Kim sets course record at Women's Aussie; Ko 7 back

By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2016, 11:31 am

ADELAIDE, Australia – Canadian-based South Korean SooBin Kim shot a course-record 9-under 63 on Thursday to leave defending champion and top-ranked Lydia Ko seven strokes behind at the Women's Australian Open.

Kim's bogey-free opening round came after starting on the 10th hole of The Grange's West course. She had a three-stroke lead over American Casey Grice and Germany's Caroline Masson.

Five-time champion Karrie Webb was in a group with 67s, four behind.

Ko, who won last year's title at Royal Melbourne, bogeyed two holes on her first nine after starting on the 10th, but the New Zealander had three birdies on the back nine for her 70.

''I'll take it,'' Ko said. ''I hit two really loose shots where it was hard to put myself in position the next time but overall I played pretty solid ... not many putts dropped.''

Kim, who moved to Canada from South Korea with her family when she was 10 and is based in Langley, British Columbia, birdied seven of her first 12 holes. 



Ranked 258th in the world, Kim was playing her first LPGA tournament round this year because her low ranking failed to gain her direct entry into the initial two LPGA events in the Bahamas and Florida.

Kim, who eclipsed the previous women's course record of 66 shot by Australian Nadina Taylor at an amateur event in 2000, had 26 putts in what she described as ''one of those days.''

''I was just picking my line and rolling them in, let the ball do the rest,'' the 22-year-old Kim said. ''I was pretty ready for it, so (I am) not surprised.''

Kim has not made up her mind whether to become a Canadian citizen. She has had the same coach, Brian Jung, for nine years and was part of British Columbia Golf's junior program.

''I was definitely thinking about it but I still haven't got the citizenship yet, still deciding,'' Kim said. ''Most of the Koreans they want their kids to learn English, so that was the only reason when I moved to Canada. And then golf followed after that ...''

Grice is also playing in her first year on the LPGA tour, and likes The Grange on her first visit to Australia.

''The par 5s are pretty reachable for me, being a longer hitter, and so I'm giving myself a lot of opportunities for birdies,'' Grice said. ''The weather was great, not a lot of wind, and it was basically perfect conditions today.''

Webb said she would have been happy with 5-under before the round began - ''I would have stayed in my hotel.''

''We got pretty lucky, the wind kicked up later today than it has, so we really only had to play in that gusty wind probably for the last four or five holes,'' Webb added.

Cheyenne Woods and Katherine Kirk had 71s while 2009 champion Laura Davies shot 78.

The tournament is also sanctioned by the Australian Ladies and Ladies European Tour.

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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.