Chang Maintains Futures Lead

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourSTRATTON MOUNTAIN, Vt. -- Earmuffs in July? Believe it or not, a few warm bloods bundled up as the nippy summer New England winds whipped the course in today's second round of the $70,000 Stratton Mountain Futures Classic.
 
But for Lisa Chang of Los Angeles, who maintained her first-round lead heading into Saturday's final round, it was just another day of smooth sailing under the sunny skies of Vermont. Chang carded a 2-under-par score of 70 for a two-shot lead of 137 (-7) on a day that included 27 putts. Rookie Julie Tvede of Copenhagen, Denmark was the player who got hot with a 5-under-par score of 67 to slide into second place behind Chang at 5-under 139 at Stratton Mountain Country Club.
 
'This is not cold to me,' said Tvede (pronounced tuh-ville), playing in her first Futures Tour tournament after graduating from the University of Tulsa in May. 'It's quite nice to start out this way. It makes me feel good that I can compete on this level.'
 
Tvede, 24, won her first two tournaments as a professional in June at the Colorado Women's Open and the New Mexico Women's Open, but after missing the entry deadline for Futures Golf Tour events, she finally got into this week's tournament. It was just in time for the former Danish National Team member to heat up her game with six birdies, a single bogey and 26 putts in the second round to move within two shots of Chang, the frontrunner.
 
For most of today's second round, Chang and Michelle Simpson of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., were deadlocked in a tie at 6 under par on the rolling par-72, 6,212-yard course. Rookie Katie Connelly of Beloit, Wis., eagled the sixth hole to climb into the three-way tie. But Connelly bogeyed the next two holes and finished with a 2-under-par 70. Simpson lost ground on her last three holes with a bogey on No. 16 and a double bogey on the 18th -- the result of a 'duck snap-hook' left into the woods with the driver that resulted in a lost ball.
 
'All day, I was feeling really good,' said Simpson, who carded a second-round 70 today and stands at 4-under 140. 'I was trying to build my lead and I played well, but I basically had one poor swing today that cost me.'
 
Rookie Meaghan Francella of Port Chester, N.Y., carded a 69 today for her first bogey-free round in her second Futures Tour tournament to move into a share of third with Connelly at 140.
 
Simpson, rookie Sung Ah Yim of Seoul, Korea and tour veteran Michelle Murphy of Tacoma, Wash., who teaches just down the hill at Stratton Mountain Golf School, all are tied at 3-under 141.
 
This year's 54-hole, full-field 144-player tournament in Vermont marks the first year back in the Green Mountain State after a one-year hiatus. The Tour previously played a tournament in Killington, Vt., which ended in 2002. The LPGA Tour played the McCall's LPGA Classic here in Stratton Mountain from 1990-1995. Tournament record on the Stratton Mountain course is 13-under-par 275 for 72 holes and 12-under 204 for the 54-hole, rain-shortened tournament won by Dottie Pepper in 1995.
 
Pepper set a high benchmark for Futures Tour players to reach in this week's event, but it's not impossible -- especially not for those who get a hot round going in the cool mountain air of Vermont.
 
'I really want to win,' said Chang, still looking for her first Futures Tour title in her second full season. 'I shot my worst round [81] last week at the U.S. Women's Open and I shot my best round [67] yesterday. I'll just keep grinding.'
 
Seventy-four players made the 36-hole cut at 149 (+6).
 
Saturdays final round will begin at 8 a.m. from the first tee only, with the leaders going off at noon.
 
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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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    Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

    Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

    Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

    Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

    New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



    FALLING

    Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

    Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

    Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

    Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

    Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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    Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

    By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

    “I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

    Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

    “If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


    Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


    Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

    Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

    “He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

    As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

    "I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

    Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”