Veteran Tamulis wins first LPGA title at Yokohama

By Associated PressAugust 30, 2015, 10:34 pm

PRATTVILLE, Ala. - Kris Tamulis counted down from 29 to 1 during her final-day trek at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.

One was definitely the most important number for the 34-year-old player.

Tamulis played 29 holes Sunday in the twice-delayed tournament before securing victory No. 1 in the 186th attempt of her LPGA career. She finished a third-round 67 and closed with a 65 to beat Yani Tseng and Austin Ernst by a stroke.

The former Florida State player had a 17-under 271 total on The Senator Course and didn't show the strain of being in contention with so little margin for error.

''It was amazing,'' Tamulis said. ''I was definitely not expecting this today.''

Tseng had rounds of 71 and 67, and Ernst shot 68-69 with the weather clearing up after delays totaling nearly 7 hours the previous two days. Both parred the final hole with a chance to force a playoff.

Tamulis birdied four of the first six holes in the final round before finally making her only bogey of the last three rounds. She hadn't finished better than fourth on the tour.



Tamulis was all smiles at the end. She made a short birdie putt on the 17th hole, cheerfully telling two fans ''28 of 29 completed today.'' Then, a long birdie putt, hit seemingly perfectly on line, stopped inches shy of the final hole. Still smiling, she told her caddie Thomas Frank the ball needed just ''a little more oomph,'' then chatted with the teenager carrying the score placard.

Frank's Houston home was destroyed in a fire in April.

Tamulis had about 45 minutes to sweat the win out. Tseng and Ernst both had makeable birdie putts on 18, on opposite sides of the pin. Ernst's attempt went to the left. Tseng came closer, falling to her knees when her putt lipped out.

''When they both missed I was just shocked,'' said Tamulis, who chatted with volunteers and had a snack in air-conditioned comfort instead of watching or practicing for a possible playoff. A friend kept her updated.

Tamulis had been fourth last year in Prattville and earlier this year at the Meijer LPGA Classic. She didn't make the cut at last week's Canadian Pacific Women's Open after posting two 73 rounds. Her rounds in Alabama steadily improved from 71 to 68 to 67 and finally 65.

It was her first win since Florida State but she had a pair of runners-up finishes in 2004 on the Symetra Tour.

Tamulis said she was trying to ignore the leaderboard, focusing instead on that countdown from 29 holes with playing partners Sei Young Kim and Wei-Ling Hsu.

''The last time I actually saw where it was at was by accident on No. 9,'' she said. ''Then I felt really good and I was just out there trying to have a good time. My goal was to come in here have a decent week, play well and secure my spots in Asia.''

She also wanted to ensure she made the field in her hometown of Naples, Florida, for the season finale, the CME Group Tour Championship. Her expression matched the smiley face magnet affixed to her visor, given to her a couple of years ago by an elderly scorekeeper in Phoenix.

Tseng is a 26-year-old Taiwanese player who ranked No. 1 for 109 weeks early in her career. She came close to snapping an 85-event winless streak dating to the 2012 Kia Classic, making a long birdie putt on No. 16.

This was Tseng's second runner-up finish of the year.

''I don't know where that emotion came from,'' she said. ''I just feel that I'm so ready to win.''

Tseng said she enjoyed feeling "that pressure, that nerves on the last few holes or on the last group.''

Ernst was seeking her second tour win. Sydnee Michaels finished with a 67, finishing in a fourth-place tie with 2011 winner Lexi Thompson. Thompson closed with a 69 and was in the 60s all four rounds.

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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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.