Sei Young Kim leads Park, Webb at Women's PGA

By Associated PressJune 12, 2015, 11:36 pm

HARRISON, N.Y. - Sei Young Kim of South Korea has already won twice in her rookie LPGA season.

Now the 22-year-old is taking aim at a major title, making an eagle on the 15th hole for a 5-under 68 Friday and a one-shot lead after the second round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

Kim overtook Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, who birdied the 18th for a 71. Kim, who turned pro in 2010 and played on the LPGA of Korea Tour, shot bogey-free golf to finish at 8-under 138 at the Westchester Country Club.

''My goal for this year is to become top five,'' Kim said through an interpreter, ''and if I win a major, I could be one step closer.''

Two-time defending champion Inbee Park (68) joined Webb a stroke back.

Suzann Pettersen rallied with seven birdies for the best round of the day at 66 and tied Canadian teenager Brooke Henderson (73) at 6 under. Overnight leader Jenny Shin (75) and third-ranked Stacy Lewis (71) were three shots behind the leader.

Pettersen improved her score from the opening round by eight shots, making seven birdies from No. 5 to No. 15. Coached by Butch Harmon, Pettersen was coming off a win in Canada.

''I felt my speed of the greens was a little bit off yesterday. But stuck to the game plan,'' she said. ''I didn't practice much after. I'm right where I want to be.''


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Top-ranked Lydia Ko (76) missed the cut, which was 2 over, ending her streak of 53 consecutive made cuts. She had a double bogey on No. 2 and finished with four bogeys and three birdies.

''I just made a double and just couldn't get anything turned around,'' said the 18-year-old from New Zealand. ''I missed a lot of 9-footers. I made two good putts the last two holes; it was already kind of too late.''

Kim won LPGA events in the Bahamas and Hawaii this year. She said she likes the West Course, and watched a talented male pro play on the longtime home of the PGA Tour event now called The Barclays.

''I was inspired by Tiger Woods, how he was able to make shots and shot-making,'' Kim said.

The 40-year-old Webb had three birdies and a bogey on the par-3 16th on another steamy day with temperatures in the 80s, which helped dry the greens. She hit her pitch shot within 5 feet on the par-5, 525-yard final hole.

''Nice to finish with a birdie on the last,'' Webb said. ''It was a little bit more difficult today. I think the greens really dried out a little bit. It was still quite challenging to get the ball close to the hole.''

The 17-year-old Henderson had five birdies and five bogeys in an up-and-down round with her father Dave as caddie. After three-putting on her final hole Thursday to finish a shot behind Shin, she bogeyed two of the first five holes on Friday.

She hit her approach shot at No. 17 within 8 feet for a possible birdie putt and a tie for the lead, but it ran past on the right.

''I didn't have my A-game,'' said Henderson, playing in her fourth major. ''I hit a lot of shots just really close to being really good but would just roll off the back because the greens were a little bit firmer. Just one of those days you have to learn from and move on.''

Henderson, who turned pro in December, is playing on a sponsor exemption because she is below the LPGA's age requirement of 18.

''It's really exciting seeing my name up there with Stacy Lewis and Karrie Webb and all the big names,'' she said. ''It's awesome. I think I just have to stay patient, stay consistent and keep working on my game and I think good things will happen.''

After shooting a bogey-free, 7-under 66 Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the opening round, Shin needed nine more shots on Friday. The 22-year-old Shin, who is seeking her first major, started on No. 10 and eagled the par-5, 525 yard 18th hole. But she had bogeys on Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 8, with a birdie on No. 7, to finish the front nine at 39.

''I wanted to shoot under par and try to get away from everybody as much as possible and do the Jordan Spieth and win by like 10 shots,'' Shin said. ''But I was so frustrated, and I think that's one of the reasons why I made so many bogeys.''

Lewis recovered from a double bogey on No. 2 with consecutive birdies on the sixth and seventh holes and capped her round with a tap-in birdie at the 18th.

''I think the officials didn't quite like the 7 under they saw yesterday, so the golf course was set up a lot tougher,'' said Lewis, a two-time major winner. ''It played more like a major, which I like.''

Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, and British teenager Charley Hull were in a group at 4 under. Hull, tied for the lead at 8 under at the 12th, bogeyed four of the last six holes to finish at 74.

Michelle Wie, bothered by ankle and hip injuries, birdied the 18th for a 72 to make the cut.

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – 

Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.