Pressel grabs share of lead in Maui

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
Kapalua LPGA ClassicKAPALUA, Hawaii ' Morgan Pressel moved into position for her first LPGA victory of the year, shooting a 5-under 67 on Saturday for a share of the third-round lead in the Kapalua LPGA Classic.
 
The 20-year-old Pressel, Kapaluas touring pro, was tied with Brittany Lang (71), Carin Koch (68), Jee Young Lee (70) at 5-under 211.
 
Pressel missed an easy opportunity to move to 6 under for the outright lead when she lipped out a 2-foot birdie putt on the final hole. She slapped herself on the rear and threw her putter onto her golf bag in disgust as she walked off the green.
 
Its hard to walk off the last hole like that, Pressel said. I just missed it. Nothing else to say about that.
 
There was a traffic jam at the top with 16 players within three shots of the lead.
 
Sun Young Yoo, Laura Diaz and Il Mi Chung shot 71s and were one stroke off the lead along with first-round leader Suzann Pettersen (72). Heather Young (67), Cristie Kerr (70) and Alena Sharp (72) were 3 under.
 
Conditions at the hilly, pine tree-lined Bay Course were windy, causing problems around the greens. However, the trades were not as strong as the two previous rounds, allowing for more birdie chances.
 
Pressel, who hasnt finished in the top 10 since June, surged to the top of the leaderboard after pitching in for eagle on the short par-5 15th from 45 feet and hitting a firm 7-wood tee off the tees to a foot on the 186-yard 17th.
 
She began the day at even par and ran into trouble in the middle of her round with bogeys on Nos. 9 and 10, but got right back on track by birdieing No. 11.
 
Koch, winless since the 2005 Corona Morelia Championship, birdied three of her final four holes to reach 5 under for a share of the lead.
 
Lang reached 5 under by tapping in for birdie on the 454-yard, par-5 15th, the easiest hole at the Bay Course. Lang bogeyed two of her first three holes.
 
The 23-year-old former Duke star has four top-10 finishes this year, including a fifth-place tie at Longs Drugs Challenge last week.
 
Lee, who has three top-10 finishes this year, birdie the final hole.
 
Pettersen set the pace early with two birdies in the first five holes to get to 6 under for a two-stroke lead over several players.
 
She seemed confident in the wind, sticking her tee shot 5 feet for birdie on the 156-yard fifth, a scenic hole which runs along the churning ocean.
 
Pettersen unraveled, however, starting with a three-putt bogey on the par-5 sixth where several of her shots came up short. While standing on the seventh tee box, a frustrated Petteren had a few words for her caddie.
 
She momentarily fell into a six-way tie for the lead at 4 under when she bogeyed the par-4 ninth but made up for it on the next hole with a nice wedge shot to about 6 feet to reach 5 under.
 
Pettersen, seeking her first win of the year after five in 2007, fell off the pace when she when she couldnt go up-and-down on the par-3 17th after her tee shot found the greenside bunker. She was visibly upset with her play, slamming her iron in the grass a few times on the back nine.
 
Annika Sorenstam, who opened with a 77, shot a 71 and was at 2 over. The 72-time LPGA winner is making one of her last competitive appearances in the United States before leaving the tour at the end of the year.
 
Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was even par after a 73.
 
I really didnt make any putts to get some momentum going, Ochoa said. I think the grain is easy to read. Its more about the wind and some of those greens are really windy.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.