Wie trails only Stanford at Turtle Bay

By Associated PressFebruary 12, 2009, 5:00 pm
2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Hawaii ' Michelle Wie made her much-anticipated debut as a full-fledged LPGA Tour member, birdieing her final three holes for a 6-under 66 on Thursday in the first round of the season-opening SBS Open.
 
The 19-year-old Wie was a stroke behind leader Angela Stanford.
 
Wie was tied with rookie of the year Yani Tseng, who was ranked 133rd a year ago and is now No. 2. South Koreas Kyeong Bae had a 67, and Japans Momoko Ueda shot a 68.
 
Wie looked comfortable playing in front of the largest gallery and on her home island of Oahu. It was her first U.S. start since July when she was disqualified from the State Farm Classic after opening with a 67. She earned her tour card in December with a seventh-place tie at Q-school.
 
With the sun setting over the churning Pacific Ocean, Wie closed the round with three straight birdies. She went birdie-bogey-birdie to open the day and crawled up the leaderboard with consecutive birdies, including a curling 20-footer on No. 9, to make the turn at 3 under.
 
She lost a stroke on the par-4 11th when her tee shot found the heavy rough and her 8-footer for par hung on the lip. But she quickly recovered on the next hole after nearly chipping in for eagle.
 
Turtle Bay has been good to Wie, who is looking for a new beginning after her wrists and confidence took a beating in 2007.
 
Wie played the first SBS in 2005 as a 15-year-old amateur and tied for second. It also was at Turtle Bay in 2006 that she became the first female player to win a local qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open.
 
Wie is one of the headliners in a remarkable rookie class. But Wie isnt the typical rookie. She already has millions in the bank and is making her 49th start on the LPGA Tour, where shes been playing since she was 12.
 
Taylor Leon, In-Kyung Kim, Jimin Kang, Teresa Lu and Juli Inkster had 69s, while 2007 champion Paula Creamer was at 70, with Cristie Kerr, rookie Vicky Hurst and several others.
 
Starting on 10th, Stanford got off to a hot start and finished strong on a calm, overcast, cool day at Turtle Bay that began with intermittent showers. Winds picked up later in the day, making it difficult to catch Stanford.
 
She birdied the first two holes and made the turn at 4 under. She birdied two of her final three holes for the outright lead.
 
She hit a wedge from 112 yards to 3 feet on No. 7 and on the 511-yard ninth, she blasted out of the greenside bunker and dropped a 7-footer for birdie. She hit all but one of the greens, but managed to save par on the par-3 fourth by dropping an 8-footer.
 
Ive always kind of struggled playing this golf course, so I really wanted to be more patient today, she said. So I feel like just starting out, I was in the right frame of mind.
 
The 31-year-old Stanford, ranked No. 8 in the world, is coming off a career-best season where she won two events, broke $1 million for the first time and finished ninth on the money list. The former TCU star had six of her 10 top-10 finishes in the final six events, including wins at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic and Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She also finished sixth in the season-ending ADT Championship.
 
Stanford, from Saginaw, Texas, credited the success but more mentally. She is now content with par.
 
I used to get upset with par. But I think its just maturing a little bit and just mentally trying to be better on the golf course, not beat myself up so much, she said.
 
Tseng, who just turned 20 last month, is hoping for a big sophomore season after winning the LPGA Championship and recording five runner-up finishes en route to rookie of the year honors. With all the success last year, she doesnt feel any extra pressure to succeed this season.
 
I just feel really relaxed, and I dont want to put too much expectations, she said. I just feel really relaxed and happy.
 
But she does want to supplant Ochoa in the rankings.
 
No. 1 in the world has always been my dream. My goal when I was very young, Tseng said. But I think I have a long way to go. Its just step by step. Just do what Im doing now and just see the results.
 
The Taiwanese star played the first eight holes at 2 under before making her move. Behind a sharp iron game, she birdied four of the next six holes to reach 6 under. She lost a stroke on the par-4 17th by pushing a 3-wood into the bunker and missing a 4-footer for par, but tapped in for birdie on the 539-yard 18th.
 
Tseng wouldnt give a precise number of events she aims to win this year. Her goal is simple: I want to be a birdie machine.
 
That should get her at least a few more titles since she led the LPGA last year with 388 birdies.
 
If I just keep making birdies, it will be the perfect (year), she said.
 

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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

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    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


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    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''