Big Breaks Prange Wins Again on Futures Tour

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
Duramed Futures TourHAMMOND, Ind. -- Ashley Prange got her 'big break' back in May when she won The Golf Channel's 'Big Break V: Hawaii' TV show, but today, she added a second 2006 tournament win on the Duramed FUTURES Tour to her resume.
Prange won the $75,000 Horseshoe Casino FUTURES Golf Classic in her home state, carding rounds of 71-71-72 for a two-under-par total of 214 (-2) to edge runner-up Lori Atsedes of Ithaca, N.Y., at 215 (-1) at the water-surrounded Lost Marsh Golf Course. The fact that she passed up trying to qualify for this week's U.S. Women's Open Championship was a tactical move by Prange.
By winning the Tour's second tournament of the season in Tampa, Fla., back in March, Prange was exempt from local Open qualifying. She mailed in her check and application for the Open's sectional qualifying, but a week before the tournament and after careful consideration, she withdrew. Prange weighed the timing of this week's Indiana event with the overlapping date of the U.S. Women's Open.
In fact, 17 players missed this week's Tour event in Indiana because they competed in the Open. And six additional Tour members skipped the last two weeks of tournament play to film The Golf Channel's Big Break VI show in Los Angeles. Prange reasoned that if she planned to make a late-season charge on the Tour's money list, now was the time to do it with seven tournaments remaining and several players in the top 10 out of town.
'I knew I needed a good finish and I believed I could capitalize on a week when a lot of players were not here,' said Prange, 24, of Noblesville, Ind. 'My first and foremost goal right now is to get my LPGA Tour card by finishing in the top five on our money list.'
Prange's savvy planning and patient play this week allowed her to jump from No. 9 to No. 3 on the Tour's current money list with her winner's check of $10,500. And it gave her momentum on a tour where a little more than $1,500 separates No. 5 from No. 6 on the money list -- or to be more specific, the difference between earning a fully exempt 2007 LPGA Tour card and a pass to the LPGA's Final Qualifying Tournament.
It actually took the shock of missing the tournament cut during the same week that she won the Big Break V show to shake the former University of North Carolina All-American back to reality. After riding the crescendo of the popular TV show's win on a Tuesday night, Prange found herself walking around in the parking lot at the Tucson tournament on Saturday with tears in her eyes. Missing the 36-hole tournament cut was a blow to a newly elevated confidence level.
But it also was a warning to Prange that no matter what kind of perks and accolades she had been the recipient of, there was still business to take care of as a member of the Tour.
'I had to step back and be critical of myself and look at how I was preparing or not preparing for tournaments,' she said. 'Big Break V was two weeks out of my life, but to win out here takes all of the practice I've put in for my entire life. The show was an amazing experience and I'll take so much from that with me, but I still have the goal to make it to the next level and there are certain things I have to do to get there.'
A new venue for this Northwest Indiana tournament, presented by South Shore Sports Promotions, Lost Marsh posed numerous problems for the field with water hazards on all but two holes of the par-72, 6,245-yard tract that was once a waste by-products dump from nearby steel mills in Gary, Ind. The reclaimed land, which serves as an oasis in the middle of a highly industrial area and in view of the downtown Chicago skyline, demonstrated its tough side Saturday when winds blew up to 38 mph. The combination of high winds and abundant water hazards showed impatient players the gate early.
But Prange hung tough and stayed patient when the momentum seemed to swing in the favor of Atsedes, who held a two-shot lead after 12 holes in today's final round. The turning point came on No. 13. Prange pulled her drive left and hit a tree. Her ball landed in an area where she was allowed a free drop. From there, she knocked her shot to within three feet and tapped in to save par.
'That's when the momentum switched to Ashley,' said Atsedes, the veteran who owns six Tour wins. 'And I think having her dad on her bag today kept her where she needed to be.'
Prange birdied the 14th to draw even with Atsedes. And then Atsedes' approach into No. 15 kicked over the green and she failed to get up and down for par. Prange inched ahead with a one-shot lead on the 15th and never looked back.
Rookie In-Bee Park of Las Vegas fired a three-under-par final-round score of 69 to make a run at the lead, but finished third at even-par 216. Cortney Reno (74) of Grosse Ile, Mich., was at even par until she triple-bogeyed the last hole with a three-putt green to drop back into a tie for seventh at 219 (+3).
That left Prange only with the task of finishing what she started three rounds and 10 tournaments ago. She two-putted from 16 feet for par and earned her second season win.
'She got a little distracted for a while, but now Ashley's back on track,' said her dad Bob Prange, director of instruction at the Bridgewater Club in Westfield, Ind., and swing coach for his daughter. 'This validates that she has the ability to win and to win more regularly if the preparation level is correct.'
As for the younger Prange, winning at home in front of a home-state gallery was more than she had hoped for in a year that already has been full of highlights. And with a week off, followed by seven more events, Prange says she is recharged and ready to finish the 2006 season strong.
'Patience isn't one of my best virtues,' she said. 'But if I continue to work hard and prepare myself each week, I believe I'll continue to see results.'
Getty Images

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?''

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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. 

Getty Images

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.