Cho Leads Futures Tour

By Futures Tour MediaMay 8, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Shes 19-years-old and blushes like a schoolgirl. Aram Cho is so young as a professional that her Futures Tour profile can only boast her lowest competitive pro round of 67.
 
Make that was 67.
 
The rookie from Seoul, Korea fired a 6-under-par 66 today to take the lead of the $75,000 Isleta Casino & Resort Gold Classic. Charging her way to 8-under-par 135, the shy and blushing teen heads into Sundays final round with a two-shot lead over Lindsey Wright. Wright, a native of Albury, Australia, fired a 3-under-par round today of 69 to move into second place at 137 (-6) after 36 holes at Isleta Eagle Golf Course.
 
Wright won once on the Futures Tour in 2003, following her spring graduation from Pepperdine University. In college, she was a four-time NCAA All-American and individual runner-up at the 2002 NCAA Womens Golf Championship. A non-exempt LPGA Tour member, Wrights pedigree is widely known and respected.
 
Chos young professional career, on the other hand, is still gaining momentum and statistical milestones. She admits to her own surprise at her current tournament position. But other Futures Tour players arent shocked at all by the teens performance.
 
She hits her irons so well and is a really good putter, said Futures Tour player Erin Kerr of Phoenix, who has played several rounds with Cho this season. Plus, Aram never makes mistakes.
 
Shes very solid from tee to green, said Futures player Stephanie Bell of Rochester, N.Y. Shes a very mature player to be 19 years old.
 
With the help of fellow Korean player Jimin Kang, who doubled as a translator when the teen asked for help, Cho said her ball striking was very consistent today. Each of her six birdies ranged in distance between three and nine feet.
 
I hit them close and was making them, she said through Kang. That gave me confidence.
 
Cho started her second round at 3 under par and charged into the lead with five consecutive birdies on holes 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Her approach on the par-4 16th hole hit the flagstick and landed within 5 feet, which she knocked in for her final birdie in a bogey-free round.
 
Playing in the same group, Wright got a close-up view of Chos hot round.
 
When she strung together those five straight birdies, I was like Whoah! said Wright, who carded four birdies, all from 15 feet. I wasnt really thinking of chasing her. She just didnt miss at all.
 
First-round leader Kylie Pratt of Mackay, Australia, struggled all day on the greens, recording 35 putts for her effort on the par-72, 6,621-yard course. Pratt posted a 3-over-par, second-round score of 75 that included one bogey, two double bogeys and two birdies. She tumbled into a tie for 19th at 2-under 142.
 
But while Pratt was sliding, Futures Tour rookie Naree Song of Seoul, Korea, was surging, using the Saturday Moving Day as the perfect time to post a season-low score of 65. Song shot a 5-under 31 on the front nine on the strength of three birdies and an eagle-3 on the par-5 eighth hole. She added a 2-under-par performance of 34 on the back to move into third place alone at 138. Song hit 17 greens to record her first round this season under 70.
 
My goal was to shoot a number that would put me into contention on Sunday, said Song, who turned 18 on May 1st. The key for me today was patience. Sometimes when the putts dont drop, I lose confidence early.
 
Tied for fourth at 139 (-5) are Mee Na Lee of Seoul, Korea and Yvonne Cox of Charleston, W.Va.
 
Related Links:
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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.