Salas shares Meijer LPGA lead; Park 7 back

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2015, 10:24 pm

BELMONT, Mich. -- Lizette Salas built on her strong finish two weeks ago in the U.S. Women's Open in the first round of the Meijer LPGA Classic.

The 26-year-old former Southern California player shot a bogey-free 7-under 64 on Thursday at Blythefield Country Club for a share of the first-round lead with Katherine Kirk and Dori Carter.

In the Women's Open in Pennsylvania, Salas finished with a 68 at difficult Lancaster to tie for 14th - her best finish since tying for 11th on Phoenix in March.

"My finish at the [U.S. Women's Open] kind of gave me that extra boost of confidence to really go low and that's what I did today," Salas said.

Salas eagled the 478-yard, par-5 11th, hitting a 3-wood approach to 10 feet.

"I hit every green and didn't three-putt, few mistakes, well, basically zero mistakes today," Salas said. "Hopefully, I didn't just jinx myself. I'm just going to stay positive and just keep confident this whole week."

She played the back nine in 5-under 30, closing with a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th.



"The rough is pretty gnarly, but I kept the ball in the fairway," Salas said. "The eagle on 11 got me going and really helped me target the pins. I stayed aggressive with my putting and it is really coming along."

She won the 2014 Kingsmill Championship for her lone tour title.

Jaye Marie Green and rookie Wei-Ling Hsu were a shot back in the second-year tournament.

Michigan-born Kris Tamulis was at 66 along with Q Baek, Ilhee Lee and Jane Rah.

Top-ranked Inbee Park, who lost to Miram Lee in a playoff last year, had three front-nine bogeys in a 70. Chella Choi, the Marathon Classic winner Sunday in Sylvania, Ohio, opened with a 71.

Salas, Kirk, Carter and Green played in the morning in little wind and perfect scoring conditions. Hsu had the best round in the afternoon after the wind kicked up. Park and Choi also played in the afternoon.

Kirk, a two-time tour winner, had her best round of the year. The Australian had two bogeys, but made seven birdies and also had an eagle on 11 after reaching the green in two.

"We had perfect conditions this morning, hardly any wind and then greens were very receptive early on," she said. "I'm really happy. I haven't posted a round like that in a while so it feels good to finally get the rust off and shoot a low one."

Carter, winless on the tour, tied her career best with the 64. She had three straight birdies in a front-nine 5-under 31 and said on-going work with Gail Peterson is paying off.

"We've put a lot of work in, even here this week, and today the putts finally fell," Carter said. "You know, I'm comfortable. I'm getting more experience and I like being here. I want to continue to stay on the top of the leaderboard. The more I can get this experience, the better."

Miram Lee withdrew after the pro-am Wednesday, citing a left wrist injury that she said will also keep her out of the Women's British Open next week.

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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.