Webb stays ahead of Stanford in Singapore

By Associated PressMarch 1, 2014, 12:03 pm

SINGAPORE – Karrie Webb and Angela Stanford were so close down the stretch Saturday at the HSBC Women's Champions, matching each other birdie for birdie, that Stanford only sees one way to get the advantage in Sunday's final round.

''I'm going to send Webbie a six-pack (of beer) tonight,'' she said.

Webb wasn't sure that would help. ''I'll probably drink wine coolers,'' the Australian veteran said.

The two players set up a showdown between former HSBC champions after finishing off their third rounds with identical birdies over three of the last five holes Saturday to separate themselves slightly from the rest of the crowded leaderboard.

Webb, the 2011 winner, shot a 70 to move to 11-under 205, one stroke ahead of 2012 champion Stanford, who had a 69.



They both have a chance to be the first repeat champion of the tournament, although on two different courses. Both players picked up their first HSBC crown at Singapore's Tanah Merah Country Club and this year's event is being played at the Sentosa Golf Club.

Still, Stanford said, there are enough other quality players within striking range after a momentum-shifting day that anybody could claim the title.

''It's really not worth looking at (the leaderboard),'' she said. ''You just know a lot of people are going to be at the top.''

Among those chasing Webb and Stanford are Spain's Azahara Munoz, who fired an eagle and four birdies for a 5-under 67, the low round of the day; and Taiwan's Teresa Lu, who gave up her LPGA membership in 2010 to concentrate on playing in Japan. Both are tied for third at 8-under 208.

America's Paula Creamer, who briefly held the lead with Webb and Munoz on Saturday, had six birdies to go with three bogeys to sit in fifth place at 7 under.

Morgan Pressel of the United States was at 6 under, Norway's Suzann Pettersen was another stroke back at 5 under, and Sweden's Caroline Hedwall and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi were in joint eighth at 4 under.

Webb, a seven-time major winner, led the first two rounds in Singapore, but started out slowly on Saturday. She played her front nine at even par and then bogeyed the 10th hole to go to 1 over, allowing the rest of the field to close the gap.

''Even when I was not giving myself a lot of good birdie opportunities early on, I had to tell myself it's Saturday, there's plenty of golf left to be played and just to be patient,'' she said. ''And fortunately I listened to myself for a change.''

Webb turned it around on the 153-yard, par-3 14th hole, where she struck her tee shot to within a couple feet of the hole for an easy birdie putt. Next came a chip shot from the fairway on the 16th which rolled in for birdie to give her a two-stroke lead again.

Stanford stayed with Webb, though, as the other challengers fell back. Not to be outdone on the 14th, the American placed her tee shot even closer than Webb's - mere inches - leading to birdie. She matched Webb's birdie again on the 16th, and both players closed the round with birdies on the 18th.

If either veteran slips in the final round, however, Munoz and Lu are right behind them.

Both players are looking for their second LPGA titles. Munoz captured her only tournament at the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship, while Lu won hers at last year's Mizuno Classic.

Defending champion Stacy Lewis' disappointing week, meanwhile, looks likely to end her streak of 13 consecutive top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour. Lewis shot a 73 on Saturday, leaving her far down the leaderboard in joint-42nd place.

Lewis, the reigning Women's British Open champion, is only three away from matching Webb's LPGA record of 16 consecutive top-10 finishes, set in 1998-99.

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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.