Hull Takes Command in Ohio

By Futures Tour MediaJune 8, 2003, 4:00 pm
Futures TourLIMA, Ohio -- She may be the new kid on the block, but second-week professional Katherine Hull is acting like an old pro at the Lima Memorial Hospital Futures Classic.
 
And the native of Queensland, Australia is acting right at home in Ohio, just as she did when she won her professional debut last week in Wisconsin. Hull fired a 6-under 66 in the second round to take a three-shot going into Sundays final round at the 6,007-yard Lost Creek Country Club. She also posted a 66 in Fridays first round for a share of the lead.
 
'Im ecstatic where I am right now,' said Hull, 21, who played her last college tournament for Pepperdine University three weeks ago at the NCAA Womens Division I Championship. 'My confidence is really high.'
 
Hulls 12-under-par, 36-hole total of 132 crashed last years two-round record of 9-under 135. The 54-hole total of 12-under-par 204, set by 2002 champion Soo Young Kim, is certain to be erased in Sundays final round.
 
'Shes tough and she stays patient,' said Erika Wicoff, who bogeyed the 18th hole and slid to third place at 136 with a second-round 70. 'When she made bogey today and got ticked at herself, she went on a birdie barrage with four straight birdies. Id just like to give her a run for her money tomorrow.'
 
Wicoff, a non-exempt player on the LPGA Tour from Hartford City, Ind., actually held the lead briefly when she birdied No. 11 and Hull took bogey on the same hole. The sixth-year LPGA pro also birdied the 12th, but Hull, miffed at her missed par save, ran off birdies on holes 12, 13, 14 and 15 to cruise to the 18th all alone at the top. Wicoff pushed her drive on the 18th tee and didnt get up and down for par on the last hole, taking bogey to give fellow non-exempt LPGA player Luciana Bemvenuti of Port Alegre, Brazil sole possession of second place at 135 with her second-round 67.
 
'Not bad for an old lady,' said Bemvenuti, a 10-year member of the LPGA Tour, who finished fourth at the Lima Memorial Hospital tournament in 1995. 'I had 25 putts today and a few more than that on Friday, so that is the big difference in how Im playing.'
 
The Brazilian began using an overlength putter in February after struggling with the yips for two years on tour. She took five months off from golf, became certified to work as a tax associate at H&R Block and spent her off-season processing 227 tax returns. The real return on her investment was gaining confidence with the long putter, removing the pressure she felt in her game and trying to make her opportunities count when she had them.
 
'This is not a long course and if you can hit the greens, youll always have a birdie chance,' said Bemvenuti, whose career-best finish has been tie for fourth on the LPGA Tour and second on the Futures Tour. 'You can really go low out here.'
 
And thats exactly what Hull is counting on for Sundays final round. The Australian learned how to start out quickly when she moved to three under after two holes in the second round with a birdie from 18 feet and an eagle putt from 40 feet. She finished the day with five more birdies, two bogeys, 14 greens in regulation and 27 putts. She made it look effortless.
 
But most of all, Hull showed she has her eye on the future. Now, shell just have to hold off a couple of seasoned LPGA pros on Sunday.
 
Seventy-four players made the 36-hole tournament cut at 147 (+3). It was the lowest Futures Tour cut this year by two strokes. Last years cut at this event was 145 (+1).
 
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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.