Power Rankings: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

By Will GrayApril 22, 2014, 7:48 pm

This week marks the 24th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour heads to the Crescent City for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. A field of 144 players will tee it up this week at TPC Louisiana, where the winner will have to go low to conquer the field.

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Billy Horschel returns to defend the title he won last year by one shot over D.A. Points. Here are 10 players to watch this week in New Orleans:

1. Justin Rose: The reigning U.S. Open champ has a pair of top-15 finishes in his last three starts, including a T-14 result two weeks ago at Augusta National. Rose also has a pair of top-15 finishes in his last two trips to New Orleans, and six of his last eight rounds at TPC Louisiana have been in the 60s.

2. Rickie Fowler: Fowler is making his first start since a tie for fifth at the Masters, and he seems comfortable in the Crescent City. Fowler has cracked the top 40 each of the past three years in this event, including a T-10 finish in 2012 that featured a second-round 65. He also finished sixth three weeks ago at the Shell Houston Open.

3. Graham DeLaet: The Canadian nearly made the cut at Augusta National despite an opening-round 80, and DeLaet tied for fourth in NOLA in 2012. This tournament has been kind to first-time winners, and DeLaet is certainly overdue to enter the winner's circle. Ranks second on Tour in ball-striking and third in GIR percentage.

4. Kevin Stadler: Stadler surprised with a T-8 in his Masters debut, then followed with a solid T-38 at Harbour Town. He's missed only one cut since his breakthrough win in Phoenix, and is now 10th on Tour in total driving and 12th in birdie average. Last year he tied for eighth behind a third-round 65.

5. Keegan Bradley: Bradley surprisingly missed the cut at the Masters, but his 2014 campaign has otherwise been solid, with seven top-25 finishes in 12 starts. He missed the cut at TPC Louisiana each of the last two years but was T-26 in 2011 and currently ranks 11th on Tour in birdie average.

6. George McNeill: McNeill is making his first start since Bay Hill, but comes in off five straight top-20 finishes dating back to February. McNeill tied for sixth in NOLA in 2011 and followed that with a T-24 result the following year, and he is among the Tour leaders in scrambling (15th) and scoring average (19th).

7. Ryan Palmer: Palmer has four top-10 finishes this season, including a pair of runner-ups. He's no stranger to low scores - currently fourth on Tour in birdie average - and tied for fourth at TPC Louisiana in 2012. He's also currently third on Tour in the all-around ranking.

8. J.B. Holmes: Holmes continues to have a strong comeback from the disabled list, and his T-18 at the RBC Heritage was his third top-20 finish in his last four starts. He tied for 13th here in 2012, his most recent appearance in New Orleans, and certainly has the aggressive style and length off the tee to make him a contender this week.

9. Cameron Tringale: His missed cut here last year snapped a recent run of good form at TPC Louisiana, when Tringale went T-28, T-18, T-7 from 2010-2012. He was fourth last month at the Shell Houston Open and has five top-25 finishes to his credit this season.

10. Nicholas Thompson: Thompson contended for his first PGA Tour win last week before tying for 12th, but three of his last four starts have yielded results of T-26 or better. After a slow start to 2014, Thompson has made five of seven cuts since the Tour began the Florida swing and had good weeks at TPC Louisiana in both 2010 (T-7) and 2008 (T-4).

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.