Thompson shares Meijer lead with Salas, Lee

By Associated PressJuly 24, 2015, 11:40 pm

BELMONT, Mich. - Lexi Thompson birdied six of the first eight holes and wanted more.

''I wanted to make more birdies on the back nine, but it is what it is,'' she said.

Thompson did add one more birdie Friday for a season-best 7-under 64 and a share of the Meijer LPGA Classic lead with Alison Lee and Lizette Salas.

''I hit it in the rough on a few holes on the back nine where I needed to hit it in the fairway to be able to make birdies,'' Thompson said. ''But I'm very happy with my round, don't get me wrong.''

The 20-year-old matched Lee and Salas at 9-under 133 at Blythefield Country Club.

Lee, the 20-year-old former UCLA player in her first season on the tour, had a 66, and playing partner Salas, a former University of Southern California star, shot a 69.

Kris Tamulis closed with a bogey on the par-4 ninth to drop into a tie for fourth at 8 under with Gerina Piller, Jaye Marie Green, Wei-Ling Hsu and Q Baek. Tamulis shot 68, Piller 65, Baek 68, and Green and Hsu 69.

Top-ranked Inbee Park, a playoff loser last year in the inaugural event, was tied for 18th at 4 under after a 68. She has a tour-high three victories this season.



Thompson, winless since taking the then-Kraft Nabisco last year for her first major title, took advantage of early windless scoring conditions. Thompson birdied Nos. 1-2, 4-6, 8 and 15.

''The greens were rolling really well out there early in the morning, so it was nice,'' Thompson said. ''Playing in the morning without the wind and the greens are a little bit softer in the morning so it's easier to just control the way your irons are going to bounce out into the green. It was a lot easier to control than [Thursday] afternoon.''

Lee, who is still working on her degree at UCLA, said she was inspired by Salas shooting 64 in the first round.

''We kind of pushed each other through the day,'' Lee said. ''I was fired up today going into the round and wanted to shoot a low number. It's great to be in contention. I mean, this is my rookie year and I'm still learning.''

Salas said playing in the afternoon in the second round was a sharp contrast to the first round.

''The wind definitely kicked in this afternoon and you have to be really precise to your targets,'' she said.

She said she hasn't been on top of the leaderboard in a while, and she is excited.

''We have 36 more to go and I'm going to try to be patient and stay calm and just be committed to every shot,'' she said.

Park said being five shots off the lead was fine, but it is more important to have good results this week to give her confidence going into the Women's British Open next week.

''The most important thing is just work on my game so it's ready to go next week,'' she said. ''You know, make sure that your ball striking, your swing feels good, make sure you're feeling good on the greens. This is the last chance to try it on. I'm trying to get my game to the level I want. It's not quite there, but trying to get there.''

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.