Ryu leads with course-record 63

By Associated PressAugust 22, 2014, 2:15 am

LONDON, Ontario - On the eve of the Canadian Pacific Women's Open, So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and Inbee Park got together for dinner with some fellow South Korean golfers.

While Park picked up the tab after winning the LPGA Championship, all three benefited from the night out.

Ryu set a new course record with a 9-under 63, Choi was one shot behind her and Park three off the lead after the first round of the $2.25 million tournament at the London Hunt and Country Club. Traditional Korean food was on the menu, but Ryu credited the company, rather than the cuisine, for her strong start.

''We had a talk together to help us relax,'' Ryu said. ''Sometimes when you're hanging out with really good friends, it can make you more relaxed and enjoy the golf. Today, I really enjoyed my golf. That comes from great friendship.''

Ryu's 63 was one shy of the tournament record, and her 9-under-par total tied the best mark, set in 2009 by Song-Hee Kim. The 24-year-old made nine birdies and played a bogey-free round.

Choi chipped in three times during her morning round, and her 8-under total looked like it would stand up until Ryu got hot on the back nine. Choi knew she chipped in twice from inside of 10 yards and once from a bunker 25 yards away but had to check her scorecard to figure out how many birdies she hit.

''I felt good about my game, but I didn't really realize I had five birdies in a row,'' Choi said. ''I didn't really think about I want to birdie every hole.''

Choi credits Canadian manager Greg Morrison for her love of and strong play in Canada. Her career-best round of 62 came in last year's Manulife Financial LPGA at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario.

When Ryu saw Choi's score before she teed off, she thought 3 under would be a realistic goal for her.

''But I shot 9 under, so I'm more happy,'' Ryu said with a smile.

Swede Anna Nordqvist, who was playing with and pushed along by Ryu, was alone in third at 7 under.

''She made nine birdies today and I made seven,'' Nordqvist said. ''It gives you a lot of momentum or a lot of positive energy just seeing a lot of birdies.''

Park, who lamented missing a few 5- or 6-foot putts, was part of a group at 6 under along with Azahara Munoz, Danielle Kang and Xi Yu Lin. Other than that, she called it a ''perfect round.''

''Ball-striking was almost perfect,'' Park said. ''Everything as pretty much right on line. These greens, they didn't have much breaks in them, but I misread them, a couple of them. Hopefully I'll play a little bit better tomorrow and hole some more putts.''

Park predicted that, given the conditions of the course, she would have to be more than 20-under par to win this tournament. Choi didn't think that was realistic until she wrapped up.

''Actually I was thinking like under 15,'' Choi said. ''But after my score today, which means - if I shoot like 8 under, I think everyone could shoot like 8-under, so we will see.''

Choi left at least one shot on the course, too, as her birdie putt on No. 9 - her final hole of the day - lipped out. A tie for the lead might've done wonders for a player who hasn't won a tournament since the 2012 U.S. Open.

Ryu hasn't won in two years, so the two friends can try to help each other through.

''We kind of talk about how can we get through this one, how do we think about this situation,'' Ryu said. ''I realize I'm not the only (one going) through the hard time. That kind of conversation makes me more relieved.''

If Ryu and Choi manage to keep up this play through the weekend, one of them might pick up the tab at the next team dinner.

''I'm glad to buy a dinner for them,'' Ryu said. ''I haven't won any tournaments the last two years so I've been waiting. I wish I can win this week.''

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.