Wie hopes return to Hawaii will help her game

By Associated PressApril 17, 2013, 1:27 am

KAPOLEI, Hawaii – Michelle Wie is hoping a Hawaii stop on the LPGA Tour will inject a little aloha into her game.

She's 91st in the world ranking after breaking 70 only once in 18 rounds so far this season. She's coming off a season-best tie for 41st two weeks ago in the Kraft Nabisco Championship – after starting the tournament with an apology from Annika Sorenstam for being quoted as saying the former child prodigy hasn't shown the talent that initially made her a star.

And ahead of a press conference to open the LPGA Lotte Championship, organizers planned to bring five players – including the world's top three – to introduce the tournament to reporters. But not Wie.

Still, the 23-year-old Stanford graduate says it's nice to be home, where she's more relaxed.

''There's nothing like coming back home,'' Wie told The Associated Press on Tuesday after finishing a pro-am round with four amateurs at 7 under in a scramble format.


Video: What to watch for at the LPGA Lotte Championship


Wie grew up in Honolulu, just a few miles east of the Ko Olina Golf Club, where the LPGA Lotte Championship is in its second year.

''As soon as you get off the plane, that smell – everything,'' she said. ''It's great to play in front of a home crowd and hopefully a lot of people will come out tomorrow.''

A friendly, familiar crowd couldn't hurt Wie, who won the last of her two LPGA Tour titles in 2010 and has gotten a lot of attention lately for her new putting style – an unorthodox stance where she bends at the waist, her back straight and nearly parallel to the ground with her eyes peering straight over the ball.

''Yeah, I enjoy being here and I'm very happy,'' Wie said when asked if being home could help turn things around. ''I'm just going to go out and have fun tomorrow.''

Wie had an up-and-down practice round Tuesday, taking extra time between shots to work on her technique and chat with her parents, who walked the course and occasionally chimed in with tips.

After her group finished each hole, Wie's caddie frequently tossed out a ball for Wie to chip, putt, or hit from a bunker.

On the 365-yard, par-4 second, Wie asked her group if she could hit a second drive after her real tee shot landed in the left side rough, very close to a bunker.

Two of the next three holes, she groaned after hitting her drives. ''Ugh, Michelle,'' she said after sending a shot off to the right on the 528-yard, par-5 fifth, before lightly smacking her tee into the face of her driver as she walked down the course.

Still, in the best ball format, Wie's group played her shots most often. She hit within 8 feet on the 154-yard, par-3 fourth and was on point with most of her approaches and putts.

''I had fun out there today and it felt good,'' she said.

The LPGA Lotte Championship comes as Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and Yani Tseng battle for the top spot in the world rankings. Park, the Kraft Nabisco winner, took over the top spot Monday, ending Lewis' four-week run at No. 1.

New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko is coming off a tie for 25th in the Kraft Nabisco. She won the Canadian Open in August to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner at 15 years, 4 months, 2 days. The South Korea-born Ko has two other pro victories, the New South Wales Open last year and New Zealand Women's Open this year, and won the U.S. Women's Amateur last season. She's ranked 22nd in the world.

Ai Miyazato won the tournament last year. This year's event has a top prize of $225,000 and a total purse of $1.7 million.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.