Its Crunch Time at Season-Ending Futures Tour Event

By Futures Tour MediaSeptember 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
Duramed Futures TourThis is the week where hard work turns into big dreams for five players. The top five players on the duramed FUTURES Tour's Money List following completion of the season-ending ILOVENY Championship this week, will earn fully exempt 2007 LPGA Tour status.
The next 10 players, who don't already have non-exempt LPGA Tour status, will move into the LPGA's Final Qualifying tournament in December, skipping the first stage of LPGA Sectional Qualifying.
Currently, five non-exempt LPGA Tour members are ranked from No. 6 to No. 15, which means they will be skipped if they remain in those positions, allowing the next available non-LPGA players to advance to LPGA Q-School Finals.(LPGA non-exempt members automatically return to the final qualifying event.)
How do those players in the top seven positions feel about their status this week?
'I'm in a position I've never been in before and I'm learning how to deal with the pressure,' said Allison Fouch of Grand Rapids, Mich., currently ranked seventh. 'This week will be a pretty big week for all of us.'
'You can get wrapped up in the emotions and the hype, but if you do that, you forget what the competition is about,' added sixth-ranked Ashley Prange of Noblesville, Ind. 'I'm not playing these girls. I'm playing the golf course.'
Prange dropped into the No. 6 position after the recent Gettysburg Championship (Pa.) and was replaced by rookie Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., whose fourth-place finish allowed her to jump from No. 8 to No. 5 at a critical time.
'I told myself not to look too far ahead,' said Park, 18. 'I've learned a lot about what kind of player I am and I'm glad there is such a thing as the Duramed FUTURES Tour.'
The money race among players ranked No. 4 through No. 7 is particularly tight. A total of $5,219 separates No. 4 Kristy McPherson of Conway, S.C., and Park. A sum of $103 stands between fifth-ranked Park and No. 6 Prange. And a mere $223 separates Prange and No. 7 Fouch.
'We're all very, very aware of where we are and how we stand, but we still have to go out there and play our own games,' said Prange. 'Whatever happens in the end, happens in the end.'
'We're all out there playing for the same thing -- for those five cards and those next 10 spots,' said fourth-ranked McPherson. 'Song-Hee [Kim], Charlotte [Mayorkas] and In-Bee [Park] have made some extra room for themselves in the number one through three positions. For No. 4 and No. 5, it's going to take some good golf to hang on to the top five.'
But regardless of Sunday's outcome, Prange calls the season and the Duramed FUTURES Tour a vital 'stepping stone you have to take to get to the LPGA.'
'We're all going to get there with full status, whether it's this week or in a few months at LPGA Q-School,' said Fouch, a non-exempt LPGA Tour member. 'Look at our numbers. We fit into the LPGA's top 50 right now.'

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”