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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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

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Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.