Pressel second after run at 59 fizzles

By Associated PressMarch 21, 2014, 2:55 am

PHOENIX - Morgan Pressel's bid for history ended Thursday in a tangled desert bush. She settled for the second spot on the crowded leaderboard in the JTBC Founders Cup.

Golf's magic number of 59 in range after she played the first 11 holes in 9 under, Pressel bogeyed the next two holes and closed with five pars for a 7-under 65.

''I don't know if I was necessarily thinking 59, but I probably just got a little bit excited, because I had never been that many under par in that short of a span,'' Pressel said. ''I just got a little bit quick and came back to earth.''

She ended up a stroke behind Mirim Lee at Desert Ridge.

After birdieing Nos. 1 and 2 - her 10th and 11th holes - to reach 9 under, Pressel pulled her drive left on the par-4 third. Her ball lodged at the base of a short bush, with the bulk of the branches between the right-hander and the ball. There were burrowing animal holes near the ball, but they didn't interfere with a possible swing or stance.

''I could have hit it left-handed and there were a couple of burrowing animal holes around,'' Pressel said. ''I brought them (rules officials) over to ask, but I didn't honestly think that I was going to get relief and I don't think that I deserved it.''

Pressel took an unplayable lie and missed the green to the right, chipped to 7 feet and made the putt to save bogey. She also dropped a stroke on the par-3 fourth, missing a 15-footer after hitting another iron to the right.

''It wasn't the finish that I would have hoped for, but it gives me a little bit of confidence knowing how many birdies I can make and I'm capable of,'' Pressel said.

She was 6 under after six holes, birdieing the first four and making a 50-footer for eagle on the par-5 15th. She also birdied the par-3 17th and made the turn in 7-under 29.

''I don't know that I've ever gotten off to that hot of a start,'' Pressel said.

Annika Sorenstam shot the only 59 in LPGA Tour history in the 2001 Standard Register Ping at nearby Moon Valley. Ai Miyazato holds the record in the 4-year-old Founders Cup, shooting a 63 in the first round last year.

A tour regular since she was 17, Pressel, 25, won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco to become the youngest women's major champion. She also won the 2008 Kapalua LPGA.

''I definitely feel like I have the ability to win again,'' Pressel said.

Lee also started on No. 10 and nearly matched Pressel's start, playing her opening nine in 6-under 30. She had three birdies and a bogey on the front side for a 64.

''Everything was good,'' said Lee, making her third LPGA start.

Defending champion Stacy Lewis, top-ranked Inbee Park and Michelle Wie were two strokes back at 66 along with 2011 winner Karrie Webb, Eun-Hee Ji, Catriona Matthew, Gerina Piller and Pernilla Lindberg.

''A lot of tee shots set up well for me,'' Lewis said. ''They fit my eye.''

Coming off a victory two weeks ago in China in a Ladies European Tour event, Park birdied the final three holes. She closed with a tap-in birdie on the par-4 ninth after nearly holing a full pitching wedge.

''It was a very solid round,'' Park said. ''Very good irons.''

Wie eagled the par-5 fifth.

''I hit 3-wood, 5-iron over the green and then chipped in,'' Wie said.

Sixteen-year-old Lydia Ko opened with a 67. Playing alongside Park, Ko closed with a bogey after driving left into the desert.

''I forgot to bring my food and my protein bars,'' Ko said. ''That's my excuse.''

Park had six LPGA victories last season, sweeping the first three majors, and became the first South Korean to win the player of the year award. She took a break after the season and skipped the first two events this year, returning with a second-place finish in Thailand and a tie for fourth in Singapore.

''I was a little bit exhausted last year after all the things happened,'' Park said.

Paula Creamer, a playoff winner three weeks ago in Singapore in the last LPGA event, shot 70. She had a double bogey on the par-4 eighth, her 17th hole.

''Just one bad swing on the tee shot and hit in the hazard,'' Creamer said.

DIVOTS: Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, shot 71. The Phoenix player won the LET's Australian Ladies Masters last month. ... The Semper Fi Fund said The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will match Cristie Kerr's tour earnings this year to help injured and critically ill service members and their families. She shot 73. ... The scoring average was 70.863. The Arnold Palmer-designed front nine played to an average of 35.917 and the Nick Faldo-designed back nine to an average of 34.946.

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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.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.