Cho Wins on Futures Tour

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourSTRATTON MOUNTAIN, Vt. -- The ever-changing skies of Vermont were as unpredictable as Saturday's final-round leader board at the $70,000 Stratton Mountain Futures Classic. And the ebb and flow of leading scores kept the galleries guessing right down to the final eagle putt of teenager Aram Cho.
 
Cho, 18, started the day five shots behind leader Lisa Chang of Los Angeles, but the native of Seoul, Korea carded birdies on four of her first nine holes to take a one-shot lead, then added another birdie on the 11th hole for an outright, two-stroke edge at Stratton Mountain Country Club.
 
But how the day evolved gave Green Mountain golf lovers a flashback to yesteryear. When the Futures Tour first arrived in Vermont in 1996 to play at Green Mountain National, Smriti Mehra came to the 18th hole tied with native Vermonter Holly Reynolds. Mehra eagled the final hole and won by two shots.
 
Eight years later, a baby-faced rookie nicknamed 'Pooh' who had turned professional less than a year earlier, repeated the crescendo final act in the same state. After a bogey on the 16th and a final-round charge by Young Jo of Suwon, Korea and Lindsey Wright of Albury, Australia, Cho found herself in a three-way tie for the lead at 7 under par. Playing behind Wright and Jo, it was Cho's tournament to lose. But instead of sputtering on the 18th, the teen showed the mettle that had helped her win her first professional title four weeks ago in Decatur, Ill.
 
'I hit my 3-wood 220 yards to the 18th green and thought I hit it pretty close,' said Cho, through fellow player Sunny Oh, who helped interpret for the winner. 'But when I walked to the green, it was about 40 feet away from the hole. I knew I needed two putts to win, but I said to my dad [also her caddie], 'let's just make this one.''
 
And the teen slammed home the monster putt to dash the playoff hopes of Wright and Jo, who watched Cho's finish from the back of the clubhouse.
 
'It was so close,' said Jo, 20, who fired a final-round 67. 'I was right there. I'm playing solid and I know I can win soon, but I feel happy for Aram. We're good friends.'
 
Jo had a 40-foot eagle attempt of her own on the 18th green, but had to settle for a tap-in birdie and a share of second with Wright at 7-under 209. And although Wright didn't win, her final-round 64 was the story of the day on the rolling 6,212-yard, par-72 course.
 
The Aussie began Saturday's round at one-over par and blistered the course with eight birdies that put her on the scoreboard from out of nowhere. With a final-round scoring average of 69.375, Wright kept the groups behind her watching scoreboards and hoping the former Pepperdine University All-American would run out of holes before she went any lower. She did, indeed, birdie the last hole, hitting 16 greens and recording 27 putts for the round. And her season-low Futures Tour score of 64 was the consolation for runner-up status.
 
'I'm definitely not disappointed,' said Wright, 24, who retained her top ranking as the Tour's money leader. 'It was just magical today. I played like every hole was a birdie opportunity and I was really focused. My friends were laughing and calling me 'Last-Day Lindsey.''
 
Last-Day Lindsey nearly got the last laugh, but Cho played the no-fear style of golf that has moved her into the No. 2 spot on the Tour's money list and into the top position for the Tour's Rookie of the Year honors. For her win, the teen pocketed $9,800.
 
'I'm so happy about winning,' said Cho, who posted rounds of 71-71-65 for her 9-under-par performance of 207 in the 54-hole event. 'I feel like I'm flying. I didn't think about winning today because I was five strokes behind the leader, but after the birdie putt on No. 9, I knew I would take the lead.'
 
Danielle Downey of Spencerport, N.Y., who won in Lima, Ohio last month, fired a final-round, 4-under-par 68 to move into fourth place at 210. Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, also carded a 68, to tie for fifth at 212 with three others. And tour veteran Lori Atsedes of Ithaca, N.Y., moved into a four-way tie for ninth at 213 with her final-round 68.
 
But it was Cho's day. The teen can't explain her rapid success after only eight years of playing the game she learned from her father, Sung Ken Cho -- who caddies for the teen on tour.
 
