I get back to the range, just adjust a few things. I just have to kind of hang in there,' Pettersen said. 'You have a lot of opportunities out there, so you have to take the mistakes and bounce forward.'
 
The warm conditions are in contrast to the cold and wind she faced last week in her victory in South Korea. She has four LPGA Tour victories this year, also won in Norway, and has held at least a share of the lead in seven of her last 10 tour rounds.
 
'I just try to play this week as hard as I can and play smart and we'll see how it comes out,' Pettersen said. 'I feel like I'm playing well. I have a lot of confidence.'
 
Coming off a second-place finish Sunday in a Japanese tour event, Creamer had seven birdies and a bogey after making three birdies and three bogeys in her opening 72.
 
'I putted better than today, but yesterday I hit the ball better,' Creamer said.' Tomorrow, I have to hit a lot of greens and make a lot of putts.'
 
Defending champion Hee-Won Han, making her first start since the birth of her first child this summer, had a 70 to top a group at 5 under.
 
Annika Sorenstam followed her opening 72 with a 68 to reach the halfway point at 4 under. The 10-time major champion had an early birdie-double bogey-birdie stretch, then birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to get to 2 under and picked up strokes on 13 and 15.
 
Winless since September 2006, she's making only her 11th tour start in a season marked by a long break because of neck and back injuries.
 
Catriona Matthew and Kraft Nabisco winner Morgan Pressel rebounded from opening 75s. Matthew was 3 under after a 66, and Pressel's 68 left her at 1 under.
 
Former Duke star Virada Nirapathpongporn topped the five Thai players in the field, shooting a 71 to reach 1 under. Onnarin Sattayabanphot (71) was even par, and 11-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 74 to fall to 5 over.
 
Se Ri Pak and Japanese star Ai Miyazato struggled. Pak was 7 over after a 78, and Miyazato's 80 left her 59th in the 60-player field at 15 over.
 
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.