Ace Propels Welch to FUTURES Tour Lead

By Futures Tour MediaMarch 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
Duramed FUTURES TourLAKELAND, Fla. -- Her head felt like it was in a bucket and her stuffy sinuses caused third-year pro Kim Welch to want to go home and crawl into bed. But first, the Californian got down to business in the windy second round of the $85,000 Bright House Networks Open.
Locked in a tie at three-under par, the long hitter slam-dunked her 9-iron tee shot 145 yards on the 17th hole for a timely ace to grab the lead. Even with her fourth three-putt green of the day from 30 feet on the last hole, Welch carded her second consecutive round of two-under-par 70 to take a one-stroke lead into Sundays final round at 140 (-4).
She leads Taya Battistella (70) of Bend, Ore., and rookies Y.J. Jin (71) and Chella Choi (71), both of Seoul, South Korea, all tied at 141 (-3).
It wasnt very pretty and to be in my position right now after how bad I played on the front nine, yeah, its not bad, said Welch of Sacramento, an 11-time collegiate winner while at Washington State University, who is still seeking her first professional title.
Not bad, indeed. Three of Welchs three-putt greens came on holes No. 1, 7 and 8. She only had one lip-out chance for birdie on the front nine, which prompted a little thigh slapping and tough self-talk en route to the second nine. What she said to herself translates roughly to, Just find a way to get the ball in the hole.
That, she did. Welch birdied the 10th from 20 feet, burned the edge of the cup from 20 feet on the 11th, thinned an 8-iron from 130 yards to hole out on the 12th hole for an eagle-2, missed an eagle chance but grabbed the birdie from 12 feet on the par-five 14th, saved par from the woods on No. 16, then finished out the round with an ace-bogey on the last two holes. That rollercoaster performance was enough to give former LPGA Tour winner Barb Mucha, walking in Welchs gallery, a case of indigestion to go with Welchs head cold.
Barb has been working with me on my short game a little bit, said Welch of Muchas interest in her game. I came here this week ready to win.
Of course, in the season-opening tournament, its a new year and every player is itching to earn the first win of 2008.
It will be exciting to see what happens tomorrow, said Battistella, a second-year Duramed FUTURES Tour member who played collegiately at the University of Colorado and Portland State University.
Battistella carded six birdies and four bogeys in todays wind. She hit every fairway in regulation and rolled in 27 putts that made her rough winter look like great preparation for a new season.
I worked two jobs this winter and didnt get to play much golf, so today, I think I just appreciated every shot more than usual, said Battistella, also still seeking her first win.
Jin and Choi, a pair of 17-year-old pros, never got flustered in the wind. While Jin bogeyed all three of Cleveland Heights Golf Courses par-three holes, she rolled in five birdies to her four bogeys and was giggling about her chance to win her Tour debut.
I hit it low, so the wind shots worked for me today, said Jin. I hope I play great tomorrow.
Six players are tied at 142 (-2), including first-round leader Sae Hee Son (76) of Seoul, Korea and 2005 Lakeland tournament winner Jin Young Pak (73) of Kang Leung, South Korea.
I have good memories here because it was my first win as a pro and my first win in the U.S., said Pak. But today, the wind changed all the time and I had to really focus, so now my mind is tired.
Son struggled with only one birdie today -- a six-footer on the seventh hole that couldnt negate her five bogeys. It was a day that included 31 putts in spite of support from good pals and LPGA stars Se Ri Pak and Sarah Lee, who drove to Lakeland from nearby Orlando and walked the course with the former LPGA Tour member.
The greens here are small and in the wind, sometimes they are a little hard to hold, said Son, who played on the LPGA Tour from 2005-2007. I did too much thinking about distance and I just need to keep focused on my game.
Eighty players made the 36-hole cut at 149 (+5).
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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.