'I'm surprised about the whole thing,' added Cho, whose final-round 65 was her career-low round. 'I think everybody worked hard today. This is the best I've ever played.'
 
How did the Tour's return to Vermont after a one-year hiatus register with typically stoic New Englanders? By the looks of fans who still fondly remember the McCall's LPGA Classic in Stratton Mountain from 1990-1995, it's safe to say Cho's grand finale on the 18th hole will go down as one of those memorable moments in Vermont golf.
 
How could it not? With Last-Day Lindsey, a baby-face future star named Pooh and a young player named Young Jo rising to the top of the 144-player field, they appear destined to meet again on the next level in the very near future. Today's final round in Stratton certainly was a preview of rounds to come.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Stratton Mountain Futures Classic
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    Veteran Golf Journalist Bradley S. Klein Joins Golf Channel Editorial Team

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 20, 2018, 4:15 pm

    Klein to Lend 30-Plus Years in Golf Architecture, History and Travel Journalism to Golf Advisor, Golf Channel’s Digital Travel and Lifestyle Brand

    Read Klein’s first column here

    Veteran golf travel, history and architecture journalist Bradley S. Klein has joined Golf Channel’s editorial team as senior writer for Golf Advisor, the company’s ever-expanding digital destination for the traveling golfer, featuring more than 700,000 reviews of nearly 15,000 golf courses in 80 countries worldwide. Klein’s first column appears today and provides eight simple tips for becoming a golf course architecture junkie – how architecture can be more relevant to everyday golfers and design aspects to observe that can make a round of golf a more fulfilling experience.

    With more than 40 years of varied experiences within the game of golf – a career that began as a caddie on the PGA Tour – Klein most recently served as the long-time architecture editor for Golfweek magazine and the founding editor of Superintendent News.

    "I've been in love with golf course design since I was 11 years old and have been lucky over the years to find a platform where I can share that fascination with fellow golfers,” Klein said. “It's an amazing opportunity now for me to bring that passion and commitment to Golf Channel and its travel and lifestyle brand, Golf Advisor."

    "We are extremely excited to have Brad join the Golf Advisor team. His unique contributions covering history and architecture will be an excellent complement to the travel content Matt Ginella brings to Golf Advisor and Golf Channel’s Morning Drive,” said Mike Lowe, vice president and general manager, Golf Advisor. “Brad’s reputation and experience in the industry make him a wonderful addition to our expanding golf travel and course design editorial team.”

    Other members of Golf Advisor’s editorial team include: Brandon Tucker, Mike Bailey, Jason Deegan, Bill Irwin and Tim Gavrich.

    Including assignments for Golfweek, Klein has written more than 1,500 feature articles on course architecture, resort travel, golf course development, golf history and the media for such other publications as Golf Digest, Financial Times, New York Times and Sports Illustrated. He has published seven books on golf architecture and history, including Discovering Donald Ross, winner of the USGA 2001 International Book Award. In 2015, Klein won the Donald Ross Award for lifetime achievement from the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He is well known within the golf industry and has served as a consultant on numerous golf course development and restoration projects, most recently the Old Macdonald course at acclaimed Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.

    Golf Advisor now includes the integration of Golf Vacation Insider and Golf Odyssey, two leading travel newsletters with a combined reach of more than a half million subscribers. Both newsletters joined Golf Channel’s portfolio of businesses in 2017 as part of the acquisition of Revolution Golf, golf’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform offering video-based instruction and integrated e-commerce.

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    Stock Watch: Fans getting louder, rowdier

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2018, 3:01 pm

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

    RISING

    Bubba (+9%): Half of his 10 Tour titles have come at Augusta National and Riviera – that’s pretty stout. Though he can be maddening to cover because of his personality quirks, an in-form Watson is a must-watch.

    Phil (+5%): For the first time in 11 years, Mickelson put together three consecutive top-6 finishes on Tour. Suddenly, another green jacket or that elusive U.S. Open title doesn’t seem so far away.

    Kevin Na (+3%): How much fun would this guy be on a Ryder Cup team? He hits it dead straight – which will be important at Le Golf National, where the home team will narrow the fairways – and would drive the Europeans absolutely bonkers.

