Cho Starts Strong in Indiana

By Futures Tour MediaMay 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourMERRILLVILE, Ind. -- Teenager Aram Cho is like any other 18-year-old who spends her free time playing video games, watching DVDs and listening to music. But like Kobe Bryant, her favorite NBA player, she knows when to turn on the scoring machine.
 
And thats what the native of Seoul, Korea, did in todays first round of the $70,000 New Innsbrook Country Club Futures Golf Classic. The shy, baby-faced teen ' called Pooh by friends ' opened with a 6-under-par 66 at Innsbrook Country Club to set the pace for the field on the 6,067-yard, par-72 course.
 
I didnt realize I was 5 under after nine holes, so maybe I was just kind of lucky, said Cho, with an interpreter.
 
Lucky? How about lethal on the courses par-5 holes? Cho birdied four of the six par-5s, posted a total of seven birdies and one three-putt bogey, and rattled in 29 putts to continue the no-fear style of play that gave her a second-place finish three weeks ago at the Tours last tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.
 
But Cho, currently ranked fifth on the season money list, will have some competitive company in Fridays second round. Allison Hanna of Portland, Ore., fired a 5-under 67 today in her first round as a professional on the Futures Golf Tour. Hanna finished 12th individually last week at the NCAA Womens Golf Championship, then the Ohio State University senior turned pro earlier this week. Her bogey-free round today included five birdies and 27 putts worth a bucket of confidence.
 
I came in here and didnt know how I was going to do, said Hanna, 22, who didnt get to play a practice round because she was competing in a U.S. Womens Open Qualifier in St. Louis earlier this week. This gives me a lot of confidence to know I can play out here.
 
Naree Song of Seoul, Korea, was the only other player in the 144-member field who scored in the 60s in todays first round. Song carded a 3-under-par 69 that included a 6-foot par-saving putt on the 18th green. She posted six birdies and three bogeys for the round, one week after playing in the LPGA Tours Sybase Classic in New York alongside her twin sister, Aree Song, a member of the LPGA.
 
Playing those LPGA events makes these tournaments feel a little easier, said Song, 18. But Ive let opportunities slide by out here. I think I just have to step up and do it.
 
Six players, including recent Duke University grad Virada Nirapathpongporn of Bangkok, Thailand, turned professional this week. The Duke star also was one of six players who finished at 2-under-par 70.
 
I know I shouldnt approach this any differently than the NCAAs, but theres something different about it, said Nirapathpongporn, who admitted to being nervous prior to todays opening round. I told myself to close my eyes and feel comfortable.
 
Twelve players also found their respective comfort zones, tying at 1-under-par 71. A total of 21 players posted sub-par opening rounds.
 
This weeks event, presented by Horseshoe Casino, will be contested over 54 holes, with the final round set for a Saturday finish. Fridays second round will begin at 8 a.m., off the first and 10th tees. The leaders will tee off at 2:09 p.m.
 
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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.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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.