Seven Players Tied in NY Wie Solid Start

By Associated PressJune 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Japans Ai Miyazato, celebrating her 23rd birthday, shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday to join Cristie Kerr and five South Korean players atop the crowded leaderboard at the Wegmans LPGA.
 
I think it was a good start to my birthday. I want to win a tournament this year, said Miyazato, one of the biggest female stars in Japanese sports history but winless in 56 career starts on the LPGA Tour.
 
Jeong Jang, Inbee Park, Song-Hee Kim, Jimin Jeong and Soo-Yun Kang, who holed a 9-wood shot for an ace on the 165-yard seventh hole, also shot 68s.
 
Kerr, a nine-time tour winner preparing for her title defense next week in the U.S. Womens Open, is especially mindful of the South Koreans passion'and flair.
 
Theyre all good and theyre all young. Its pretty amazing, she said.
 
Morgan Pressel, Becky Lucidi, Swedens Helen Alfredsson and South Koreas Hee-Won Han, Na On Min, Kyeong Bae and Young-A Yang opened with 69s.
 
Defending champion Lorena Ochoa, the No. 1 player in womens golf, carded an even-par 72 in cool, blustery conditions at the tight, tree-lined Locust Hill course, one better than Annika Sorenstam. Michelle Wie, who is ranked 200th in the world and received a sponsor exemption, shot a 71.
 
Ochoa, who won in Rochester in 2005 and 2007, is seeking her seventh win this season. With $1.9 million in earnings, she has a half-million-dollar lead over Sorenstam, whose best finish in four tries here was a second place in 1996.
 
It was a mostly overcast day and, except for an occasional sprinkle, the rain held off until the early evening.
 
Kerr said she had a flare-up of neck issues that have dogged her for the last six or seven years. She also held the first-round lead last year despite battling a severe head cold.
 
Beware of the wounded, she said.
 
Sandwiched between two majors'the U.S. Womens Open is at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.'the $2 million tournament drew 88 of the top 100 money winners. Among them were rookie Yani Tseng (72) of Taiwan, whose victory at the LPGA Championship two weeks ago dashed Ochoas chances of capturing a third consecutive major.
 
A 14-time champion on the Japanese tour, Miyazato has accumulated 13 top-10 finishes in the last two years, her best outing a runner-up spot to Seon Hwa Lee last July in the HSBC Womens Match Play Championship.
 
The highlight of her bogey-free round was a 21-foot birdie putt on No. 18' her ninth hole'but she lost a chance to take an outright lead on the last hole, missing a 9-footer for birdie on the par-3 ninth.
 
I hit it too hard and try to hole it instead of concentrating on my stroke, she said.
 
While she has missed the cut in four of 12 outings this year'her season-best performance a tie for 14th at the SemGroup Championship in May' Miyazato is happy with her progress. I do feel Im in a really good rhythm, she said.
 
Jang chipped in from 117 yards for an eagle on No. 12. Although dogged by arthritis and cysts in her right wrist, the 2005 Womens British Open champion said she feels propelled by a lot of good memories of her triumph here in 2006'her second tour victory.
 
I didnt win (on tour) last year and this year, and I have a couple of seconds. Maybe Im ready, she said.
 
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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.