Pettersen Ochoa Set for Showdown

By Associated PressOctober 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Longs Drugs ChallengeDANVILLE, California -- Nothing like a perfect chip from 35 yards for a second eagle to provide some momentum heading into the back nine.
 
Suzann Pettersen made the shot of the day on what turned out to be a dramatic ninth hole for a twosome also featuring world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, finishing with a season-best 8-under 64 Saturday for the lead in the Longs Drugs Challenge.
 
'It's nice,' Pettersen said. 'I finally chipped in. It's been a while. It's about time. ... This is where I want to be. It's what you practice for, what you grind for.'
 
Pettersen, the 26-year-old Norwegian who won the Michelob Ultra Open in May for her first LPGA Tour title and took the McDonald's LPGA Championship in June for her first major victory, had a 12-under 204 total for a one-stroke lead over Canadian Lorie Kane (67). Ochoa (67) was another stroke behind at 10 under.
 
'All the butterflies were flying in sequence,' Kane said.
 
Pettersen matched the tournament record, last set by Jeong Jang in the first round in 2006. After an opening 75, Pettersen had a 65 on Friday and added the 64 Saturday for the lowest two-round stretch in the event's 12-year history (129).
 
'Golf is a weird game,' Pettersen said, grinning.
 
Juli Inkster's 71 got her to 5 under and defending champion Karrie Webb (74) was one stroke behind Inkster to round out the top five on the leaderboard after the late groups were held up about 40 minutes on the 16th tee. The slow play made for 5-hour rounds.
 
'It's hard to keep the flow going,' said Pettersen, who seemed to keep her focus just fine.
 
She's been chasing Ochoa on every major LPGA Tour list: wins, money, player of the year. Not this weekend.
 
'It's been a great year for both of us,' Ochoa said.
 
Ochoa went for it in the third round, just as she planned for what she describes as 'moving day' in the third round. That strategy sure has been working well recently for the 25-year-old star from Mexico, and she is trying for a fourth LPGA Tour victory in her last five events.
 
She played an interesting ninth in which her approach shot hooked left into some flowers just below a member tent along the green. Pettersen's eagle drew roars from the large gallery and she waved and tossed her ball to a young boy before grabbing a snack while she waited on Ochoa. It took Ochoa about 10 minutes, a trip beneath the tent and a call to an official before her drop was determined, with help from the fans sitting only a few feet above.
 
'Andale!' -- the Spanish phrase for hurry up -- hollered one person anxious for play to resume.
 
'That (shot) got me a little upset, and Suzann made that chip -- perfect,' Ochoa said. 'It's much better seeing that on Saturday than Sunday.'
 
She chipped to about 10 feet of the pin only to miss her birdie putt and then save par. Ochoa waved to those same fans in the tent before heading out for the final nine on a spectacular fall day in this upscale gated community in the East Bay suburb of San Francisco.
 
The black cows that graze near some of the final holes were calm, but two deer hung out at the 18th tee late in the day on the hilly Lakeside Course at Blackhawk Country Club.
 
Kane's short putt for birdie and a share of the lead on No. 16 skidded around the edge of the cup, and she had to settle for saving par. Kane and Ochoa each birdied No. 18.
 
Ochoa wasted no time grabbing the day's early lead when she birdied her first three holes and four of the first five, but she had two bogeys on the back nine and looked discouraged at times on a day after she said she had 'nothing going.'
 
'First of all, you don't expect anything less from Lorena,' Pettersen said of her opponent's fast start. 'Today, it felt like she pushed me, which is nice. When you get paired with good friends and good players, you can push each other.'
 
Ochoa committed herself to being more aggressive, and followed through beautifully from her first tee shot that landed in a bunker. She hit her approach shot out of the sand trap and within 10 feet of the hole, examined the green from several angles before calmly sinking the birdie putt.
 
'It was a really good day, especially at the start,' Ochoa said. 'The first three holes, three birdies. I thought it was going to be a really low round. ... I'm feeling good, in a good position and I can't wait to get to tomorrow.'
 
That birdie tied her for the lead, and Ochoa pumped her fist -- with a crowd of supporters from her native Mexico cheering her the whole way for the third straight day.
 
'Lorena!' one man yelled after her successful third hole.
 
'Lorena started really hot,' said Pettersen, only the sixth player this season to make two eagles in a round after also getting one on No. 5. 'This course sets up for eagles.'
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


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    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''