State Farm loaded with talent as major looms

By Associated PressJune 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LPGA Tour _newSPRINGFIELD, Ill. ' Given the opportunity at hand, Michelle Wie wasnt thinking about the major that lies ahead.
 
No sense in that, considering shes seeking her first LPGA victory. Now would be a good time to bust through. Wie has another chance at the State Farm Classic against a loaded field this weekend, and if she gets it, shell have all the momentum she needs heading into the McDonalds LPGA Championship.
 
I just even forgot that McDonalds is next week, Wie said. Im just focusing on this week. You cant control the future. You cant control the past. What you do now is most important. Im learning that. Im trying to stay in the present.
 
The present has her staring at a field boasting nine of the top 10 ' and 49 of the top 50 ' money winners on a lengthened course at Panther Creek that figures to play more like those at majors. Only top-ranked Lorena Ochoa is missing.
 
In the past, some top players skipped Springfield, but with a sagging economy and a favorable schedule change, the State Farm has a high profile and the talent to match.
 
Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Brittany Lincicome is here as is the woman she beat ' 2007 U.S. Womens Open champion Cristie Kerr, the current money leader. So are 2008 British Open winner Jiyai Shin and Rookie of the Year Yani Tseng, the runner-up last year. Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Karrie Webb, Natalie Gulbis and, of course, Wie are here, too.
 
Why?
 
Five events got wiped out because of sponsorship withdrawals, meaning there are more breaks this year ' including one last week. That and the scheduling switch gave the State Farm a big boost.
 
Its important to play, and I think its very important to come to this event, said Creamer, who finally seems to be getting over a six-month stomach ailment. I chose to come here. I feel like its necessary to prepare for other events as well.
 
Previously played the first weekend in September, it was moved to mid-July last year. Now, its followed by the seasons second major instead of an event in France as it was in 2008, and suddenly, Central Illinois is an attractive destination for the worlds top golfers.
 
We have a better field than we may end up having at some of the three remaining majors we have this year, said Christina Kim, the runner-up here two years ago. Weve got the best players in the world representing a multitude of countries. Weve got a golf course that is an absolute bear.
 
She called it a great prep course for Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, Md., next week.
 
Panther Creek was lengthened from 6,608 yards to 6,746, with the par-5 13th and par-4 15th each about 40 yards longer. The greens are faster, although Wednesdays rain might slow them, and the rough is thicker, so the scores might be higher.
 
The runner-up two years ago, Kim shot 16 under and finished a stroke off the lead.
 
Last year, Ji Young Oh of South Korea tapped in a 6-inch putt to beat Tseng in a playoff for her first tour victory and was so overwhelmed afterward that she needed an interpreter to talk to reporters, even though she had spoken English for much of the tournament. It was a wild finish to a dramatic weekend that saw Wie leave the course an emotional wreck following the third round even though she had fired a 5-under 67 that had her one stroke off the lead.
 
The reason?
 
She failed to sign her scorecard a day earlier.
 
Wie called it a hard lesson learned this week and said she was looking forward to the weekend. More importantly, she wants her first win.
 
With five second-place finishes, including one in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay this year, shes had some close calls. Now, she wants more. Kim believes its only a matter of time before Wie gets it.
 
I have no doubt in my mind, absolutely, Kim said. Ive known her for a number of years. Shes gone through a lot of things in her life in a personal sense as well as in an athletic sense. A lot of people fail to realize shes 19 1/2 . If people doubt her, Im not going to say (anything), but I dont doubt her.
 
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  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.