    West Coast swing (+2%): From Jason Day to Gary Woodland to Ted Potter to Watson, the best coast produced a series of memorable comeback stories. And that’s always good news for those of us who get paid to write about the game.

    South Korean talent (+1%): They already represent nine of the top 16 players in the world, and that doesn’t even include Jin Young Ko, who just won in her first start as an LPGA member.



    FALLING

    Steve Stricker Domination (-1%): Those predicting that he would come out and mop up on the PGA Tour Champions – hi there! – will be surprised to learn that he’s now 0-for-7 on the senior circuit (with five top-3s), after Joe Durant sped past him on the final day in Naples. The quality of golf out there is strong.

    Patrick Cantlay’s routine (-2%): Never really noticed it before, but Cantlay ground to a halt during the final round, often looking at the cup six or seven times before finally stroking his putt. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that his final-round scoring average is nearly four strokes higher than his openers.

    Lydia Ko (-3%): Another wholesale change? Whatever is going on here – and it reeks of too much parental involvement – it’s not good for her short- or long-term future.

    Tiger (-4%): It’s early, and he’s obviously savvy enough to figure it out, but nothing else in this comeback will matter if Woods can’t start driving it on the planet.

    Fan behavior (-8%): Kudos to Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas for taking the Riviera spectators to task for their tiresome (and increasingly aggressive) calls after a player hits a shot. The only problem? PGA National’s par-3 17th could be even worse – the drunk fans are closer to the action, and the hole is infinitely more difficult than TPC Scottsdale’s 16th. Buckle up.

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    USGA, R&A detail World Handicap System

    By Randall MellFebruary 20, 2018, 2:00 pm

    The USGA and the R&A released details Tuesday of a proposed new World Handicap System.

    The WHS takes the six handicapping systems that exist worldwide and aligns them under a new single system.

    The USGA and the R&A will govern the WHS with the six existing handicap authorities administering them locally. A two-year transition will begin to fully implement the new system in 2020.

    The unified alignment is designed to make it easier to obtain and maintain a handicap and to make the handicap more equitable among golfers of differing abilities and genders around the world.

    “For some time, we’ve heard golfers say, ‘I’m not good enough to have a handicap,’ or ‘I don’t play enough to have a handicap,’” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “We want to make the right decisions now to encourage a more welcoming and social game.”

    Davis said the effort is designed to both simplify and unify the handicap system.

    “We’re excited to be taking another important step – along with modernizing golf’s rules – to provide a pathway into the sport, making golf easier to understand and more approachable and enjoyable for everyone to play,” he said.

    R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said the new handicap system should make the game more inviting.

    “We want to make it more attractive to golfers to obtain a handicap and strip away some of the complexity and variation which can be off-putting for newcomers,” Slumbers said. “Having a handicap, which is easier to understand and is truly portable around the world, can make golf much more enjoyable and is one of the unique selling points of our sport.”

    The new WHS system aims to more accurately gauge the score a golfer is “reasonably capable of achieving” on any course around the world under normal conditions.

    Key features of the WHS include:

    *Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability.

    *A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, but with “some discretion available for handicapping authorities or national associations to set a different minimum within their own jurisdiction.”

    *A consistent handicap that “is portable” from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA course and slope rating system, already used in more than 80 countries.

    *An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and “factoring in memory of previous demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control.”

    *A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.  

    *Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation.

    *A limit of net double bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only). 

    *A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.

    The USGA and the R&A devised the WHS after a review of the handicap systems currently administered by six authorities around the world: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA. Those authorities, plus the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada, collaborated in helping develop the new system.

    The six handicapping authorities represent approximately 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a golf handicap.  

    “While the six existing handicap systems have generally worked very well locally, on a global basis, their different characteristics have sometimes resulted in inconsistency, with players of the same ability ending up with slightly different handicaps,” the USGA and the R&A stated in a joint release. “This has sometimes resulted in unnecessary difficulties and challenges for golfers competing in handicap events or for tournament administrators. A single WHS will pave the way to consistency and portability.”

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    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2018, 11:44 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13).