Baena Turns Up the Heat at Futures Tour Event

By Futures Tour MediaJune 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
Futures TourANN ARBOR, Mich. -- While her sister, LPGA Tour member Marisa Baena made plans to fly home after missing the 36-hole cut at the U.S. Women's Open, little sister Cristina Baena was turning up the heat with her clubs on an already hot day at the $65,000 Bank of Ann Arbor Futures Golf Classic.
'I do like the heat and I've always felt that it works to my advantage,' said Baena of Pereira, Colombia, who fired a 5-under-par round of 67 today to take the lead at 140 (-4) going into Sunday's final round.
The second-season pro out of the University of Arizona played a bogey-free round that included five birdies and a handful of up-and-down par scrambles. She successfully navigated Lake Forest Golf Club's large and speedy greens and avoided the 6,214-yard course's treacherous fescue rough.
'I hit 14 greens and had 33 putts on Friday, and today, I hit 10 greens and had 23 putts,' said Baena, still seeking her first win on the Futures Tour. 'Golf is so weird. But I know things will eventually come together. It's important to get yourself going on the front nine here.'
Stephanie George of Myerstown, Pa., moved into second at 141 (-3) after carding a 2-under-par round of 70 today. Like so many others, she battled for pars and was grateful to finish the day with four birdies and two bogeys.
'The greens make this course so difficult,' said George, who recorded 30 putts in today's round. 'I three-putted three times yesterday and today, I had numerous putts within 10 feet that were downhill, sidehill or uphill. It's hard to trust how hard to hit it and the greens are speeding up and getting firmer.'
Sarah-Jane Kenyon of Queensland, Australia, had a little steam coming out of her ears when she walked off the 18th green in Friday's first round. Kenyon was four over after 18 holes. But golf history has shown that Queenslanders -- such as the LPGA's Karrie Webb -- are savvy hot-weather players. Kenyon turned her anger into an assault on the course in today's second round. By day's end, the rookie cruised in with a 6-under-par 66 that locked her into a tie with Clarissa Childs (71) of Glendale, Calif., and Kellee Booth (73) of McKinney, Texas -- all tied at 142 (-2).
Kenyon's performance included three birdies, two eagle-2s (on par-four holes) and one bogey. She holed out from a front bunker on the fifth hole for her first eagle, and then holed out from 152 yards with a 7-iron on the 12th hole for the round's second eagle.
'I didn't hit the ball any better or any worse than yesterday, but I had 33 putts yesterday and 25 today, so that was the difference,' said Kenyon, who won the season's second event in Tampa earlier this year.
Booth opened with bogeys on holes three and four, but rebounded with two birdies on the back and a final bogey at the 17th. Still looking for her first win, the former Arizona State University collegian called her day 'sketchy at times and fabulous at times.'
'I'm still in it,' she added. 'Anything is possible out there but it will take some good shots and good putts to win this tournament.'
First-week rookie pro Julieta Granada of Asuncion, Paraguay carded a 3-under-par 69 today to move into a tie with Seon-Hwa Lee of Chonan, Korea at 1-under-par 143. It was a day of misfortune for the Korean, who took the lead on the 11th hole, but lost it on the 15th.
Lee built her lead to three shots with a birdie on the 14th hole, but took a quadruple-bogey on the 15th when her drive landed under a left tree. Lee was forced to turn her club upside down to hit the shot out, but the ball ricocheted off the tree and hit her shoes for a two-shot penalty. As if to make matters worse, after she was forced to call the penalty on herself, the ball was unplayable and she had to add another shot for a drop. One chip and two putts later, Lee had carded an 8 on the par-4 15th hole.
'That hurt,' said Cindy Pasechnik of Calgary, Alberta, who was playing in Lee's group.
Seventy-four players made the 36-hole cut at 151 (+7) in the fifth annual Ann Arbor tournament.
Sunday's final round of the 54-hole event will begin at 8 a.m., off the first tee only. The leaders will tee off at noon.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.