Piller takes 2-shot lead in Texas

By Associated PressApril 30, 2016, 11:51 pm

IRVING, Texas - Gerina Piller took a two-stroke lead Saturday in the LPGA's Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, putting her in position for a breakthrough victory in her home event.

Winless in 123 career starts, the 31-year-old Piller shot a bogey-free 4-under 67 to reach 14-under 199 at Las Colinas Country Club.

''It is a big deal, but to me it's not a big deal,'' Piller said. ''The golf ball doesn't know that I'm in the lead. So I just try to kind of dumb it down for myself and control the things I can do and that's myself, and being calm and being confident and committed. ... I still have the same mentality.

''I've got to go out there and I'm going to play aggressive, play smart and play committed.''

South Korean players held the next four spots on the leaderboard. Amy Yang (65) and Mi Jung Hur (66) were tied for second at 12 under, and Jenny Shin (65) and Sei Young Kim (68) were 10 under.

Piller lives in Plano, about 20 miles from Las Colinas. The long-hitting U.S. Solheim Cup hero grew up in Roswell, New Mexico, and played at the University Texas-El Paso.

A number of friends from high school and college joined her family - led by her husband, PGA Tour player Martin Piller - on the course following her. Martin Piller was back in town after missing the cut in the Zurich Classic in Louisiana.

''It would be awesome, it would be ideal,'' Piller said about the possibility of winning in front of her family and friends. ''But the cool thing about it is no matter how I play tomorrow, I know that they're going to be proud of me and we're going to go back and hang out and they're not going to think anything different of me, so it's pretty cool to have that support.''

Piller hit to 4 feet to set up a birdie on the par-4 second, then birdied three straight par 5s - two-putting No. 3 and making a 5-footer on No. 7 and a 10-footer on No. 10. She parred the final eight holes.

''I felt like I gave myself opportunities,'' Piller said. ''Had some great shots, just couldn't get some putts to fall. These greens are pretty tricky and they have a lot of slope to them so you definitely have to give them respect. But I don't feel like I kind of like barely got by with eight pars, I felt like I could have been a lot lower. So, definitely a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.''

Piller has hit 52 of 54 greens in regulation, with the two misses coming in the first round. She tied for third last week in California in the Swinging Skirts for her third straight top-six finish.

''Last week, just because I didn't win, I still consider that a winning performance for me,'' Piller said. ''I felt like I played well. I just wasn't good enough.''

Hur also lives in the area in McKinney. She finished the second round Saturday morning.

''My body feels a little bit tired, but we had a rest between the teeing off the third round so we recover the body conditions and everything,'' Hur said.

Yang had the best round of the day.

''Shot and putting both together,'' Yang said. ''I hit it very solid out there and I made some putts. I left some putts short right in the heart.''

Fifth-ranked Brooke Henderson had a 73 to drop into a tie for 19th at 3 under. The 18-year-old Canadian has eight straight top-10 finishes.

Amateurs Cheyenne Knight and Karah Sanford were among the 53 players to advance to the final round in the event that features two cuts.

Knight, a 19-year-old University of Alabama freshman from nearby Aledo, was tied for 26th at 2 under after a 72. The 14-year-old Sanford, a high school freshman from San Diego, was tied for 46th at even par after a 71.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.