Granada leads CME; four others chase $1 million

By Doug FergusonNovember 22, 2014, 9:50 pm

NAPLES, Fla. - Julieta Granada kept in front of a growing pack of challengers Saturday with a 2-under 70 and a one-shot lead in the CME Globe Tour Championship, only one part of what was shaping up as a tense conclusion to the LPGA Tour season.

The race for $1 million was even tighter.

Granada's long two-putt for par on the 18th hole at Tiburon Golf Club gave her a one-shot lead over Morgan Pressel and Carlota Ciganda of Spain, who both made big putts on the final hole. Pressel hit a 7-iron to 5 feet for birdie and a 70, while Ciganda rolled in an 8-foot par putt for a 71.

Sandra Gal of Germany (70) hit into the water for bogey on the 18th and was two shots behind.

None of the top four can win the Race to CME Globe and its $1 million bonus, the biggest payoff in women's golf.

All that commotion is right behind them.

Stacy Lewis, who effectively wrapped up LPGA player of the year and the Vare Trophy when Inbee Park faltered, made only one mistake in her round of 70. It moved her into a tie for 10th, six shots out of the lead but enough to give her a slight edge in the points race for the $1 million.

Lydia Ko (68) and So Yeon Ryu (70) were tied for fifth, three shots behind. Both are very much in the running for the bonus, especially Ko, who only has to win the tournament. Also still in the mix was Michelle Wie, who survived an up-and-down day for a 72 and was only four shots behind.


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All of it will be settled over 18 holes on Sunday, and there's even a chance for a playoff to decide who gets the winner-take-all bonus.

"I still have a chance - I'm not out of it," Wie said. "That's all I can ask for. I'm excited for the opportunity tomorrow, and we'll see what happens. I'm just going to play as hard as I can and see what I can do."

Inbee Park, who is No. 2 in the Race to CME Globe, shot a 73 and was 11 shots behind.

Lewis hit every fairway and missed only two greens. She was poised to move closer to the leaders until her approach on the par-5 17th failed to the right and into a hazard, leading to a bogey on the easiest of the par 5s at Tiburon.

Even so, she scored well enough to be in the top 10, not far from the other three players vying for the $1 million.

"I don't know exactly how it all works, but there are people on the leaderboard I'm definitely cheering for over others," Lewis said, honest as ever. "I've been thinking about all these awards and the Race to the Globe for three, four weeks now. Unfortunately, that's not going to go away overnight."

Her only goal Sunday was to hit greens and try to make putts, move up the leaderboard and hold out hope for a big rally to win the tournament.

"That's what I did today and it really seemed to help me stay focused on the shot at hand," she said.

Ko, the 17-year-old rookie, made the biggest move. She is No. 3 in the standings, meaning a victory Sunday would guarantee the $1 million bonus (along with $500,000 for winning the tournament). She took on more than she intended with a 6-iron that flirted with trouble left of the 18th green. Instead, it took a hop to the right and settled 3 feet away for a birdie.

"I come to the press room or get asked by the media, and that's when I go, `Oh, there's is $1 million on the line.' When I'm out there, I'm trying to make as many birdies as I can," Ko said. "I think that's actually keeping me a little distracted."

Wie is No. 4 and Ryu is No. 5 in the standings, meaning they need to finish strong and have Ko and Lewis lose some ground to have any chance.

But it's all right there for any four of them on Sunday.

Granada was the first instant millionaire in LPGA history when she won a winner-take-all format at the ADT Championship eight years ago, her only LPGA victory. At stake is a chance for her to go wire-to-wire for another big prize.

Pressel has gone six years without a win, and that's all that matters to her. The Tour Championship is all she can win, and Pressel isn't even up to speed on anything else.

"Someone is going to win $1 million, and it's not going to be me," Pressel said. "But there's other things I can win."

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.