Kim Wins Futures Q-School Lang Second

By Futures Tour MediaNovember 12, 2005, 5:00 pm
Futures TourLAKELAND, Fla. -- The FUTURES Golf Tour's Qualifying Tournament brings a new cast of young international talent to this Central Florida town each year and invariably, a fresh new face steps up and makes her initial mark in women's professional golf.
That was again the case when amateur Song-Hee Kim of Seoul, South Korea, fired her career-low round of 9-under-par 63 on the third day and stayed out of the field's reach down the stretch in today's final round. Kim, 17, carded a score of 2-under-par 70 today to complete the 72-hole event at 270 (-18) -- a tournament record since the FUTURES Golf Tour began holding a qualifying tournament in 1999. For the record, Kim's performance shattered last year's four-day qualifying total of 279, set by Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome.
'I couldn't catch her,' said runner-up Brittany Lang of McKinney, Texas, who carded rounds of 69-69-69-68 to finish alone in second place at 13-under-par 275. 'I had it to 5 under today, but she was really solid and she's really long. There are a lot of great young players right now, like Paula [Creamer] and Michelle [Wie], and she's in the next wave.'
Co-runner-up with top-ranked amateur Morgan Pressel this summer at the U.S. Women's Open Championship, Lang, 20, should know a thing or two about great young talent. Lang rolled in five birdies and recorded one bogey today as she tried to chase down the lanky Korean teenager. But Kim was unflappable and was one of five amateurs who finished in the tournament's top seven spots -- an unprecedented number of high-finishing ams.
Even after touring the front nine holes of Cleveland Heights Golf Course at even-par 36, the slender 5-foot-9 Korean teen remained patient and rolled in birdie putts from 15 feet on the 12th and from nine feet on the 14th hole in her bogey-free round. In spite of a disappointing day with her putter in which she used 32 putts, Kim managed to play under par and was largely uncatchable.
'I had good concentration this week and it feels good that I had nice scores,' said the shy teen through her translator, Sun Min Lim.
Kim admitted that she was still surprised by her third-round score of 63 and had trouble falling asleep later that night. She also admitted that she was 'a little nervous' beginning today's final round, but probably benefited from the fact that she didn't realize that Lang was the same player who finished second at this year's U.S. Women's Open.
'I didn't know it was her,' she said shyly. 'Maybe it is easier when I don't know about other players.'
Korean amateur Ha-Na Chae fired a final-round 68 and finished third at 10-under-par 278. Chae, 19, along with Kim and amateur Song Yi Choi, were three of the Korean National Team's six members in this week's FUTURES Tour Qualifying Tournament.
'It surprises me a little but Korea has a lot of good players,' said 2005 FUTURES Tour winner Jin Young Pak, 19, who visited Lakeland today to watch the tournament in the city where she won her first professional event back in March.
FUTURES Tour veteran Salimah Mussani of Burlington, Ontario finished solo fourth at eight-under-par 280, in spite of spending most of the night in a local hospital emergency room with severe stomach pains. Mussani went to a local hospital at 3:30 a.m., and then informed medical staff that she would have to postpone a suggested CAT scan for a suspicious appendix because she 'had a golf tournament to play.' Sleepless but determined -- and still in pain -- the former Stanford University player carded a two-under-par 70 to lend credence to the old 'beware of the ailing golfer' adage.
Rounding out the top seven was amateur Angela Park, 17, of Torrance, Calif., at 282 (-6), and amateur In-Bee Park, 17, of Las Vegas at 283 (-5).
'I think I played pretty decent golf, but I have to get better at playing strong at the end,' said former U.S. Girls' Junior Champion In-Bee Park, who shot a two-under-par 70 today with bogeys on her last two holes. 'This week was a really good experience with really great competition.'
It also was a week in which the amateurs certainly grabbed the attention of the professionals in the field. Australia's Nikki Garrett of New South Wales was still shaking her head at the performance of Kim, after having watched the tournament's winner fire a 66 during the second round and her record-setting 63 in the third.
'If I putted like her, maybe I'd be that good,' said Garrett, who was paired with Kim for the two rounds. 'She made it look so easy and it was good to watch.'
As for Kim, she seemed most animated when she spoke of flying home to Korea on Saturday. She admitted that she was homesick for her mom's cooking in spite of her father Chun Bae Kim's valiant efforts to prepare rice, soup and Korean barbecue for his daughter all week.
Kim plans to return to the United States in January to attend the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) in Hilton Head Island, S.C., where she hopes to improve her English. And she plans to play on the FUTURES Golf Tour in 2006 as an amateur.
She already has won as an amateur, but to all who were chasing Song-Hee Kim for 72 holes this week, she sure played like a pro.
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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “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.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”